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Best diets for 2019

It’s the most popular time of the year to go on a diet. But in my book, better health and weight loss begin not with fad diets but with choices that, over time, become habits — supporting lifelong change through tangible, actionable strategies that you can adapt for any scenario. (Hint: You can start by setting boundaries.)

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First, here are my basics for a healthy approach to better eating habits:

  • Pack on the produce: veggies and fruit
  • Prioritize good-for-you fats: plant-based oils and other unsaturated fats
  • Eat more seafood: fatty fish plus crustaceans and mollusks
  • Choose 100% whole grains: farro, buckwheat, bulgur, wheat, and oats
  • Enjoy conscious indulgences: chocolate, sweets, and baked goods in moderation
  • Think inclusive vs. exclusive: full-fat and low-fat dairy, prioritizing quality over quantity
  • Provide enrichment of multiple varieties: cooking with herbs and spices, enjoying favorite restaurants, and trying new flavors

All that said, if you’re keen to study up on the best and worst diet plans out there, you’re in the right place.

Contents

The Best Diets to Try in 2019

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The Mediterranean Diet

What makes this “diet” so great is that it’s a lifestyle, not a traditional weight-loss plan that has you counting calories or measuring portions. It’s all about enjoying meals with friends and loved ones, savoring each flavor, indulging in delicious, quality items like flavorful cheeses and desserts, and making time for plenty of physical activity (ah, to be walking on the beaches of Greece right now!).

Where to Start

While there’s no “restriction” on this plan, the predominant foods in it promote both health and weight loss or management. The idea is to fill up on nutritious items in order to indulge, consciously. This approach naturally limits the amount of ultra-processed foods you’ll eat, which tend to have more sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar. Since the Mediterranean eating style prioritizes enjoyment of your whole dining experience, flavorful ingredients are at the forefront so you’ll never feel deprived.

The DASH Diet

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This diet, which stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension,” can be both an overall healthier style of eating and a smart approach to weight loss. It emphasizes produce of all types, seafood, 100% whole grains, low-fat dairy, nuts, and seeds. The predominant protein sources are poultry, pork, and seafood, with an emphasis on omega-3 filled fatty fish, like tuna, sardines, and salmon.

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The DASH diet tells you what to eat without over-emphasizing any key nutrient. It’s high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which counterbalance the effects of sodium, promote better heart health, and help prevent hypertension (a.k.a. high blood pressure).

The plan limits higher-in-saturated fat foods, added sugars, and sodium by making red meat about half a serving per day and cutting back on processed food sources like condiments, sauces, breads, cereals, fast food, sweetened beverages, jam, syrups, and breakfast pastries. You’ll still get to eat smaller servings of real indulgences — similar to the Mediterranean diet. The basic tenants include:

PER DAY

  • 2-3 servings of dairy products, mostly part-skim and unsweetened
  • 6-8 servings of whole grains, like a slice of toast or ½ cup oatmeal or pasta
  • 5 servings of fruits and veggies
  • 6 ounces of lean protein, choosing a mix of seafood, poultry, pork, and eggs
  • 2-3 teaspoons of fats and oils

PER WEEK

  • 4-5 servings of nuts and legumes, like 2 tablespoons nut butter or ½ cup beans
  • 5 servings of sweets per week (each treat should stay at or under 18 grams of sugar)

The Volumetrics Diet

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Developed by a team of experts at Penn State, this diet relies on some incredible weight-loss basics: more vegetables, more fruit, more creative ways to eat more veggies and fruit, and more calories from plant-based foods filled with fiber and lots of water. And if you look closely, you’ll see many diets have adapted the same general approach and mindset-shift (this one’s considered the O.G.).The thing people like most about a volume-based approach is that it makes you feel like you can eat a ton — without constantly thinking about “restriction.” Think: 4 cups of popcorn or a 1/2 cup of flavor-packed salsa with loads of veggie slices. The other great thing? Nothing is off-limits or set in stone, meaning you can adapt it to meet your budget and any dietary needs.

The approach to eating “more produce” works by displacing calories from other foods, making you feel both full and satisfied, and not resulting in the “OMG I can’t eat anything!” phenomenon of other weight-loss plans.

So if you have one takeaway for any diet you’re keen on trying, chew on this: Think more vegetables, more often. That thought process helps you combine great things about all great eating plans, including Mediterranean and DASH.

The Worst Diets to Try in 2019

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Anything With the Words “Detox” or “Cleanse”

Cleanses took many forms in 2018 — from the Izo Cleanse made popular by Kelly and Ryan to the “teatoxing” promoted by Cardi B, so it’s only logical that we’ll see more of ’em in 2019. And while none of these celebs are healthcare professionals, this breed of “cleanse” and “detox” mania fuels the fire of an already problematic diet culture. They propagate a myth that binging and restricting can make you happier and healthier, when in fact, it’s more accurately linked to obesity and depression — not to mention spending hard-earned money just to sit on the toilet.

