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.”
“Balance, maintainability, palatability, family-friendliness, sustainability, and healthfulness.” said a judge on the U.S. News and World Report panel.
Lower risk of dementia
Lower risk of breast cancer
A longer life
Reduced risk for diabetes
Reduced risk for high blood pressure
Eating less red meat
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
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.
WW Diet (the rebranded name popularly known as Weight Watchers)
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.
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.
This is a three-week plan to eat less meat. There is an emphasis on eating a "flexible" diet of the following.
In summary, it is a "vegetarian diet" that allows the "occasional piece of meat or fish." Thus the use of the word "flexible."
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.
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."
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.
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.
What was #35 on the list?
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.
There is no magic formula for long-term, sustainable weight loss.
Balance. Portion control. Keep nutrition simple. Eat Smart. Eat Healthy.