Finding the best diet for you can be tricky. After all, there are numerous diet plans available in books and on the internet, each with its own claims and promises. Luckily, U.S. News & World Report is making it a little easier to decipher them and decide which is right for you.
For the sixth year in a row, the Mediterranean Diet came in as the number one diet. Here’s a closer look at the top five diets and what they entail:
The Mediterranean Diet focuses on filling your plate with a range of foods. Among the many benefits of the diet is its ability to reduce the risk of certain chronic health issues like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, herbs and spices daily
- Eat seafood at least twice a week
- Moderate consumption of poultry, eggs and yogurt
- Limit red meat and sweets to special occasions
- Limit alcohol to an occasional glass of red wine
The DASH Diet is heavily promoted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as it helps create a balanced heart-healthy eating plan. DASH is perfect for those who don’t want to cut out big food groups and instead focus on when to eat those food groups.
- Eat more vegetables, fruits and whole grains
- Limit fat-free or low-fat dairy products
- Moderate consumption of fish, poultry, beans and nuts
- Limit or avoid highly saturated fats such as meats and dairy products
The Flexitarian Diet is a combination of flexible and vegetarian. This diet doesn’t require you to axe the meat right away; instead it focuses on reducing meats consumption.
“The focus is still: Eat more plants and be flexible instead of strict about it.,” registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner told U.S. News.
- Focus more on non-meat proteins like beans, peas or eggs
- Include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy
- Gradually reduce meat portions and increase meat-free days per week
The MIND Diet is a little bit of a challenge — in a good way. It focuses on eating more of 10 brain-healthy food groups while keeping five less healthy categories to a minimum.
Foods to eat include green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry and olive oil. Food to avoid include red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.
The TLC Diet was created by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program. It focuses on reducing cholesterol and decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Keep meat consumption to a minimum of 5 ounces or less per day
- Eat two to three servings per day of low-fat or non-fat dairy
- Eat up to four servings of fruit and three to five servings of vegetables per day
- Focus on whole grains.
“You want to make sure that the eating plan offers the right nutritional value for different calorie and nutritional needs for different people of different ages, different activity levels, different health conditions,” explained Gretel Schueller, managing editor of health at U.S. News & World Report.
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