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They’re not FDA-regulated and therefore, what they do in your body can’t really be determined. If you’re thinking, So what?! I want to lose weight quickly and it’s okay if it doesn’t work, I still want to try! Listen up: Outside the wide range of potential pitfalls, I have much larger concern about the long-term psychological effects that come from “detoxing.” The more we see words like “cleanse” and “detox,” the more likely we are to believe there’s something beneficial, scientific, or “proven” about it (there isn’t). It’s a elitist shame-trigger, and its wholly unrealistic from both a physiological and mental well-being standpoint.

The Carnivore Diet

Carnivore enthusiasts tout the life-changing benefits of their diet and lifestyle demands, which includes sole dependence on beef, water, and salt (plus bourbon, according the diet’s guru, Mikhaila Petersen).

The concern I have with this diet is that it isn’t just a “low” carb plan, it’s a completely exclusionary plan. There’s no way to survive on a meat-only diet without suffering some serious health problems: vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can result in bone loss, organ damage (and ultimately, organ failure), and unnecessary physical pain.

The Keto Diet

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Let me say this first: If you’re currently on a keto diet and absolutely loving life, well then GREAT! I’m not here to shame anyone’s personal style of eating or stop you from doing what’s right for you. But there are a few main reasons why I bring it up as the “worst:”

To stay in the metabolic state known as ketosis, your diet can’t include more than 10% carbs and 20% protein — a distinct difference from other low-carb or Atkins diets. Eating dietary fat for 70% to 90% of your daily calories means cutting fiber-rich foods (fruits, veggies, legumes) and lean protein sources (fatty fish) — some of the most nutrient-dense choices on the planet.

When you severely restrict carbs, your body draws on glycogen for energy — meaning that you’ll drop water weight quickly during the first few weeks. This fact alone can encourage you to stick with it, but ultimately, if limiting most carbs and some protein is dramatically out of your comfort zone, then it’s crucial that you consider how you can achieve weight loss for the long haul.

Depending on the individual, a too-low-carb diet can negatively impact everything from energy levels to hormones. Plus, we have very limited stats on how eating keto for weight loss can affect long-term health. Without that info, it’s too early for public health professionals to universally recommend trying it.

More About Low-Carb Diets

Should you ever go off of this diet during the course of your lifespan, it’s also pretty likely that you’ll gain weight back (and then some), and that’s what I’m hoping to share with you by coming down hard on this trend — not because weight gain is “bad,” but because weight-cycling is physiologically and psychologically damaging. Diets that single out a food group or macronutrient make it that much harder to get out of the purgatory induced by today’s diet landscape. They become recipes for feelings of failure, fear, and self-doubt when we can’t “stick to the plan,” simply because the circumstances of our lives have changed!

The Bottom Line

The best diets promote inclusivity over exclusivity and rely heavily on produce. Highly restrictive diets depend on immediate weight loss to motivate you — but some may backfire entirely and others may leave you fully missing out on nutrients and experiences. Think about what works best for you before trying any new approach to eating, and use that as your framework for building healthier eating habits that stick.

For more ideas, tips, tricks, and healthier eating guides that’ll help you stick to your health-focused resolutions, check out our nutrition director’s new book: Dressing on the Side (and Other Diet Myths Debunked): 11 Science-Based Ways to Eat More, Stress Less, and Feel Great About Your Body

Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Good Housekeeping Institute Director, Nutrition Lab A registered dietitian with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Northwestern University and a Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from New York University, Jaclyn “Jackie” London handles all of Good Housekeeping’s nutrition-related content, testing, and evaluation.

The finding has led researchers to explore other clinical applications of the keto diet. There is emerging evidence indicating that it could be used as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, but with only one major study done so far, it is too early to draw conclusions about the long-term risks or side-effects. The same can be said about the use of keto diets for cancer recovery. “Dietary interventions for medical conditions are never risk-free, and there is never one size fits all,” says Helen West, a registered dietitian and co-founder of the Rooted Project, an organisation dedicated to making evidence-based nutritional advice more accessible. “Our job as clinicians is to explain the risks and the benefits of a particular dietary intervention, based on the scientific literature and our experience, to help people make an informed choice.”

The fear, of course, is that many people don’t seek out information and support from regulated healthcare professionals before making major changes to their diet. Most newcomers are drawn to keto for its potential weight loss benefits, and, while it remains a topic of debate among nutritional scientists, its proponents typically gloss over the unknowns.

Keto advocates claim it gives them an edge for athletic performance by turning them into fat-burning machines. The theory put forward is that, in ketosis, you adapt to use stored fat for energy more efficiently – but this is not borne out by research.

“If you eat more fat, you’ll use more fat for energy,” says Alan Flanagan, a nutritional scientist. Published research to date has not shown any meaningful benefit to following a keto diet for athletic performance, he says; in fact, it may impede the ability to exercise at higher intensity.

