January 02, 2020
The Mediterranean diet consists of mostly vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. Only moderate portions of dairy, poultry and eggs are recommended and very little red meat. It has been touted as a heart healthy diet, but according to U.S. News, it also offers other health benefits, like cancer and diabetes prevention and improved brain health.
DASH or Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension also focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables and lean proteins and is also low in sodium. Studies have shown that adopting the DASH diet can lower blood pressure and reduce risk of heart failure. U.S. News gave DASH high marks for being a balanced diet that is easy to follow long-term.
A Flexitarian diet is a mostly vegetarian diet that allows you to eat meat and animal products occasionally. According to Healthline, it is more of a lifestyle than a diet and doesn't require you to count calories or follow strict rules. The panel of experts found the Flexitarian diet to be flexible offering people a variety of healthy recipes to follow.
In addition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Weight Watchers as the Best Weight-Loss Diet and the Ornish diet as the Best Heart-Healthy Diet, just beating out the Mediterranean and DASH diets. The Ornish diet emphasizes natural versus processed foods concentrating on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and soy.
The Ornish diet also tied with the Nordic diet for third place in the Best Plant-Based Diet category. The Nordic diet is similar to the Mediterranean with its emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nuts and seeds, but differs in the cooking oil used. In the Nordic diet, canola oil is the preferred choice, not olive oil. It advocates eating locally sourced foods, which is good for the earth's health too.
A panel of the top U.S. nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians helped determine all the rankings through a survey where they were asked to score 35 diets in seven categories: managing or preventing diabetes, ease of following, heart-healthiness, long-term weight loss, nutrition, safety and short-term weight loss.
"Whether you're trying to lose weight or improve heart health, diets are not one size fits all. The 2020 Best Diets rankings provide consumers with the information and data needed to make an informed decision that helps them – along with input from their doctor or other medical professional – choose the plan that's best for them," Angela Haupt, managing editor of health at U.S. News said in a statement.
"The in-depth coverage of diets empowers consumers to narrow down the options and make a choice that reflects their lifestyle, personal preferences and overall goal."