“New year, new me” is everyone’s favorite mantra right now, but actually living it can be pretty tough when you have no clue where to start. And especially for diets and eating, it can be a little overwhelming to keep up with what’s a fad, what’s realistic (see: baby food diet) and what actually works. US News and World Report used a panel of health experts to evaluate 38 of the most popular diets to help make your food choices a little easier. Scroll on and let the healthy eating begin!
2017’s Top Three Best Diets Overall
The panel of experts ranked the diets based on seven different factors: how easy it is to follow, short-term and long-term weight loss, nutritional completeness, safety and potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease.
1. DASH Diet: Even though it has a gimmicky name — DASH is short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension — you can think of this diet as the common sense diet. Yeah, that means lots of fruits and veggies, along with lean proteins and whole grains. Ditch the red meat, sweets and copious amounts of salt, and you’ve nailed this diet, which is designed to lower blood pressure.
2. Mediterranean Diet: This ancient diet promises weight loss and disease prevention, thanks to cutting out saturated fats. Followers not only eat plenty of plant-based foods, but they also incorporate whole grains, legumes and healthy fats into their meals.
3. MIND Diet: There’s no daydreaming involved in this healthy meal plan. Instead, this diet combines the best of the DASH and Mediterranean diets. MIND dieters also steer clear of cheeses, fried food and butter. While this diet is a relative newbie, research suggests that it could help lower participants’ risk of having Alzheimer’s disease.
2017’s Lowest-Ranked Diets Overall
36. Paleo Diet: Everybody knows somebody who’s tried the paleo diet, but that doesn’t make it the best one out there. The meal plan, which requires cutting out carbs and dairy and eating like a cave person, earned low marks for its restrictive rules and limited research proving its weight loss or health benefits.
37. Dukan Diet: When a diet promises a 10-pound weight loss in the first week (eight pounds more than any doctor advises), it deserves the side eye. In short, the Dukan Diet is a high-protein, low-carb diet that cuts out large food groups: carbs and fruit. It also has more than its fair share of bad side effects, like lethargy and constipation. Yikes! We’d rather eat fruit.
38. Whole30: Here’s proof that trendy doesn’t always mean healthy. This diet promises to cure nearly all of your ailments, but US News and World Report‘s experts argue that this restrictive diet can actually do more harm and set up participants for failure once “no-no” foods are reintroduced into the diets.
US News and World Report’s list also included a few diets that made us go, “HUH?!” The Abs Diet, which requires six meals a day and claims to target belly fat, came in at number 25, while the Engine 2 Diet, which requires going vegan and ditching vegetable oils, came in at number 20. Check out the full list here, and don’t forget to consult your doctor before embarking on any major lifestyle changes.
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