Keto is not a free pass to go hard on the butter and bacon (too much of which may increase the risk of colorectal cancer, according to the World Health Organization). Some studies of LCHF diets have shown improvements in blood lipid profiles, which measure the levels of cholesterol and some fats, but that is typically an outcome of weight loss. Recent research found that, after three weeks of following a LCHF diet, young and healthy adult participants recorded a 44% increase, compared with controls, in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol – the “bad” kind, ultimately increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

That is not even accounting for the fact that following a keto diet is hard. You have to be disciplined, vigilant and hyperfocused on every food choice – you can’t casually knock back an apple because that may push you out of ketosis. This is not simply a matter of “willpower”; it is also a question of means, energy, resources and time. It prompts the question: why is this incredibly challenging, rigid, expensive diet so popular?

One answer is the “modern caveman” narrative, as strong among keto advocates as it was with its paleo predecessor. This speaks to the compelling, but misplaced, notion that illness is simply a result of modern food processing practices and lifestyles, and can be reversed by returning to a simpler time.

But a diet is a diet is a diet, and they all work the same way – by reducing the net amount of energy consumed. Keto diets may have a slight advantage, as the high fat intake is hypothesised to have satiating properties, helping you stay fuller for longer. But in reality, we have little evidence to show that keto is more effective in the long run than any other diet – or, indeed, that any diet succeeds in keeping off weight.

The real driving force behind keto’s popularity is our myopic focus on weight as the sole determinant of health, keeping us on the dieting merry-go-round as those diets become more extreme with each rotation. Yet dieting has been shown to increase body shame, anxiety, depression and disordered eating patterns, particularly binge eating and bulimia. It is also ineffective, being one of the strongest predictors for future weight gain.

The premium placed on weight means we often fail to consider improvements that can be made to health independent of it, such as physical fitness. “Health-promoting behaviours can all have a beneficial effect, even if switching your lifestyle to incorporate them doesn’t result in weight loss,” says West. “Sadly, the focus on weight loss as the only valuable goal … can lead to people pursuing weight loss at any cost, and feeling that healthy behaviours are only worthwhile if they result in an aesthetic change.”

One possible solution to diet dogma is an approach called intuitive eating: learning to eat mainly in response to physiological hunger and satiety cues. Although a relatively new area of investigation, there are promising findings: a 2017 paper found an increased awareness of internal cues to eat had “the potential to address problematic eating behaviours and the challenges many face with controlling their food intake”.

Intuitive eaters seem to have less anxiety and fewer internalised rules about food. Learning to be guided by your body also allows for flexibility and long-term sustainability, without the high likelihood of “failure” imposed by extreme external rules. For some, intuitive eating may be one answer to the question of how to break a nonstop cycle of dieting. Improving fitness is another. But the answer to long-term, sustainable good health is probably not wrapping bacon round everything.

Just Eat It: How Intuitive Eating Can Help You Get Your Shit Together Around Food by Laura Thomas (Bluebird) is out on 10 January

Weight Loss & Diet Plans A-Z

  • Alkaline Diet Plan Review: Does It Work?

    Does changing your body’s pH levels through diet have any benefits? Read WebMD’s Alkaline Diet review to find out.

  • Dr. Andrew Weil Diet Review: What Is It?

    WebMD evaluates the Dr. Andrew Weil diet, starting with a basic overview.

  • Atkins Diet Plan Review: Foods, Benefits, and Risks

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  • Best Life Diet Plan Review: Does It Work?

    Does Bob Greene’s Best Life Diet work? Read this WebMD diet review to learn about what you can eat on this plan and how effective it is.

  • Body for Life Program Review: Does It Work?

    Read WebMD’s review of the Body for Life diet and exercise program to find out if it’s right for you.

  • Brown Fat Revolution Diet Review

    Read WebMD’s review of “The Brown Fat Revolution” to find out if this diet is for you.

  • Cookie Diet Review: What You Eat & How It Works

    If eating cookies sounds like your kind of diet, read this WebMD review to find out if a cookie diet is right for you.

  • Diet Review: The Spectrum

    WebMD evaluates the Dr. Dean Ornish diet philosophy outlined in “The Spectrum: A Scientifically Proven Program to Feel Better, Live Longer, Lose Weight, and Gain Health.”

  • Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet Review

    WebMD discusses the effectiveness of Dr. Kushner’s Personality Type Diet and explains what to expect.

  • Dr. Oz Ultimate Diet Plan Review

    Does the diet plan formulated by Doctor Oz work? Find out in WebMD’s Ultimate Diet review.

  • Dr. Phil’s Ultimate Weight Solution

    WebMD reviews the pros and cons of Dr. Phil’s diet, which emphasizes emotions and thought patterns as much as food groups.

  • Eat This, Not That Diet Plan Review

    “Eat This, Not That” encourages eating a better food than the one you were planning on. Find out from WebMD whether this diet program works.

  • Eat to Live Diet: Review

    WebMD discusses pros and cons of following the “Eat to Live” diet plan by Joel Fuhrman, MD.

  • Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat

    Find out with this WebMD diet review if “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat” is a weight loss plan that will work for you.

  • French Women Don’t Get Fat Diet Review

    Get the scoop from WebMD on the French Women Don’t Get Fat diet. Does it work? What can you eat?

  • High School Reunion Diet Review: 30-Day Weight Loss?

