Another medal, 6th in a row, goes to the Mediterranean diet, according to the US 2023 ranking released yesterday.
Not only did it win the title of best overall diet, but it also took gold in the categories of best healthy diet and best plant-based diet, according to the report. In two new categories added in 2023, the Mediterranean diet is tied with cholesterol-lowering therapeutic lifestyle changes (TLC) and flexitarian diets as the best diet for the whole family, and DASH (the diet to prevent high blood pressure) as the best diet. for healthy bones and joints.
“We are always striving to improve health. But there is often a lack of scientific evidence about Diet X and Condition X,” said Greta Schooler, editor-in-chief at US Health. News & World Report, which oversees the annual rating of judges. “However, bone and joint health is an area that has quite a lot of scientific literature,” Skuler added. “We also recognize that our population is aging, so it’s important to focus on diets that can improve the quality of life for older people.”
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
Numerous studies have shown that The Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression, and breast cancer. This is a diet that is more like an eating style (compared to others that have severe restrictions). It also helps to strengthen bones, improve the cardiovascular system and increase life expectancy.
The diet includes simple plant-based cuisine, with most of each meal consisting of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and seeds, with a small amount of nuts and a heavy emphasis on extra virgin olive oil. Fats other than olive oil, such as butter, are rarely (if ever) consumed, and sugar and processed foods are reserved for special occasions.
Red meat is rarely used, usually only to add flavor to the dish. Eating healthy oily fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids is encouraged, and eggs, dairy and poultry are consumed in much smaller portions than in the traditional Western diet.
As of 2022, the DASH diet and flexitarianism ranked second in the ranking of the best diets. Similar to the Mediterranean style of eating, they cut back or eliminate processed foods and emphasize filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. The DASH diet emphasizes limiting salt intake to lower blood pressure, while the Flexitarian diet, as its name suggests, allows occasional meat or poultry.
How to choose the best diets
A panel of 33 experts reviewed the best diets and ranked them in several categories: did the diet include all food groups, was it documented, were the staples available in every supermarket, how easy was the diet to prepare, and did it include additional vitamins or supplements. “We focused on quality, not quantity,” Skuler said. “Our judges felt that there are some diets that are so insane that they are not worth our time, such as the Dukan diet, which we no longer rate.”
This year’s worst diet award was given to raw food diet, at least in part due to a lack of nutritional completeness, which raised safety concerns among the judges. Because followers can only eat raw foods that have not been cooked, genetically modified, or exposed to pesticides or herbicides. Experts say that it is almost impossible to follow such a diet.
The popular keto diet, along with modified keto, ranked 20th out of 24, followed by Atkins, SlimFast and Optavia. These diets emphasize eating foods that are high in protein or fat, with minimal carbohydrates, and get low marks because they are extremely restrictive, difficult to follow, and eliminate entire food groups. However, despite the low overall score keto diet, the judges ranked it #1 in the “Best Diet for Short Term Weight Loss” categorySkuler emphasized, adding that these diets are not considered healthy.