There are many good reasons to lose the extra weight, but you don’t want to do it at the cost of your cardiovascular health.

Each year, US News & World Report asks a panel of experts to rank more than three dozen well-known eating plans on their cardiovascular benefits. Criteria includes the ability to produce weight loss, nutritional completeness and how easy the diet is to follow.

The results contain some surprises. For example, the wildly popular Whole30 diet, which eliminates food groups such as grains and dairy from your diet for 30 days while loading up on fruits and veggies, ranked near the bottom of the list.

Dietitians and doctors were unimpressed by legions of devotees claiming that Whole30 eliminates bloating, clears skin, and increases energy, among other benefits, calling the science behind the diet “hooey” and pointing to the challenges of sticking to it long-term.

“We want to make sure people can follow a plan for life,” says Angel Plannells, a Seattle-based registered dietitian and national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

The best diets, by contrast, were easy to stick to, emphasized mostly plant-based foods, and, most importantly, had hard evidence of improving people’s health over the long haul.

The six best diets, below, got the highest marks in the category of heart health. The remaining three ranked among the worst.

 

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