    Have a reunion coming up and need to lose weight fast? Find out from WebMD whether the High School Reunion Diet is right for you.

  • Diet A to Z: Intermittent Fasting

    The two-day-a-week diet: How intermittent fasting can help you lose weight and boost your health.

  • Jenny Craig Diet Review: Cost, Foods, Benefits, & More

    WebMD reviews the pros and cons of the Jenny Craig diet plan.

  • Living Low-Carb Diet Review: How It Works

    Could a low-carbohydrate diet work for you? Read WebMD’s overview of the low-carb lifestyle.

  • Lose 21 Pounds in 21 Days: The Martha’s Vineyard Diet Detox

    The Martha’s Vineyard Detox Diet promises rapid weight loss: 21 pounds in 21 days. Read WebMD’s review here.

  • Macrobiotic Diet Plan Review

    Is the Macrobiotic Diet an effective weight loss plan? Find out in this diet review.

  • The VB6 Diet Review: Does Mark Bittman’s Diet Work?

    WebMD reviews food writer Mark Bittman’s heavily vegan VB6 Diet.

  • Master Your Metabolism: Jillian Michaels Diet Review

    Find out from WebMD which foods you can eat on the “Master Your Metabolism” diet and how it claims to work.

  • Medifast Diet Plan Review

    Does eating Medifast meal replacements help you lose weight and keep it off? Find out in WebMD’s diet review.

  • Review of ‘Naturally Thin’ Diet by Bethenny Frankel

    WebMD reviews the pros and cons of the Naturally Thin diet, which does away with calorie tracking.

  • P.I.N.K. Method Diet Review: What Is It?

    WebMD reviews the pros and cons of the P.I.N.K. Method diet program.

  • Pritikin Principle Diet Review: Plant-Based Foods for Weight Loss?

    WebMD takes a look at the Pritikin Diet, one of the first popular diets aimed at reducing and even reversing heart disease.

  • Raw Food Diet Review: Benefits, What You Eat, & More

    Does cooking food lower its nutritional value? The Raw Food Diet claims it does. Read the truth about this diet plan.

  • Review: The Full Diet Plan

    FullBars: Do they work for weight loss? WebMD reviews the Full Diet plan, including how it works, what you can eat, and whether it’s healthy.

  • Shangri-La Diet Review: Does Drinking Oil Keep You Full?

    What can you eat on the Shangri-La Diet? Learn that and more in this WebMD review.

  • Skinny Bitch Vegan Diet Plan Review

    The Skinny Bitch Diet is a vegan diet that emphasizes organic foods. WebMD reviews its pros and cons.

  • Slimfast Diet Review: Shakes for Weight Loss?

    Will drinking Slimfast shakes help you lose weight and keep it off? Read WebMD’s review to find out.

  • The 17 Day Diet

    WebMD provides information about “The 17 Day Diet,” including dietary restrictions, effectiveness, and level of effort.

  • The 3 Day Diet Plan Review, Foods, Effectiveness

    Does the 3 Day Diet plan work? Do the results last? Find out in this diet plan review from WebMD.

  • 3-Hour Diet Review: Frequent Eating for Weight Loss?

    Will eating frequent, small meals help you lose weight on The 3-Hour Diet? Read WebMD’s review to find out.

  • 4 Day Diet Plan Review: What Can You Eat?

    The 4 Day Diet plan encourages diet variety and exercise to help with weight loss. WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this diet.

  • 5-Factor Diet Plan Review: What You Eat & More

    Meals with five ingredients, prepared in five minutes? Is weight loss so simple? Find out in WebMD’s 5-Factor Diet review.

  • The Baby Food Diet Review: Does This Weight Loss Plan Work?

    If you eat mostly baby food, can you lose weight? Yes, but. WebMD looks at the pros and cons of the Baby Food Diet.

  • Big Breakfast Diet Plan Review: What Is It?

    Eating a huge breakfast and light lunches and dinners is how this diet plan works. WebMD reviews the pros and cons of the Big Breakfast Diet.

  • Biggest Loser Diet Plan Review: Foods & Exercise

    Is The Biggest Loser Diet right for you? WebMD looks at the pros and cons of this TV-ready diet.

  • Blood Type Diet: Eating for Types O, A, B, & AB

    Is the Blood Type Diet a healthy way to eat and lose weight? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this diet – and what the research says.

  • Cabbage Soup Diet Review: Ingredients and Effectiveness

    Will eating mostly cabbage soup help you lose weight? WebMD’s Cabbage Soup Diet Review gives you the details.

  • CarbLovers Diet Review: What Are Resistant Starches?

    Can you eat the carbs you love and still lose weight? WebMD’s diet plan review discusses pros and cons of the Carb Lovers Diet.

  • Cheater’s Diet Review: Foods and Effectiveness

    The Cheater’s Diet suggests a normally healthy diet with “cheating” on weekends. Does this plan work? Find out from a WebMD expert.

  • The Cinch Diet Plan Review

    Does the Cinch Diet work? WebMD reviews this diet plan and discusses pros and cons.

