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U.S. News ranks best diets for 2019

Consumers don’t have time to evaluate which diet is best, but a panel of health experts did. Use their opinions to help your customers decide how they should eat.

The best diets, according to U.S. News, emphasize eating fruits and vegetables and reducing consumption of red meat, sugar and saturated fats.

After its panel of  health experts—23 doctors, registered dieticians, nutritionists and professors—evaluated 41 diets, U.S. News ranked them on five criteria: easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease.

The publication released nine sets of best diet rankings to help consumers find what they need. We’ve listed the top five in four different categories, as well as the pros and cons of each diet.

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Best diets overall is weighted to favor long-term weight loss and safety:

  • Mediterranean diet—nutritionally sound; includes diverse foods and flavors; but it requires lots of grunt work and it can be pricey to follow.
  • DASH diet—heart healthy; nutritionally sound; also requires considerable grunt work and can be pricey.
  • Flexitarian diet—flexible (it doesn’t completely eliminate meat, but it promotes vegetables over meat); a variety of tasty recipes. However, it emphasizes home cooking and might be tough to follow if you don’t like fruits and vegetables.  
  • MIND diet—combines the proven health benefits of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, with a focus on foods that affect brain health; studies show it reduces the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. There aren’t many resources or details provided to support this diet.
  • WW (Weight Watchers) diet—No foods are off-limits, and you have the flexibility to make your own eating plan. Participants must pay, although they do receive support from specially trained WW customers and the program can be a good value.
     

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Best diabetes diets are evaluated on their ability to prevent and manage diabetes:

  • Mediterranean diet—nutritionally sound; includes diverse foods and flavors; but it requires lots of grunt work and it can be pricey to follow.
  • DASH diet—heart healthy; nutritionally sound; also requires considerable grunt work and can be pricey.
  • Flexitarian diet—flexible (it doesn’t completely eliminate meat, but it promotes vegetables over meat); a variety of tasty recipes. However, it emphasizes home cooking and might be tough to follow if you don’t like fruits and vegetables.
  • Mayo Clinic diet—nutritionally sound; you shape your diet. It’s another meal plan that requires considerable grunt work and can be pricey.
  • Volumetrics diet—an approach to eating that is filling; nothing is off-limits. It requires lengthy meal preparation and, according to U.S. News, “If you don’t like fruits, vegetables and soup, forget it.”

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Best heart-healthy diets are designed to help you lose weight and lower cholesterol, blood pressure or triglycerides:

  • Mediterranean diet—nutritionally sound; includes diverse foods and flavors; but it requires lots of grunt work and it can be pricey to follow.
  • Ornish diet—nutritionally solid and scientifically proven to be very good for the heart; it can be tough to follow if you are looking to reverse heart disease and it can be expensive to follow.
  • DASH diet—heart healthy; nutritionally sound; also requires considerable grunt work and can be pricey.
  • MIND diet—combines the proven health benefits of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, with a focus on foods that affect brain health; studies show it reduces the chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. There aren’t many resources or details provided to support this diet.
  • TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet—a heart-healthy diet created by the federal National Institute of Health; broad guidelines require you to figure out what to eat and to read nutrition labels.

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Best plant-based diets uses the same criteria as best diets overall to rank diets that emphasize minimally processed food from plants:

  • Mediterranean diet—nutritionally sound; includes diverse foods and flavors; but it requires lots of grunt work and it can be pricey to follow.
  • Flexitarian diet—flexible (it doesn’t completely eliminate meat, but it promotes vegetables over meat); a variety of tasty recipes. However, it emphasizes home cooking and might be tough to follow if you don’t like fruits and vegetables.
  • Nordic diet—emphasizes tasty and local healthy foods, which also makes it environmentally friendly. It can be time-consuming to find locally sourced organic foods and prepare homemade meals; U.S. News says it’s not a practical diet for modern consumers.
  • Ornish diet—nutritionally solid and scientifically proven to be very good for the heart; it can be tough to follow if you are looking to reverse heart disease and it can be expensive to follow.
  • Vegetarian diet—most vegetarians don’t eat meat, fish and poultry, but still consume dairy products and eggs, which can be nutritionally sound and heart-healthy if you follow the proper guidelines. Consumers might miss eating meat, and the diet can be a lot of work.

This is the ninth consecutive year that U.S. News has ranked diets. Click here for the complete ranking of 2019 diets.

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