2021 Diets Ranked: U.S. News & World Report’s Analysis

U.S. News & World Report recently released its rankings of the best diets for 2021, with the Mediterranean diet taking the top spot for the third year in a row. The DASH and flexitarian diets tied for second place. The rankings are based on the opinions of a panel of nutritionists, dietary consultants, and physicians. Plant-based diets have consistently been found to be associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and flexitarian diets all prioritize plant-based foods, making them excellent choices for overall health. These diets are recommended by doctors for their health benefits, including improvements in cardiovascular health and weight loss.

The Mediterranean Diet Takes the Top Spot The Mediterranean diet was awarded the highest honors for its health benefits, scoring 4.2 out of 5. This diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and some lean meat and fish. The DASH diet, which is designed to lower blood pressure, also prioritizes plant-based foods along with whole grains, lean meats, and nuts. The flexitarian diet, which is semi-vegetarian, tied with the DASH diet for second place. Plant-based foods are the focus of all three diets, which is one of the best things you can do for your health.

Plant-Based Diets Are Associated With Better Health Eating a plant-based diet is associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. People who follow plant-based diets closely have up to a 25 percent lower risk of dying from any cause compared with those who don’t follow the eating pattern. The top diets for overall health, weight loss, diabetes, and heart-healthy diets are the Mediterranean, DASH, and flexitarian diets. All three prioritize plant-based foods and are easier to follow than most other diets.

Mediterranean, DASH, and Flexitarian Diets Are Recommended by Doctors The Mediterranean diet has been found to beat low-fat diets for weight loss after one year and improve measures of heart health. Women who followed the Mediterranean diet closely had up to a 28 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with those who didn’t follow the diet. The evidence for the Mediterranean diet’s ability to decrease risk of heart disease and stroke is strong and consistent. Doctors recommend the Mediterranean, DASH, and flexitarian diets for their known health benefits. These diets can help improve cardiovascular health, lower inflammation, improve insulin function, and reduce body mass index (BMI).