  • Dukan Diet Review: Phases, Menu, & More

    What can you eat on the Dukan Diet? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this diet.

  • Eat Clean Diet Review: Unprocessed Foods for Weight Loss

    Eating whole, unprocessed foods is the mantra of the Eat Clean Diet. Find out more from WebMD, including whether the diet is safe and healthy.

  • Engine 2 Diet Review: What to Expect

    Is The Engine 2 Diet right for you? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this “plant-strong” diet by former firefighter Rip Esselstyn.

  • The Fast Diet Review: What to Expect

    The Fast Diet lets you eat as you like 5 days a week, and then you fast for the other 2 days. Does it work, and is it safe? WebMD explains.

  • Fast Food Diet Review: Better Choices for Weight Loss

    If you find yourself eating out often, the Fast Food Diet may work for you. WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this diet.

  • Fat Smash Diet Review: Detox and Diet Phases

    The Fat Smash Diet has four phases of learning to eat better. WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this diet.

  • Flat Belly Diet Review: What You Eat

    Does the Flat Belly Diet deliver on its promises? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this diet.

  • David Katz’s Flavor Point Diet Review

    Can limiting the flavors on your plate help you lose weight – and stay healthy? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of the Flavor Point Diet.

  • Flexitarian Diet Review: Less Meat and Weight Loss?

    Will eating less meat help you lose weight? Find out in this Flexitarian Diet review from WebMD.

  • Fresh Diet Review: Meal Delivery Service for Weight Loss?

    Want to lose weight and eat like royalty? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of The Fresh Diet.

  • Fruit Flush Diet Plan Review: Detoxing With Fruit?

    What are the effects of a fruit-based detox diet? Read WebMD’s review of the Fruit Flush diet and find out.

  • Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s G-Free (Gluten-Free) Diet Review

    If you don’t have celiac disease, will adopting a gluten-free diet help you be healthier and lose weight? WebMD reviews the G-Free Diet.

  • Gene Smart Diet Review: Do Genetics Affect Weight?

    Do your genes affect your weight? The Gene Smart Diet claims that your genes can work with you to help you lose weight. Find out more about this diet at WebMD.

  • Grapefruit Diet Plan Review: Does It Work?

    Is the grapefruit diet a plan that is healthy or safe? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this fad diet.

  • Hallelujah Diet Review: Foods and Supplements for Weight Loss?

    The Hallelujah Diet encourages juicing, raw foods, and supplements for weight loss. But is this diet effective or safe? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this diet.

  • Hormone Diet Plan Review: Phases, Foods, and More

    Will eating foods to regulate your hormones make you lose weight? Read WebMD’s review of The Hormone Diet to find out.

  • Instinct Diet Plan Review: Stages, Foods, and More

    The Instinct Diet claims it teaches you how and what to eat to change your cravings. Find out more in this WebMD review.

  • Kind Diet Review: Alicia Silverstone’s Weight Loss Plan

    The Kind Diet, developed by Alicia Silverstone, is an organic vegan diet. Find out from WebMD whether this diet would work for you.

  • Master Cleanse (Lemonade) Diet Review, Ingredients, Effectiveness

    Does the Master Cleanse (Lemonade) Diet really detoxify your body? This WebMD review discusses the claims, ingredients, and truth about the diet.

  • Mayo Clinic Diet Plan Review: Realistic Goals and Healthy Diet

    The Mayo Clinic Diet — the one actually developed by the Mayo Clinic — recommends a healthy diet and exercise for weight loss. Find out more at WebMD.

  • Mediterranean Diet Review: Foods & Weight Loss Effectiveness

    WebMD explains why the Mediterranean Diet is healthy and how the diet plan works.

  • The Military Diet: Everything You Should Know

    Could the Military Diet really work for you? Learn the facts about the diet.

  • Morning Banana Diet Review: Resistant Starch & Weight Loss?

    The Morning Banana Diet claims to help you lose weight. But could weight loss really be as simple as eating bananas? WebMD reviews the pros and cons of this diet.

  • The New Beverly Hills Diet Review: Phases, Foods, & More

    WebMD looks at the pros and cons of The New Beverly Hills Diet.

  • Nutrisystem Diet Plan Review: Foods, Products, & More

    With Nutrisystem, you choose foods you want to eat from a menu, and the food is delivered to your door. But does it work just because it’s easy? WebMD reviews its pros and cons.

  • O2 Diet Plan Review: Antioxidants for Weight Loss?

    The O2 Diet measures antioxidants to determine which foods you should eat. Find out from WebMD whether this method works.

  • Omni Diet Review: What You Can Eat and What to Expect

    Thinking about trying The Omni Diet by Tana Amen? WebMD explains what foods you can and can’t eat and what you can expect from this diet plan.

  • Paleo Diet (Caveman Diet) Review, Foods List, and More

    The Paleo Diet, or Caveman Diet, recommends eating as ancient paleolithic hunter-gatherers did — heavy on proteins and low in carbs. WebMD reviews the pros and cons of the diet.

