Of 35 of the most popular diets ranked by health experts, we highlight the top 10. The "Best Diets" issue reached your patients this month. See what they're reading.
This is the 10th year US News & World Report has published its "Best Diets" ranking. The full report includes 35 plans, both well recognized and not-so-familiar. Primary care patients looking to make lifestyle changes, lose weight, or give their food choices a jolt have been scrolling through the offerings and the extensive information on each since publication on January 2, 2020.To give you a glimpse of what patients are reading, Patient Care highlights how the top 10 of 35 diets rank on a scale of 0 to 5 stars, overall and on: Managing/preventing diabetesÂ *Â Ease of followingÂ * Heart-healthy profileÂ *Â Long-term weight lossÂ *Â NutrtionÂ *Â SafetyÂ *Â Short-term weight loss. Â
Each diet profile draws on combined knowledge of a deep pool of experts from institutions including Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center, Harvard Medical School, Duke Diet & Fitness Center, and Tufts Medical Center. Each detailed review explains how the diet works, determines whether its claims add up or fall short, scrutinizes it for possible health risks – and reveals what it's like to live on the diet (including costs), not just read about it.
#1. The Mediterranean Diet. The popular diet is low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fat, high in produce, nuts, grains, olive oil and fish. It was also ranked #1 in Best Plant-based Diets and Best Diabetes Diets and #2 in Best Heart-healthy diets.
#2. The DASH Diet, aka Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and was designed to prevent hypertension. The focus is on foods high in nutrients that work against high blood pressure, eg, potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber. The food plan sets a daily sodium limit at 2300 mg/day with a target of 1500 mg for those who stick to it. DASH was also ranked #1 in Best Diets for Healthy Eating and #2 in Best Diabetes Diets.
#3. The Flexitarian Diet. The Flexitarian approach to eating combines vegetarian food choices with a flexible approach to meat consumption. It suggests adding a food group called "new meat" when meal planning to include non-meat proteins such as eggs, beans, and peas. As a weight-loss plan it maxes at approximately 1500 cals/day. It also tied for 2nd place as Best Plant-based and Best Diabetes Diet and was ranked #2 in Easiest Diets to Follow.
#4. Weight Watchers (aka, WW). The original Weight Watchers program focused on weight loss and has always combined in-person meetings with healthful eating. The new myWW program is the easiet to date to customize with its system of SmartPoints and the guiding philosophy is a holistic one focused on healthy eating and exercise. The WW plan of eating scored the hightest for Best Overall Weight Loss and Best Fast Weight Loss as well as #1 in Best Commerical Diet Plans.
#5. THe Mayo Clinic Diet. This diet was developed to help individuals lose weight by recalibrating eating habits and other lifestyle choices. The Mayo Clinic's unique food pyramid guides selection and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains - foods with low energy density. Following the diet, individuals are expected to lose 6 to 10 lbs in 2 weeks and continue dropping 1 to 2 lbs until goal weight is reached. The diet tied for the #2 spot in Best Diabetes Diets.
#5 (tie) The MIND Diet, aka, Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. MIND combines the 2 healthy diets and focuses on choices from each that potentially affect brain health, thus reduce the risk for Alzheimer disease. The food plan, rich in leafy green vegetables, nuts, and berries, was found in a 2015 study to reduce Alzheimer risk by 35% for those who adopted it moderately and 53% for individuals who followed it rigorously. MIND was also ranked #3 in Easiest Diets to Follow.
#5 (tie) The Volumetrics Diet. Conceived by a Penn State nutrition professor, Volumetrics is described as less a structured diet than an approach to eating. It focuses follower's attention on choosing foods with low energy density--foods that tend to fight hunger. While the plan can be followed prescriptively, individuals are encouraged to apply the basic philosophy throughout the day, replacing high-density foods with low-density options. The Volumetrics Diet tied for the #2 spot in Best Weight-loss Diets.
#8. TLC Diet. TheTherapeutic Lifestyle Changesdiet was created by the NIH's National Cholesterol Education Program. The focus is on reducing cholesterol intake to promote heart health. The broad eating guidelines recommend fruits, vegetables, cereals, and pasta; low-fat dairy, skin-off poultry. To lower LDL-C, calorie goals are 2500/day for men and d a 1800/day for women; for weight loss daily calories go down to 1600 for men, 1200 for women. TLC was ranked #4 (tie) in Best Diets for Healthy Eating and #5 in Best Heart-healthy Diets.
#9. The New Nordic Diet. The diet is based on 10 concepts meant to "revolutionize" Nordic cuisine and improve public health, among them include more food from the seas and lakes and from wild landscapes. The regimen's carbohydrate/protein ratio (2:1) relies on a combination of low-glycemic index and moderately-high protein foods. It tied for 3rd place in the Best Plant-based Diets.
#9 (tie) The Ornish Diet. Created in 1977 by physician Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, the diet is low in fat, refined carbohydrate, and animal protein--a whole foods, plant-based regimen. The food plan was originally conceived to reverse heart disease and proven to do so in randomized controlled trials.The Ornish philosophy emphasizess exercise, stress management, and relationships as part of a heart-healthy way of life. The diet was ranked #1 in Best Heart-healthy Diets and tied for #3 in Best Plant-based Diets.
#9. The Vegetarian Diet. Among people who prefer a vegetarian food plan, the lacto-ovo approach is the most popular. There are US dietary guidelines that provide a template for a healthy plan including how many meatless calories should be consumed and what types of food those should come from. A gradual approach to this way of eating could include a few meatless meals a week. Vegetarian diets have been associated with lower BMI, LDL-C, and glucose levels as well as lower rates of ischemic heart disease.