Food Health

The best (and worst) diets of 2021 according to experts

The best (and worst) diets of 2021 according to experts

It just rolled out the annual US News and World Report list. Here are the top diets, along with a few more unpleasant ones that are unlikely to be healthy and sustainable.

US News and World Report just released their list of Best Diets for 2021 – created annually by a panel of experts who rate modern and popular diets based on safety, how easy it is to follow the plan, nutritional value, and how effective the diet is for weight loss. The best diets for 2021 should also be effective in preventing diabetes and heart disease, and the evidence for these results, through published studies, is significantly heavier in their rankings. Here are my top five diets, and my thoughts on each as a registered dietitian.

1. The Mediterranean diet

I was expecting the Mediterranean Diet to be evaluated at the top again this year. Eating has always been considered the gold standard in nutrition, disease prevention, wellness and longevity. The Mediterranean diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts, legumes (beans, lentils, peas, and chickpeas) and olive oil. It severely limits processed foods and sugar, as well as red meat, and naturally provides a broad spectrum of anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Several studies have shown that people who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean, and continue to eat the region’s traditional diet, live longer and have lower rates of chronic diseases, including heart disease, which remains the number one killer for both men. And women in the area. United State. It has also been shown to support better sleep quality and guard against depression.

The Mediterranean Diet is nutritionally balanced and offers a variety of filling foods and flavors. However, it is an eating style and not a rule-oriented diet. As such, there are no guidelines for specific portions, calorie goals, or meal configurations. However, you may lose weight simply by shifting your intake away from processed foods towards more fiber, nutrient-rich products, and whole foods.

2. (Tie) Diet Dash

The DASH diet ranks second. DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop High Blood Pressure, but it’s not just for people with high blood pressure. DASH is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

This plan borrows elements from the Mediterranean Diet, but it is a very specific eating pattern that has been extensively researched. In addition to being effective at lowering blood pressure, studies have shown that DASH promotes weight loss, protects heart health, as well as reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and certain types of cancer. DASH recommends specific portions of different food groups, depending on an individual’s daily caloric needs.

The DASH system has actually been around for more than two decades, and I’ve been advising a lot of people on how to follow the plan. It’s fairly straightforward, and while the rate of weight loss with DASH can be slow, it is sustainable in the long term. My only problem is the lack of clear alternatives to animal protein for those looking for a vegan plan. It also contains slightly less healthy fats than I usually recommend.

3. (Tie) the flexible diet

The flexible diet is primarily vegetarian with the occasional inclusion of meat or fish. Several studies have shown that switching to a predominantly plant-based diet is linked to reduced body weight and a reduction in chronic disease, including signs of improved metabolic health and blood pressure and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

There is no single way to follow a flexible diet, in terms of the number of times week animal products are consumed or the general composition of the day’s meals in terms of product portions, whole grains, etc. The best way to follow this plan is to maximize your intake of whole plant foods and reduce highly processed foods, even if they are completely vegan. Choose dishes like a cereal bowl made with leafy greens, quinoa, lentils, and tahini over the vegan cheeseburger with French fries.

4. WW Diet (formerly Weight Watchers)

WW ranks high because it is well thought out, long-standing, and not extreme in its approach. The latest version is also set up differently, with options for how to follow the plan based on the members’ food and lifestyle preferences. WW members also have access to personal trainers, the app, trackers, recipes, fitness information, and a 24/7 chat service. There is even an option for those who want to build healthy habits without focusing on weight loss.

The WW plan is customizable, and unlike old-school commercial weight loss programs, no food purchase is required. One potential downside, which varies depending on the plan chosen, can be costly, but it can be as low as $ 54.95 per month plus a starting fee of $ 20.

In my experience, WW can work well for people who thrive when they are part of society, such as using digital gadgets, and prefer an eating plan that provides structure but allows for flexible options.

5. (Tie) the Mayo Clinic Diet

The Mayo Clinic Diet from the highly respected American Academic Medical Center focuses on integrated health care, education and research.

The diet, backed by a book and website, is based on healthy habits that are backed by research, tried, and true. There is a strong focus on getting 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week, eating more whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, and limiting sugar to what is naturally found in fruit.

The plan includes two phases, “Lose it!” And “Live it!” The first focuses on 15 key habits to focus on and which to eliminate without counting calories. After two weeks, the next stage involves deciding how many calories you should aim to either lose or maintain weight, and how to consume calories in a healthy and balanced way. No foods are strictly prohibited though, as the diet emphasizes a long-term lifestyle that can be maintained.

A digital version of the program is offered for $ 5 a month, which promises to help you “eat well, move around, track healthy habits and stay motivated.” It includes personalized meal plans, recipes, portion control guides, motivational tips, food and fitness journals, habits trackers, walking and running guides, and fitness advice for all levels. The site also features success stories that include both men and women who lost pounds and improved their health by following the plan

6. (Tie) a diet mind

The MIND Diet combines aspects of the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet to create an eating pattern designed to focus on brain health – including the prevention of dementia and age-related cognitive decline. But anyone can follow the MIND diet for weight loss and overall wellness.

MIND specifically means Mediterranean intervention – DASH to delay neurodegeneration. Because both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet contain such solid research to support their health, Mind highlights aspects of the two that particularly protect the brain.

Instead of a specific meal plan, MIND’s primary guideline is to eat more than 10 foods that defend the brain, such as green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, olive oil, whole grains, fish, poultry, and wine (no more than one cup per day Preferably red). The plan also identifies five foods to avoid, which have been shown to hamper brain health: butter and margarine, cheese, red meat, fried foods, pastries, and desserts.

Since MIND is newer than both the Mediterranean Diet and DASH, there are fewer studies on its results. However, the research published is impressive. In one study of nearly a thousand older adults, those who closely followed the MIND diet had a 53% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than those who deviated from it a lot.

One of the downsides of the diet is understanding how to convert guidelines into specific meal plans and recipes. Books and online resources can help, but customizing the plan to suit your dietary preferences and weight-loss goals may require some expert guidance.

Poorly arranged diets

The diets with the lowest rating included the Dukan Diet last and the Keto Diet second to last. While these plans may lead to initial weight loss, they miss points for their limitation, potential nutrient deficiencies, and a lack of research on long-term effectiveness and health outcomes. These are important points to consider if you are considering adopting a new diet.

In my experience advising many people over the years, I have come to some strong conclusions. First, if the diet helps you lose weight but harms your physical or emotional health, then it is not a healthy and sustainable option. Second, weight maintenance is about developing habits that you can stick to in the long term. If you can’t realistically see yourself following a particular plan six months or a year down the road, this may not be the approach for you.

Finally, weight management and health are not about perfection or rigor. The final formula is really about balance. The concept isn’t as exciting as a fresh, trendy diet – but the ultimate win-win for weight loss and wellness.

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