  • Park Avenue Diet Review: Beauty and Weight Loss

    The Park Avenue Diet claims that losing weight is just part of being healthy; beauty is another part. Learn whether this diet works in WebMD’s diet review.

  • The Perricone Weight-Loss Diet Review: What Is It?

    WebMD evaluates the diet plan formulated by dermatologist Nicholas Perricone.

  • The Protein Power Diet: Low-Carb, High-Protein Diet Plan

    WebMD reviews the low-carb Protein Power diet, including a basic overview and expert opinions.

  • The Rice Diet Plan Review: Does It Work?

    Should you follow the Rice Diet for quick weight loss? Read WebMD’s diet review to find out how safe and effective it really is.

  • The Sonoma Diet Review: Phases, Foods, and More

    WebMD examines the Sonoma Diet including dietary restrictions and effectiveness.

  • South Beach Diet Review: Foods, Products, and More

    Will the phases of the South Beach Diet help you lose and keep off extra weight? WebMD’s review discusses what you eat and how it works.

  • Detox Diets: Do They Work? Are They Healthy?

    Detoxes are popular, but does your body really need help cleansing itself? Find out how detox diets work and what the science says.

  • The UltraMetabolism Diet Review: Does It Work?

    The UltraMetabolism diet starts out restricting many foods and drinks. Does the method work for weight loss? Find out from WebMD.

  • The Weigh Down Diet Review: Praying to Lose Weight?

    “The Weigh Down Diet” recommends drawing on the Bible to lose weight. Find out more about this diet plan at WebMD .

  • The Zone Diet Plan Review and Foods

    WebMD evaluates The Zone diet, how healthy it is, and whether it’s effective.

  • Anne Fletcher’s Thin for Life Diet Review

    “Thin for Life” looks to those who have maintained significant weight loss for tips and recipes. Find out from WebMD if this diet may be right for you.

  • This Is Why You’re Fat Diet Review: A Healthy Plan?

    WebMD reviews the pros and cons of “This Is Why You’re Fat,” a diet that focuses on sticking to the basics.

  • Volumetrics Diet Plan Review: Foods and Effectiveness

    WebMD reviews the pros and cons of the Volumetrics diet, an eating plan that focuses on foods that fill you up.

  • ‘What Color Is Your Diet’ Review: Variety for Weight Loss?

    “What Color Is Your Diet” claims adding brightly colored fruits and veggies to your diet will help you lose weight. Get the facts in WebMD’s review.

  • Wheat Belly Diet Review: What to Expect

    “Wheat Belly” is a best-selling diet book, but is it the right diet for you? WebMD explains what you can eat and what you can expect from this plan.

  • Weight Watchers Freestyle

    WW (formerly called Weight Watchers) is a very popular diet plan, in which foods are assigned points that you count every day. Is this plan a good option for you?

IF you’re panicking about getting in shape for summer, it’s time to chill out.

Because you don’t have to go to extreme lengths to lose weight, get leaner and be healthier all year around.

6 Want to get fit and slim? You don’t have to go to dramatic lengths – just eat like the Italians!Credit: Getty – Contributor

There are tonnes of diets out there but most of them simply want your money and feed off your insecurities.

That’s why the experts have rounded up the top five diets for 2019 – to help you pick the best weight loss plan for you.

And you know what? The carb-cutting keto diet doesn’t make the list.

Leading the pack is the Mediterranean diet, which is amazing for heart health – as well as for sustainable fat burning and gaining lean muscle.

According to scientists at Sheffield Hallam Uni, “at least in the short-term, the Mediterranean diet improves significantly the availability of nitric oxide in our veins and arteries – which is important to maintain the good health of our vascular system”.

Writing in The Conversation, the study’s author, Markos Klonizakis, said: “So as far as reducing cardiovascular disease risk, our work suggests that it is probably better to look for a solution in the Mediterranean diet”.

We reveal which other plans have been voted as best for fat loss, heart health and diabetes management on the US News & World report:

1. Mediterranean diet

6 The Mediterranean diet is the healthiest diet of allCredit: Getty – Contributor

For the second year in a row, this olive oil-rich diet has topped the list thanks to its heavy reliance on fresh veg, whole grains and healthy fats.

It’s low in refined sugar, red meat and processed foods which is why it’s been linked to lowering risks of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure.

It also may improve kidney function and gut health.

The NHS explains: “The Mediterranean diet varies by country and region, so it has a range of definitions.

“It usually includes a low intake of meat and dairy foods.”

It tends to replace butter with oil, while flavouring comes from herbs and spices rather than salt.

2. DASH diet

6 Reducing salt and fat can help to take down blood pressureCredit: Getty – Contributor

Not an eating plan designed for those of us in a hurry, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

It’s a plan specifically designed to help lower blood pressure.

It involves reducing your salt intake and loading up on foods that are chock-full of heart-friendly minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium.

Again, it involves you limiting how much red meat and sugar you consume, as well as fats.

3. Flexitarian diet

6 It’s not about cutting food groups out entirely, it’s about cutting downCredit: Alamy

Can’t bear the thought of quitting meat entirely?

