• Brian Dooreck, MD

The Best Diets of 2020—shared by a Gastroenterologist 🥼




The Mediterranean Diet Wins Again


Personally, I like a sustainable, healthy, balanced approach to diet and nutrition. I love ❤️ the Mediterranean Diet. ✅


For the third year in a row, the well-researched Mediterranean Diet is #1 🏆🥇 in the U.S. News and World Report's 2020 ranking of “best diets.”


For the third year in a row, the well-researched Mediterranean Diet is #1


What is factored in?


“Balance, maintainability, palatability, family-friendliness, sustainability, and healthfulness.” said a judge on the U.S. News and World Report panel.


What are the Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet?


🥬 Stronger bones

🥬 Healthier heart

🥬 Lower risk of dementia

🥬 Lower risk of breast cancer

🥬 A longer life

🥬 Reduced risk for diabetes

🥬 Reduced risk for high blood pressure


What is the Focus of the Mediterranean Diet?


🥗 Eating less red meat

🥗 Less sugar

🥗 Less saturated fat

🐟 More omega-3-rich fish

🥑 More olive or healthy oil

🍷 Red wine in moderation

✳️ Socializing with friends and family during meals is advised


What Diets took Top Honors?


Following closely behind the Mediterranean diet were the following respected diets.


⛔️ ⚠️ Spoiler alert—the "trendy" and very popular Keto diet was not on this list created by 25 judges on the U.S. News and World Report panel.


  • DASH Diet

  • Flexitarian Diet

  • WW Diet (the rebranded name popularly known as Weight Watchers)

  • MIND Diet


Angela Haupt, the managing editor of health at U.S. News & World Report shared, "We're interested in diets that have proven staying value -- not fad diets that are here today, gone tomorrow." Furthermore, "The diets that perform well are safe, sensible and backed by sound science. That's going to be consistent from year to year." Mic 🎤 drop.


"We're interested in diets that have proven staying value -- not fad diets that are here today, gone tomorrow."

The flexitarian diet tied with the DASH diet for second place

The DASH Diet


The DASH diet is often recommended to lower blood pressure.


  • Eat more veggies, fruits, and low-fat dairy foods

  • Cut way back on any food high in saturated fat

  • Limit your intake of salt


Studies have shown that following the DASH diet can reduce blood pressure in a matter of weeks. That is a fact. This diet is proven to work.


The Flexitarian Diet


This is a three-week plan to eat less meat. There is an emphasis on eating a "flexible" diet of the following.


  • Whole grains

  • Fruits

  • Vegetables

  • Plant-based proteins


In summary, it is a "vegetarian diet" that allows the "occasional piece of meat or fish." Thus the use of the word "flexible."


Personally, I grew up without any meat 🥩 fish 🐟 or poultry 🍗. Still living close to that. I’m mostly plant-based 🌱 now. Feel the best that way.

The MIND Diet aka "Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay"


Here you have a "combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets." The MIND diet requires less fish and fruit.


What stands out to me, is that "both the MIND and the Mediterranean diets" have been shown to "lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease" in studies. Alzheimer's disease (a form of dementia or memory loss) is very common with more than 3 million US cases per year.


Both the MIND and the Mediterranean diets have been shown to lower the risk of Alzheimer's disease in studies.

The WW Diet aka Weight Watchers


This diet came in fourth on the "best diet list." However, it did receive first place in the report's ranking of "best weight loss and commercial weight-loss programs."


The WW diet did receive first place in the report's ranking of "best weight loss and commercial weight-loss programs."

This diet is healthy and stresses the importance of support for dieters. I am a big fan of accountability. I lost 15 lbs, 5% body fat—and maintained it through group accountability.


The Keto Diet ⛔️


I have written about this before in earlier blogs. ⛔️ So stop here if anything not 💯% supporting a ketogenic diet will upset you.


🥬 I’ll add this to my postings on a ketogenic diet. Just my opinion.


I focus my sharing on choices supporting "long-standing, sustainable, healthy, balanced weight loss." ⚠️ Not diets for "specific, individualized medical 🏥 conditions" that may benefit from a ketogenic diet. This is a good read too in addition to my posts.


If you want to get a sense of my thoughts and sharing what works for me—being a Gastroenterologist 🥼. Here’s a quick 2–minute ⏱ read...Keto Diet and Weight Loss — A few thoughts 💭 from a Gastroenterologist 🥼.


Are you ready?


The trendy Keto diet came in "next to last in the ranking of 35 diets." Ouch.


The Keto diet came in next to last in the ranking of 35 diets.

What was #35?


The Dukan diet? Ever heard of it? I have not. Both the Keto and Dukan diets aim for a state of "ketosis."


What is "Ketosis"?


Ketosis is a "metabolic state" that burns the body's stores of fat instead of carbohydrates.


Carbohydrates are the body's natural source of energy.


In place of carbs, the Keto diet emphasizes high levels of protein, fats, and dairy.


The fats and dairy are typically full of "saturated fat." That can lead to cardiovascular 💔 and other chronic diseases. That is not good. #Fact


These "carbohydrate-restrictive" diets restrict carb intake to very low levels. Many nutritionists feel are "highly unhealthy" as well as "completely unsustainable." I agree.


In the Keto diet, you limit carbs to about 20 grams per day.


What are 20 grams? It is the equivalent of one small banana 🍌 or apple 🍎. It takes "an apple a day" to a whole new level of meaning.


The Keto diet can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. These symptoms are seen particularly in the beginning.


The issue is the long-term studies on its effectiveness are lacking.


Is there a role for the Keto diet?


There are "specific, individualized medical 🏥 conditions" that may benefit from a ketogenic diet. See the link above.


For some, it may act as a "jump-start" to weight loss. It will dramatically and rapidly eliminate from your diet any processed carbs and sugars. You will lose weight in the short-term. That is true. Thus, the Keto diet "tied for third place" for the "best 'fast' weight loss diet."


What about the "Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets"?


I am not going to spend time here. I am not a fan of "get rich quick" schemes or "snake oil." The same applies to health and nutrition.


The most effective diets for "fast" weight loss are very restrictive and cannot be maintained. Even if they were maintainable, they are not compatible with a healthy, long-term, sustainable lifestyle.


⛔️ Any restrictive diet obviously should be under the guidance of a medical professional—especially if there are medical comorbidities or medications taken for a condition such as diabetes.


The Atkins and the Keto diets, both low or no-carb diets, tied for third place in this category. Note that this was despite ranking on the very bottom of other diet categories, such as "best diet," and the "most healthy diet," and even the "best diets for heart health and diabetes." What category is important to you?


What is Intermittent Fasting?


Will eating in a 6-hour window and fasting for 18 hours might help you live longer? That is for another blog conversation.


Summary


There is no magic formula for long-term, sustainable weight loss.


Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🥬 🌾 🥦


Personally


I eat a high fiber, mostly plant-based diet, no red meat, drink 4 liters of water a day, exercise, and am focused on "nutrition simplified." No pills. No supplements. No purchased meals.


🥬 Join me when I post “Lunch 🥗 with @dr.dooreck” on LinkedIn.


Eat Smart. Eat Healthy. 🥬 🌾 🥦

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