U.S. News Names Pennington Biomedical and Partners’ DASH Diet the Best Diet for Healthy Eating, Heart Health in 2021

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DASH Diet Ranks Top 5 in Multiple Categories, including Best Overall, Easiest to Follow
Released: Monday, January 04, 2021

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA – As millions of Americans strive to make the New Year healthier, U.S. News & World Report released its annual assessment of the year’s Best Diets. The DASH Diet, developed in part by Pennington Biomedical Research Center dietitians, ranked as a top diet in multiple categories, including:

  • Best Diets for Healthy Eating (No. 1)
  • Best Heart-Healthy Diets (No. 1)
  • Best Diets Overall (No. 2)
  • Best Diets for Diabetes (No. 3)
  • Easiest Diets to Follow (No. 5)

“The threat of COVID-19 made Americans and the entire world more health-conscious and shone a light on one of the best ways to improve your health: the proper diet,” said Catherine Champagne, PhD, Professor and Director of Pennington Biomedical’s Dietary Assessment and Nutrition Counseling Laboratory. “U.S. News’ latest rankings demonstrate once again why the DASH Diet is such a good choice. It is the top-ranked diet for healthy eating and heart health. It helps people with diabetes. One of the biggest advantages the DASH Diet offers is that it’s easy to follow and works for everyone in the family.”

Click Here for Free Dash Diet Eating Plan

Dr. Champagne worked as a member of the DASH Diet Collaborative Research Group that included members from Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Duke Hypertension Center and the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center; and Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

Although the DASH Diet has been one of U.S. News & World Report’s top-ranked diets for more than 10 years, Dr. Champagne said people often ask her why they haven’t heard about it before.

“I tell them it’s not a fad diet, so it doesn’t get a lot of hype,” she said. 

The DASH Diet encourages eating foods low in sodium, saturated and total fat, and cholesterol and high in potassium, calcium, fiber, magnesium and protein. Dr. Champagne, a south Louisiana native, said low sodium does not have to mean lacking in flavor.

“The good news for those who love the flavors of Louisiana cooking is DASH Diet recipes taste good, too. 

You can use salt-free Cajun seasonings, and your food still tastes like it was cooked here,” she said. 

To determine the rankings, U.S. News convened an expert panel of the country’s top nutritionists, dietary consultants, and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health, and weight loss. Through an in-depth survey, 24 panelists scored 39 diets in seven areas, including ease of compliance, likelihood of losing significant weight in both the short and long term, and effectiveness against cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“The DASH Diet represents one of Pennington Biomedical’s most successful efforts at putting scientific discovery into the hands of our community,” said Executive Director John Kirwan, PhD. “DASH is a real food diet and is bolstered by practical information that can change a person’s life for the better.”

For further details on how the rankings were calculated, see the methodology. The rankings, together with the advice of a doctor or nutritionist, can help Americans adopt a healthy lifestyle.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, funded the research for the DASH Diet. 


About LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center

LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. The center conducts basic, clinical and population research, and is affiliated with Louisiana State University. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes over 450 employees within a network of 40 clinics and research laboratories, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Its scientists and physician/scientists are supported by research trainees, lab technicians, nurses, dietitians and other support personnel. Pennington Biomedical is located in state-of-the-art research facilities on a 222-acre campus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.