America's Top 10 Healthiest Diets

An estimated 80 million Americans go on diets every year, spending more than $30 billion annually on programs and products. That’s a lot of money, a lot of advice, and a lot of emotional investment.


From Health magazine

If losing weight is at the top of your list, youre not alone: An estimated 80 million Americans go on diets every year, spending more than $30 billion annually on programs and products. Thats a lot of money, a lot of advice, and a lot of emotional investment.

So, which diets really work—and work safely? To find the weight-loss programs with that golden balance of nutrition, calorie control, motivation, and activity, Health harnessed a panel of experts to put more than 60 well-known diets to the test and narrow them down to the top 10. (Compare the pros and cons of more than 40 popular diets here!)


Here's our list of winners:

The Structure House Weight Loss Plan
Publisher: Fireside

Dont recognize this plan? Thats because for more than 30 years its author, Gerard J. Musante, PhD, has been working quietly and very successfully running the actual Structure House, a Durham, N.C.–based residential treatment center for obese adults. Thats a lot of time spent with patients and a lot of attention paid to the broad factors that affect weight loss—particularly the relationship people have with food.

But can an excellent residential program transfer to an effective at-home plan? The answer, according to our experts, is a resounding “yes,” which is how this below-the-radar plan grabbed highest honors from its better-known rivals.

With top-shelf scores on every aspect of healthy weight-loss, Structure House won an “outstanding!” from obesity expert Tim Church, MD, on its exercise component (often a weak spot in diet programs). And several panelists raved about the plans motivational components. “It focuses on the ‘why behind overeating,” says registered dietitian Maureen Callahan, “and helps dieters learn to put their lives in balance.” Healths senior food and nutrition editor, Frances Largeman-Roth, agrees: “This book takes a holistic approach to weight loss, asking you to fill your life with things other than food—outdoor activities and time with friends and family, for instance. Plus, the recipes, such as Balsamic Dijon Chicken and Classic Pesto, won high marks for tastiness, another factor in long-term weight-loss success.


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Last Updated: December 16, 2008

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