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The 10 Best Diet Programs

From celebrity-endorsed to science-backed, finding the right diet for your body and lifestyle can be an exercise in frustration—definitely not the kind of exercise you need right now! To make your search easier, we've pulled together the 10 most popular diets from Find the Best, a comparison tool that gives each program a Smart Rating based on expert reviews from US News, WebMD, and Health magazine.

Best Diet Overall

The winner: Weight Watchers

Thanks to its flexibility, group support, and general popularity Weight Watchers came out way (weigh?) ahead of all other diet plans with a Smart Rating of 98/100. You're probably familiar with its celeb endorsements—Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Hudson, and Jenny McCarthy are fans—and all the branded frozen foods at your local grocery store, but you'll love their new online platform that makes tracking your "points" easier than ever.

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Best Low-Calorie Diet

The winner: The Volumetrics Diet

Salad bar lovers rejoice! With its emphasis on broth-based soups, large salads, and other "high-volume, low-calorie" foods, the Volumetrics Diet promises you'll lose weight without starving. A Smart Rating of 96 means experts love it for its emphasis on whole foods and veggies and dieters love it for the wide range of fiber-packed recipes that keep you full for hours.

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Best Low-Carb Diet

The winner: South Beach Diet

The South Beach Diet (Smart Rating 83) will have you slipping into your skinny jeans in no time, thanks to a high-protein, low-carb meal plan that is both "approved and highly regarded by experts," according to WebMD. It's well-loved by non-nutritionists too: Former U.S. president Bill Clinton famously used it to drop harmful belly fat and cure him of his fast food addiction after poor health required open heart surgery.

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Best Government-Approved Diet

The winner: The DASH Diet

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has been giving Americans diet advice for decades (remember learning the Four Food Groups in elementary school? That was all NIH.), but when they released the DASH Diet, combining years of conventional weight-loss tips and research, experts were happy to note they'd added exercise and more sensible food options. With a Smart Rating of 97, doctors particularly recommend it for people looking to lower high blood pressure and reverse heart disease.

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Best Diet for Overall Health

The winner: The Mediterranean Diet

If you can't afford a cruise to the Mediterranean (yet!), at least you can eat like the famously beautiful and healthy people from the region. The Mediterranean Diet, Smart Rating 94, teaches you to eat like a Sicilian by incorporating more fish, olive oil, and veggies into your diet in order to maintain life-long health—whether you're trying to lose weight or not.

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Best Diet Based on History

The winner: The Paleolithic Diet

Even though living like our distant ancestors doesn't sound like much fun (caves, stick toothbrushes, and pumas that aren't cute shoes? No thank you!), eating like them can be beneficial for both your health and waistline. The Paleolithic Diet, Smart Rating 62, offers to teach you how to eat "how you were designed to eat" by focusing on whole foods, fats, and no grains. The research on this (ironically) new diet is promising but still emerging. In the meantime, experts are happy that the diet focuses on natural foods, fitness, and sensible lifestyle changes.


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Best Vegetarian Diet

The winner: The Ornish Diet

Popularized by the recent documentary Forks Over Knives, the Ornish Diet, Smart Rating 90, focuses on whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes to provide a low-fat, vitamin-packed way of eating. Best known for its charismatic and vocal founder, Dr. Dean Ornish, many followers have shared success stories about losing weight and improving overall health.

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Best Vegan Diet

The winner: The Kind Diet


Looks like Alicia Silverstone isn't so clueless after all! With a Smart Rating of 80, her book The Kind Diet encourages a way of eating that's both gentle on your body and the environment. The diet focuses on eating a wide range of whole foods without using any animal products, but the real selling point may be that Alicia credits it for her luscious hair, glowing skin, and mellow attitude.

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Best Diet for Building Lean Muscle

The winner: Body for Life

Building muscle may not be the most common motive for dieting, but research shows that lifting weights while dieting can help preserve lean muscle mass while losing fat, a combo that will keep your metabolism stoked so that you're less likely to regain the weight later on. Body for Life combines the best of both worlds by including a sensible, simple diet focused on higher protein (to support muscle) and a detailed weight lifting program. It gets a Smart Rating of 62 for its emphasis on healthful foods and intense exercise.

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Best High-Protein Diet

The winner: The Eco Atkins Diet

The Atkins Diet has been around for decades, known as much for the controversy surrounding it as for its emphasis on high-protein, low-carb meals and snacks. But the new Eco Atkins Diet, with a Smart Rating of 68, aims to keep the nutritional goals the same while moving away from the all-meat-all-the-time mentality that made the original plan famous. Proponents love that with unlimited protein and fats, you rarely feel hungry. Plus, the Eco version includes vegetarian and vegan options so you don't have to sacrifice your principles for your waistline.

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