You don’t have to -but you might want to limit how much you eat to once or twice a week.

Significantly reducing how much meat you eat has been proven to be effective in combating heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer.

In fact, flexitarians can reduce their likelihood of developing diabetes by a massive 28 per cent simply by reducing the number of times they eat meat (those who go vegan see their chance halve).

What about keto?

Keto is often hailed by bodybuilders and dieters for being the best way to lose body fat and gain or retain lean muscle mass.

But it actually didn’t win any categories and actually tied with Atkins (which most people accept is a dangerous plan) and Weight Watchers for fasted weight loss diet.

Keto works by forcing the body to use its own fat supply for energy.

It does that by starving it of external sugar sources – notably carbs. You’re still supposed to eat a stack-load of veg so you keep your fiber and vitamin levels up but many keto dieters may not be adhering to that.

The problem is that it’s a really restrictive diet and there’s been so much research recently which has confirmed that carbs are vital to good health, that it seems a bit counterintuitive and unsustainable to cut them out.

Saying that, keto is supposed to be great for anyone who is insulin-resistant and struggles to lose weight even if they’re eating healthily and working out regularly.

Women with severe PCOS may benefit from keto for a short period of time while they get their blood sugar back under control.

4. MIND diet

6 MIND encourages dieters to have a glass of wine a dayCredit: Getty – Contributor

MIND is short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, and it’s a plan which combines the Med and DASH diets in the hope of improving brain health.

While the jury is still out as to whether you can seriously eat your way out of mental decline, experts have praised the MIND diet for encouraging such healthy attitudes towards food and nutrition.

Everyday people on the plan are told that they must eat at least three servings of whole grains, a salad, another vegetable and a glass of wine.

Sounds easy enough!

5. WW (Weight Watchers)

6 Oprah famously shed weight with WWCredit: Getty – Contributor

WW – formerly known as Weight Watchers – actually was tied with MIND of the best diet overall.

But it did come first for the best diet for weight loss and best commercial diet.

It assigns point values to food based on their calorie, sugar, saturated fat and protein content.

The healthiest foods have zero points, meaning that you can eat as much of them as you like.

You’re given a daily point total which you meet by keeping a food diary.

U.S News 2019 Best Diets Ranking

Best Diets Overall
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. DASH Diet
3. Flexitarian Diet

Best Commercial Diets
1. WW (Weight Watchers)
2. Jenny Craig
3. Nutritarian Diet

Best Weight-Loss Diets
1. WW (Weight Watchers)
2. Volumetrics
3. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
3. Jenny Craig (tie)
3. Vegan Diet (tie)

Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets
1. HMR Diet
2. Atkins (tie)
2. Keto Diet (tie)
2. OPTAVIA (tie)
2. WW (Weight Watchers) (tie)

Best Diets For Healthy Eating
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. DASH Diet
3. Flexitarian Diet

Easiest Diets to Follow
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
2. WW (Weight Watchers) (tie)

Best Heart-Healthy Diets
1. Mediterranean Diet (tie)
1. Ornish Diet (tie)
3. DASH Diet

To see the full list of diets, click here

“Whether you’re trying to lose weight or manage your cholesterol, the 2019 Best Diets rankings provide each person a chance to evaluate what eating plan will work best for them and their particular needs,” said Angela Haupt, Assistant Managing Editor of Health at U.S. News.

“By profiling and providing in-depth data on more than 40 diets, as well as sample meals, consumers can rely on U.S. News for the tools they need to feel empowered to make well-informed lifestyle and wellness changes.”

As we say, there’s no one diet to suit every single person.

What will work for someone might not suit your particular goals or lifestyle.

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But if you are looking to get healthy, many of these diets seem to have common sentiments – cut down on the sugar and red meat, and fill up on whole grains and veg.

That’s easier said than done for many and if you do need extra support, you could do a lot worse than signing up to a local WW group.

After all, if it worked for Oprah…

Jacqueline Jossa reveals she’s lost a stone and a half since having baby Mia 12 weeks ago on a liquid diet

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online news team? Email us at [email protected] or call 0207 782 4368. You can WhatsApp us on 07810 791 502. We pay for videos too. to upload yours

The Best Weight Loss Program

How We Found the Best Weight Loss Program

First, we asked the experts: How do you determine a quality diet? Andrea N. Giancoli, Registered Dietitian and former spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, gave it to us straight:

“If you really want to lose weight and be healthy and good to your body, you have to pick something that you’re going to be able to do over the long term.”

The pitfall of most fad diets: carbohydrate cravings or just too few calories. You get hungry and feel like you’ve blown the diet, but the diet failed you.

Turning a diet into a lifestyle demands your dedication, for sure. But it also demands the diet be sustainable. The best plan flexes to allow for life, encourages holistic wellness (adding movement, not just curbing intake), and provides complete nutrition.

The most successful diet is the one you won’t quit.

