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Nutrition Professor Teresa Fung of Simmons College Played Key Role in New "Best Diets" Rankings By U.S. News

20 popular diets ranked in 5 major categories

BOSTON (June 7, 2011) — Working with U.S. News Media Group, publisher of usnews.com and an array of U.S.News & World Report-branded products, Simmons College Nutrition Professor Teresa Fung Sc. D., played a crucial role in the development of the Best Diets rankings, which U.S. News released today.

Fung was a member of an invited panel of 22 health experts, each carefully selected and relied on by U.S. News to develop its rankings. The experts reviewed information on 20 well-known diets, from Atkins to Zone, and rated each diet on specific measures such as heart health and nutritional completeness.

Using the experts' ratings, U.S. News developed five diet rankings to address a broad range of consumers' dieting goals and needs. "This new U.S. News rankings project would not have been possible without the deep knowledge and hard work of our panel of experts," said Avery Comarow, U.S. News Health Rankings editor.

The brand-new rankings, and the top diets in each, are:

Best Weight-Loss Diets
Weight Watchers ranked #1 in weight loss. Tied at #2 were Jenny Craig and the Raw Food Diet, an approach that challenges dieters to avoid foods that have been cooked.

Best Heart-Healthy Diets
The Ornish Diet ranked #1 for heart health. The TLC Diet, a government-designed eating plan that stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, ranked #2. Another government-developed diet, DASH (for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), ranked #3.

Best Diabetes Diets
The DASH Diet ranked #1 for preventing or managing diabetes. Close behind it, in a three-way tie at #2, were the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Ornish Diet, and the Vegan Diet.

Best Diets Overall
The DASH Diet ranked #1 overall. Three diets tied at #2, excelling in all measures U.S News considered: the Mediterranean Diet, the TLC Diet, and Weight Watchers.

Best Commercial Diet Plans
Some dieters may seek the structure and social support provided by many brand-name programs, so U.S. News also examined how eight prominent diets stacked up. Weight Watchers ranked #1, Jenny Craig ranked #2, and Slim-Fast ranked #3.

Why rank diets? The obesity epidemic is unyielding — two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese and one in 12 Americans has diabetes, which is linked to excess weight and contributes to heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Given how hard it is for many Americans to maintain a healthy weight, U.S. News undertook Best Diets to go well beyond the too-common focus on short-term weight loss and appearance.

"The goal of the Best Diets rankings is to help consumers find authoritative guidance on healthful diets that will work for them over the long haul," said Lindsay Lyon, U.S. News health news editor, who directed the project.

To create the rankings, U.S. News developed profiles of the 20 diets that explain how each one works, the evidence that backs up (or doesn't) the claims made for it, how it breaks down nutritionally, and much more. The panel, including nutritionists, dietitians, cardiologists, and diabetologists, reviewed the diet profiles and rated the diets.

If you have questions, please contact Simmons Public Relations Manger C. Kalimah Knight at 617-521-2369 or kalimah.knight@simmons.edu.

Fung led a recent study, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which found that those who adhered to a diet low in carbohydrates but rich in animal-based fats and proteins increased their risk of death — especially from cancer.

This study was the first of its kind to demonstrate the link between different types of low carbohydrate diets and mortality. Conversely, the study found that a diet low in carbohydrates but rich in plant-based fats and proteins was associated with a lower risk of mortality.

Simmons College is a nationally recognized private university located in the heart of Boston. It offers an undergraduate education for women, and renowned coeducational graduate programs in health sciences, education, liberal arts, social work, library and information science, and communications management, as well as the nation's first MBA program designed specifically for women. Follow Simmons on Twitter @SimmonsCollege and @SimmonsNews.

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