U.S. News & World Report on Wednesday released its Best Diets for 2019, with the Mediterranean diet ranking No.1.
How US News picks the best diets
For Best Diets 2019, U.S. News reporters and editors used government reports, medical journals, and other resources to create profiles for the 41 diets. Each profile explains:
- How the diet works;
- Whether it lives up to its claims;
- Possible health risks; and
- What it's like to live on the diet.
A panel of nutrition, diet, obesity, and food psychology experts reviewed each diet profile and rated the diets on seven criteria:
- Potential for short-term weight loss;
- Potential for long-term weight loss;
- Ease of compliance;
- Nutritional completeness;
- Potential to prevent heart disease;
- Potential to prevent diabetes or serve as a maintenance diet for diabetics; and
- Safety and health risks.
Once all of the diets were rated, U.S. News converted the panelist ratings into scores and stars, using a five-point scale—with 5 being the highest score and 1 being the lowest score. Based on the scores, U.S. News ranked the diets in nine categories:
- Best Diets Overall;
- Best Commercial Diets;
- Best Weight-Loss Diets;
- Best Diabetes Diets;
- Best Heart-Healthy Diets;
- Best Diets for Healthy Eating;
- Easiest Diets to Follow;
- Best Plant-Based Diets; and
- Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets.
The five diets that ranked highest on the Best Overall list are:
- The Mediterranean Diet, which scored 4.2 and ranks No. 1 for the second consecutive year—though last year it tied for the top spot. According to research, the diet, which is inspired by the observation that people in the Mediterranean live longer, healthier lives, can prevent chronic diseases and increase longevity. The diet is low in sugar, red meat, and saturated fats, but high in vegetables, nuts, and fruits.
- The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet, which scored 4.1 and was bumped from the No. 1—which it held with the Mediterranean Diet last year— spot to the No. 2 spot for the first time in the history of the rankings. The DASH Diet combats and prevents high blood pressure and diabetes. It was ranked highly for its nutritional completeness and ability to support heart health.
- The Flexitarian Diet, which scored 4.0, ranking No. 3 this year. The diet is designed to promote weight loss, overall health, and longevity by having people eat mostly—but not completely—vegetarian. The diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- The MIND Diet, which scored 3.9 and tied for No. 4, was created to prevent cognitive decline and promote brain health by increasing the intake of leafy greens, berries, and nuts.
- The WW (Weight Watchers) Diet, which scored 3.9 and also ranks at No. 4, received the best scores for overall fat and weight loss. The Weight Watchers Freestyle program assigns point values to foods and beverages based on their nutritional value.
The expert panelists recommend well-balanced, non-restrictive diets that are sustainable over a lifetime. For instance, "lifestyle diets," such as the Mind Diet, are healthier and more sustainable than diets that stress weight loss like Atkins or the Ketogenic diet, according to the panelists.
Top diets across all categories
The No. 1 diets in the other Best Diet lists were:
- The Mediterranean Diet for the Best Diets for Healthy Eating, Easiest Diets to Follow, Best Diets for Diabetes, Best Heart-Healthy Diets, and Best Plant-Based Diets lists;
- The Weight Watchers Diet for the Best Commercial Diets and Best Weight-Loss Diets lists; and
- The HMR Diet for the Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets list ("Best Diets," U.S. News & World Report, accessed 1/2; U.S. News & World Report release, 1/2; U.S. News & World Report methodology, 1/2).
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