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Emory cardiologist helps rank nation's top diets

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Jennifer Johnson McEwen
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It's a new year and losing weight is at the top of the resolution list for many Americans. To help dieters shed pounds and jump start healthier lifestyles, Emory Heart & Vascular Center cardiologist Laurence Sperling, MD, served on a U.S. News & World Report panel appraising some of the country's most popular diets. 

Sperling, an annual panelist since the rankings began in 2011, worked with a group of top U.S. physicians, nutritionists, dietary consultants and other experts to assess and rank 38 diets. A full list can be found here.

"The top ranking diets are considered easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss and preventing diabetes," says Sperling, the founder and director of the Emory Heart Disease Prevention Center. "The list is a good resource to help guide the process of finding a diet that you can practice and, more importantly, maintain over time as part of a larger, healthier lifestyle."

Sperling says healthy, well-proportioned eating, walking or physical activity on most days of the week and keeping an ideal body weight are all integral components of a healthy lifestyle.

For the seventh year in a row, the DASH diet has been rated Best Diet Overall, followed by the Mediterranean diet, up from fourth place last year. The MIND diet, second last year, comes in third, and is followed by a four-way tie for fourth place: the Flexitarian diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, the TLC diet and Weight Watchers.

In addition to the Best Diets Overall, this year's list includes the Best Weight-Loss Diets, Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets, Easiest Diets to Follow, Best Commercial Diets, Best Diets for Healthy Eating, Best Plant-Based Diets and best diets for conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Alongside the rankings, the full report offers editorial content about dieting in general, plus expert analysis and a detailed profile of each diet, along with sample food diaries and recipes.

Sperling is the immediate past president of the American Society for Preventive Cardiology. He is professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and professor of global health at Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He serves as medical director for a number of unique programs at Emory. He founded (in 2004) and directs the first and only LDL apheresis program in the state of Georgia.

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