What's Your Best Diet for 2018? Experts Rate Them

From Drugs.com - January 3, 2018

What's Your Best Diet for 2018? Experts Rate Them

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 3, 2018 -- Your New Year's resolution diet should be based on a well-balanced eating plan that fits your lifestyle, rather than a weird fad replete with food restrictions.

That's according to U.S. News & World Report's best diet rankings for 2018. The two diets that tied for the top spot -- the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet -- fit that bill because they feature real food and reasonable, flexible guidelines, experts said.

"It's tasty, it's sensible, nutritionally sound, and there's great research that it can help ward off or control a whole host of chronic diseases," Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health at U.S. News & World Report, said of the Mediterranean Diet.

On the other hand, you should avoid fad diets that require you to adopt severe restrictions. The hot new Keto Diet got a raspberry from the U.S. News' panel of nutrition experts, tying for last on the list.

The Keto Diet requires people to severely restrict their carbohydrate intake while indulging in high-fat foods, a plan that is simply not sustainable, Haupt said.

"It really is the diet of the moment, but it can be a pretty extreme plan. There's a very strict carb limit. Our experts say it's not necessary to be so extreme or restrictive," Haupt said.

"One expert said if a diet recommends snacking on bacon, you ca not take it seriously as a health-promoting way to eat," Haupt said.

The rankings come from an expert panel of the country's top nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians, which evaluated 40 different diets across nine categories. The categories included ease of compliance, likelihood of short- and long-term weight loss, and effectiveness against chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Both the DASH and Mediterranean diets allow people the flexibility to choose from a wide variety of healthy foods, so they can eat what best suits them, said Kelly Hogan, clinical nutrition and wellness manager of the Mount Sinai Hospital's Dubin Breast Center in New York City.

The diets share a number of similar themes, Hogan said -- lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and avoidance of foods that are processed, packaged or high in saturated fats.

"The DASH and Mediterranean diets are not excluding any foods or food groups or restricting anything," Hogan said. "I think that's really important when it comes to how a normal person eats in general."

The diets also are both backed by a lot of scientific data that show they can help people lose weight and avoid heart disease and diabetes, Haupt said.

"There's a lack of good solid research on nutrition and diets in general, so it says something when a plan like the Mediterranean Diet is backed up with good solid research," Haupt said.

Fads like the Keto Diet can cause quick weight loss, but a person ca not maintain such eating restrictions, Haupt and Hogan noted.

"These diets are so restrictive that of course you are going to lose weight fast because you are not eating enough calories to sustain basic activities of your body, let alone any exercise. That's nothing that any person can sustain for the long term," Hogan said. "The weight's going to come back if you do lose any weight, and then it's going to be harder to lose weight in the future."


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