In a list of 35 popular diets for a study carried out by US News and World Report magazine the expert opinion of assembled experts gave us the verdict of The Biggest Loser diet and the DASH diet as being the best diet for diabetics, in both helping individuals to prevent the disease or for those who already have it, reversing it. But is there really a best of the best? Amongst these two champions, is there yet a champion still? I decided to do a step by step comparison in order to find out.
I compared two sample menus used by the panel assembled by and used by the US News experts. Whereas the Biggest Loser diet provided for Breakfast, snack, Lunch, Snack and dinner, the DASH diet only provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A comparison of their nutritional values shows that while the Biggest Loser diet provides 1,489 calories as against the recommended daily intake of between 1600 and 2000 (depending on age) for women and between 2000 to 2400 calories (also depending on age), the DASH diet provides on its 1500 calories and 2300 calories diet 2037 and 2062 mg respectively.
An assessment of which diets calorie provision places it closest to the recommended benchmark allotted to each age grade puts the DASH diet clearly ahead of the Biggest Loser diet. As such, the first point goes to the DASH diet. For the Biggest Loser diet whilst it provides about 25 percent of your days calories, the DASH diets 26 and 27 percent respectively for its 1500 mg and 2300 mg versions. This is against the recommended daily amount of between 20 to 35 percent on these scores.
Saturated fat, both diets have down to about 5 percent, although the DASH diets 2300 mg edges further with an additional percentage (at 6 percent). These both fall within the borders of the below 10 percent recommendation. On fats therefore, I score them evenly.
Both satisfy the requirement for total carbohydrates to make up between 45 to 65 percent of daily recommended caloric intake. The Biggest Loser diet at 50 percent whilst the DASH diet at 56 and 55 percent respectively. On that note I score these diets evenly also. Both in most part equally meet the standard for fiber, although the Biggest Losers 31g falls short of the 34g recommendation for men ages 19 to 30 years old.
Further since, a fiber rich diet has been noted as a key factor in the prevention and reversal and management of diabetes, the DASH diets higher figures-36 and 37 g to the biggest Loser 31 g in my opinion places the DASH diet on this score, ahead of the Biggest Loser diet.
For protein the recommended benchmark is between 10 to 35 percent of daily caloric intake. Both diets make the grade. The Biggest Loser diet at 30 percent whereas the DASH diet at the lower end of the mark at 18 percent. The reason for this latter figure pertaining to the DASH diet may be because of the avowed design of the diet to stop hypertension and thus the reduction of red meat. Nevertheless, one should note that red meat is not the only source of protein. There is white meat and protein rich legumes like beans. In addition, since a diabetic no matter which of the diet s/he is on, to make it effective, will need to complement that diet with exercise, a diet that assisting strength training through muscle health would be more advantageous. In this regard, point… goes to the Biggest Loser diet.
On Sodium or salt, the recommendation is under 2300mg and under 1500 mg for persons older than 51 years. Unfortunately, the Biggest Loser diet falls far short of this mark by being at 2904 mg clearly exceeding the limit. The DASH diet however meets it quite well at 1507 mg for its 1500mg menu and 2101 mg for its 2300 mg menu. On that score, the point in this category is awarded it.
Next considering Potassium. The Biggest Loser diet fails to meet the recommended daily amount of at least 4700 mg. It stands at 3460 mg as against the DASH diets 4855 mg (1500 mg diet) and 4909mg (2300mg diet). Once again, the DASH diet wins the category.
With regards to Calcium intake the Biggest Loser diet performs better. Slightly edging out the DASH diets performance of 1218 mg and 120 mg for its 1500mg and 2300 mg diet versions respectively, with its own of 1128 mg. However since they both make the grade and the Biggest Losers figure is only slightly better than that for the DASH diet, they shall be awarded even scores for this category.
For vitamin B-12 too, both diets meet the mark. The Biggest Loser diet with 6.3 mg to the recommended daily amount of 2.4 mg whereas the DASH diet 4.4 mg and 6.7 mg respectively as it pertains to that diets 1500 mcg and 2300 mcg diet.
With regards to Vitamin D however, both diets apparently fail to satisfy the daily recommended amount of 15 mcg. Thus whilst the DASH diet comes in at 11 mcg, the Biggest Loser diet edges it ever so slightly at 11.4mcg. However this is not enough for us to award the Biggest Loser diet a win for this category, especially since it did not meet the recommended daily amount.
As concerns recommended daily amounts, it should be noted that this appellation applies to adults 19 years and over and that it assumes them a sedentary lifestyle.
Nevertheless, the results are now all in. Having it that the DASH diet bests the Biggest Loser diet in the categories recommended daily caloric intake, provisions for fiber, sodium and potassium and the BIGGEST Loser diet only winning in the protein category and both being awarded even scores in the rest, it can clearly be seen that the DASH diet has carried the day. Furthermore, it can honestly be said to be not only the best diabetes diet but all things considered, premised on studies made and the fact that it was actually designed to help stop hypertension, it may just be for now, the best general purpose diet out there.
However having said this, it cannot be over-emphasized that diabetics and others should take care to consult their doctors first before embarking on any diet regimen or exercise.
On a final note, for Type 2 diabetics, since being overweight is a risk factor for developing diabetes and the BIGGEST Loser diet has an excellent track record for assisting people to lose weight it is my recommendation here that dietary standards of the DASH diet be coupled with the exercise regimen of the Biggest loser diet. As such the best aspects of these best popular diet programs can be synthesized into a program excellently suited for Type 2 diabetics and people in general.