WASHINGTON — The season of holiday indulgences is officially history. It’s time to get back to work, school and The Routine — which means peppermint bark no longer counts as an entree.
Yes, the season for healthy resolutions is here, whether you like it or not. U.S. News & World Report, thankfully, is here to help, with the release Wednesday of their 2019 best diet rankings.
The Mediterranean Diet topped their best diets overall category for the second consecutive year, edging out the DASH (“dietary approaches to stop hypertension”) Diet, with which it shared the No. 1 spot last year.
Mediterranean claimed the top spot in several other categories, too: easiest diets to follow, best diets for healthy eating, best plant-based diets and best diets for diabetes. Mediterranean also tied with the Ornish Diet for No. 1 best diet for heart health.
More research suggests that 2019’s best overall diet can help prevent a host of chronic diseases, said Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health at U.S. News.
“The Mediterranean Diet is heavy in a really colorful plate of whole grains and fish and fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy — even a splash of wine, which makes it appealing to a lot of people,” she said. “And, you’ll be going really easy on the saturated fat and the sugar and the salt.”
Weight Watchers topped two of U.S. News’s nine categories as well. Recently rebranded as WW, it weighed in at No. 1 again among best weight loss and best commercial diets. (Volumetrics and Jenny Craig were the runners-up in those respective categories.)
Haupt credited WW’s flexibility (“no food is completely off limits,” she said) and its support.
“We hear from our readers — and research also suggests — that support while you’re dieting is just so, so important, and it can really make all the difference and help you actually stick to the diet for the long haul,” she said.
A panel of nutritionists, diet consultants and physicians evaluated 41 plans along seven variables, including how easy they are to follow, their short- and long-term weight-loss effectiveness, and their safety.
“We’re certainly thinking about what [diets are] buzzing, what people are actually doing, but with a caveat that we want it to be something with a certain amount of staying power,” Haupt said. “Then, we’re also looking at diets that are supported by really robust research.”
New in this year’s rankings is an evaluation of the Nordic Diet, which “incorporates aspects of Scandinavian tradition and culture,” according to U.S. News. It claimed the No. 3 spot in the best plant-based diet category and tied for ninth among best diets overall.
Mixed results for Keto
As for the trendy Keto Diet, the low-carb, high-fat plan was tied for the No. 2 spot in the best fast weight loss category, up from No. 13 in 2018’s rankings. (It should be noted that in terms of the best weight loss category, Keto was ranked 12th in 2019.)
The annual U.S. News rankings include individual profiles of each diet to help you pick the right one. After all, diet goals are not created equally. What scores well might not necessarily be the right diet for your goal, whether it’s weight loss, lowering your cholesterol or managing diabetes.
“Not one single diet is best for every single person,” said Haupt, who added that dieters should do the research and be frank with themselves about whether they’re ready to do the day-to-day work of diligently following a program.
“If you put in the work at the get-go, really consider what is likely to work with you, what isn’t,” she said. “Then, you have so much more luck at actually sticking to the program for the long haul and seeing success with it.”
Read more about healthy diets from U.S. News:
- The 12 best diets for your heart
- The 10 best diets for fast weight loss
- The 41 easiest diets to follow
- Low-calorie diets: A basic guide
- What Is a low-carb diet?
- What is a low-fat diet?
- What is the ‘best diet’ for you?
- What makes a diet easy to follow?
- What makes a healthy diet?
- Is a high-protein diet right for me?
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.