Every year, the U.S. News & World Report publishes a list of the healthiest diets to follow based on the opinions of a panel of health experts and nutritionists. In 2021, the Mediterranean diet was named the best overall for the fourth consecutive year and was also rated highly in five other categories, including Best Diet for Healthy Eating, Easiest Diet to Follow, and Best Plant-Based Diet. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the consumption of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fish while minimizing intake of red meat, sugar, and saturated fat. The panel of experts has concluded that this diet, combined with an active lifestyle, can lead to numerous health benefits such as weight management, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention.
The panel of 24 experts evaluated 39 diets across seven categories and ranked them based on factors such as ease of compliance, effectiveness against cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and likelihood of losing significant weight in both the short and long term. The keto and dukan diets were ranked among the lowest for being too restrictive, with the dukan diet also criticized for its lack of supporting evidence. Meanwhile, newcomers to the list this year included the Noom Diet, which was commended for its focus on behavior change and community support, and the Nordic diet, which emphasizes locally-sourced, seasonal foods.
Overall, the panel recommended 11 diets, including the Mediterranean, DASH, and Flexitarian diets. The Weight Watchers diet scored highest overall for weight loss and fat loss, while the MIND diet was praised for its science-backed approach to preventing mental decline. The Ornish diet was noted to be difficult to adhere to due to its severe fat restriction, but the vegetarian diet was found to be nutritionally complete and supportive of heart health.
Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet:
The Mediterranean diet is not just a diet, but rather a way of life that has been linked to increased longevity and numerous health benefits. This eating pattern emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, olive oil, and fish while reducing consumption of red meat, sugar, and saturated fat. The diet is believed to promote weight management, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention when combined with an active lifestyle.
The Mediterranean diet has consistently been ranked as the best overall diet by the U.S. News & World Report for the past four years. This is due to the positive health outcomes associated with the diet, as well as its ease of compliance and adaptability. The diet does not require any special supplements or products, and it can be easily modified to accommodate cultural or dietary preferences.
Criticism of Restrictive Diets:
The panel of experts evaluated 39 diets across seven categories and concluded that more restrictive diets, such as the keto and dukan diets, were among the worst for overall health. These diets were criticized for being too restrictive and lacking sufficient supporting evidence. The dukan diet was even called “idiotic” by one panelist.
Restrictive diets can be difficult to follow and can lead to nutrient deficiencies or other health problems. Additionally, many restrictive diets are not sustainable in the long term, and people often regain weight once they stop following the diet. The U.S. News & World Report recommends focusing on overall lifestyle changes rather than quick fixes or fad diets.
The U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of the healthiest diets provides valuable insight into the best eating patterns to follow for overall health and well-being. The Mediterranean diet has consistently been named the best overall diet due to its numerous health benefits and adaptability. The panel of experts recommends focusing on overall lifestyle changes rather than restrictive diets or quick fixes. The rankings serve as a useful tool for individuals looking to improve their health and make sustainable dietary changes.