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National Center for Health Statistics



Study Reviews Heart Health of Diet Plans

According to the National Center For Health Statistics, Heart Disease was the leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2004. If you want to avoid being a statistic, it’s time to think about a heart healthy diet.

A study run by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School ranked daily meal plans and food recommendations of eight popular weight-loss programs. With 70 as a perfect score, here’s how they ranked:

  • Ornish, 64.6.
  • Weight Watchers high-carbohydrate, 57.4.
  • New Glucose Revolution, 57.2.
  • South Beach Phase 2, 50.7.
  • Zone, 49.8.
  • MyPyramid, 48.7.
  • Weight Watchers high protein, 47.3.
  • Atkins 100-g carbohydrate, 46.
  • South Beach Phase 3, 45.6.
  • Atkins 45-g carbohydrate, 42.3.

“We were most surprised by the fact that the MyPyramid wasn’t even in the top three. We figured that this would be a model diet because it is based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary recommendations,” said the study’s author clinical psychologist Sherry Pagoto.She went on to assure the public that these rankings aren’t an indication of the general healthfulness of any particular diet. All of the diets are potentially healthy and have been shown in a variety of studies to result in weight loss, which is important to improving heart health.

One important thing to consider is your personal food preference. Because no matter how healthy a diet is, if you aren’t going to stick to it, what good is it to you in the long run? For example, if you really like carbohydrates, you’re better off with Weight Watchers than Atkins. But, people with a family history of heart disease should consider using this study as a guide when choosing a diet plan, Pagoto said.