The US News and World Report Diet Ratings: And Why You Should Ignore Them

US News and World Report just published its annual rankings of popular diets.

There is a huge problem with these rankings, and anyone who has a GPS will understand why immediately.

What has a GPS got to do with diet rankings?

Simple. See, a GPS is a dumb, inanimate bunch of electric circuits and it’s only as good as the information you program into it. If you tell the GPS where you want to go, it can do an excellent job of getting you there. What it can’t tell you is whether going there is a good idea in the first place.

The US News and World Report rankings are like a GPS that’s been programmed with the wrong destination. The goal of diets, according to their criteria, is to have low calories, low fat, plenty of carbs, and not much saturated fat or cholesterol. Then, like the GPS, they plug each diet into those criteria and determine which diet is “best”. If it meets those criteria—as well as a few other boilerplate notions like being “balanced”—it will get high marks.

The US News and World Report diet rankings are useless because the criteria they use to evaluate diets are hopelessly, painfully out of date.

The report doesn’t consider GMO, because they “believe” there’s absolutely no difference between GMO food and non-GMO. They don’t consider potentially inflammatory ingredients like gluten. They certainly don’t look at whether food is organic or not, nor do they seem to care about the ridiculous number of chemicals and processing agents found in the frozen food programs of top-ranking diets like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

The ratings downgrade the Atkins Diet “health” score because—you guessed it—the diet’s higher in saturated fat and lower in carbohydrates. Those two facts—which I consider positives— get low marks on the US News and World Report rating system. Atkins low ranking for “health” says more about the rating system than it does about the diet.

In short, the diet ratings are silly. They tell us nothing we didn’t know before, which is that the dietary establishment continues to push foods that make us sick, fat, tired and depressed, and when a diet doesn’t embrace that philosophy, it doesn’t get high rankings in surveys like this.

I strongly suggest you ignore the ratings of diets from magazines like US News and World Report or Consumer Reports, and continue to get your information on these diets from experts you respect.

At least get your info from people who aren’t judging diets by outdated metrics.



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