We started with US News & World Report’s 2018 diet rankings. This annual survey involves a months-long study with a panel of respected doctors and nutritionists (several of whom we interviewed to dig deeper into their analysis.) They grade eating regimes of all ilk on a stringent set of criteria:

  • Be proven effective for weight loss
  • Be easy to follow
  • Be nutritionally complete
  • Help prevent common health concerns, like heart disease and diabetes
  • Be safe and pose no long-term health risks

We pulled the top 14 of the best commercial diets (marketed to the public for profit) and the top 12 of the best diets overall. We also threw five of the most popular diet apps into the mix. Since these are largely tracking devices that don’t espouse unique eating habits, they don’t appear to meet US News’ definition of diet, but are still potentially effective weight loss tools.

So, we cut diets that expect you to skip eating out.

Giancoli also recommends finding a diet that fits in with how you really live. She notes that if you enjoy going out to eat but try to commit to a diet that forbids you from ever going to a restaurant, you’re just going to cheat. “It’s not sustainable… You’re most likely going to have a healthier meal if you’re going to cook yourself, but you’re depriving yourself of that social interaction if you never go out.” To put it another way: Your eating practices shouldn’t isolate you or keep you from having fun.

Don’t underestimate the social and environmental aspects of eating. After all, nutrition experts agree those are the factors that things like getting your family involved, keeping your house stocked with healthy food, and feeling confident that you can eat well in any situation, help you eat well for life.

We dumped diets that prohibit eating out, then made sure our hand-picked apps offer nutritional information for restaurants.

What we cut

HMR Program

We also cut diets that don’t incorporate exercise.

Losing weight is all about monitoring and managing intake and expenditure of calories. Different diets talk about exercise in different ways, but our experts agree that physical activity is a critical component of wellness. If a weight loss program leaves it out, that’s a red flag.

“Diet and exercise are a marriage that should never divorce,” said Giancoli, noting that the benefits of exercise aren’t restricted to the sheer number of calories you burn during thirty minutes on a treadmill. (Need one of those, by the way? We have some favorites.) Instead, research shows that muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, proving that “muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.”

“We know a healthy lifestyle requires exercise. Consider food and exercise medicine, because they are.”

To hold our diet apps to equal standards, we cut Fooducate, which doesn’t offer exercise tracking alongside food tracking.

What we cut

Atkins Diet, Fooducate, Jenny Craig Diet, Nutritarian Diet, Medifast Diet, MIND Diet, Slim-Fast Diet, Whole30 Diet, Zone Diet

Finally, we cut diets that eliminate certain food groups.

The last key to diet sustainability, according to Giancoli, is understanding that all food groups have a place. Plenty of diets demonize certain items, but putting a kibosh on carbs, fats, fruits, or sugars alone actually thwarts long-term sustainability:

“Any food can fit in a healthy diet if you’re eating in a healthy way, based on whole foods, plants, and lean proteins.”

Additionally, a balanced diet provides a balanced supply of nutrients. Cutting carbs completely means you’re also cutting the fiber and B vitamins you’d get from sensible servings of whole-grain bread, oatmeal, and brown rice.

If your favorite foods fall into the list of forbidden fruit, you’re even more likely to fall off the wagon. Giancoli gives the example of diets that cut out coffee: “It’s ridiculous. There’s a lot of research that coffee is fine. Coffee’s been redeemed.” The Mayo Clinic goes even further, saying: “Caffeine may slightly boost weight loss or prevent weight gain.”

Eight programs and four apps remained. From here, we cut The Mediterranean, The Flexitarian, and The Volumetrics Diets because they are more general eating theories than centralized sources of diet information. Without an authority, it’s difficult to pin down their teachings or evaluate their efficacy.

We also cut “The Biggest Loser” diet

The Biggest Loser program has come under attack with recent revelations that its amazing, as-seen-on-TV results are both pharmaceutically assisted and likely to reverse. Living proof that the medical community’s understanding of weight loss is still evolving: The diet still stands in third place on US News’ & World Report’s list for Best Fast Weight Loss.
But the whole idea of fast weight loss may be the root of the problem. According to a Time expose on the subject: “When people are asked to envision their perfect size, many cite a dream weight loss up to three times as great as what a doctor might recommend.” An improbable and disheartening goal, and one that obscures the truth that losing small amounts of weight — even ten pounds — still has great health benefits.

We were left with 7 promising programs:

  • WW: Weight Watchers Reimagined
  • Nutrisystem
  • The Mayo Clinic Diet
  • Noom
  • Lose it!
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Spark System

With plans in hand, we registered, downloaded, ordered books and pre-packaged foods, and prepared to put these diets into practice.

We learned the diets, then lived each for a day.

To interact with these programs in a consistent and representative way, we created a profile of a 40-year-old woman with America’s average measurements. At 5’4” and 168 pounds, she’s in the overweight, but not obese, zone, and wants to drop down to 140 to hit a healthy BMI.

While we enlisted a dieting avatar, we had a real-life tester log her actual food intake and exercise, try out branded foods, and monitor fluctuations in motivation, weight, and perceived wellness.

Our first discovery was the similarities between programs. Virtually all diets recommend that you:

  • Exercise
  • Eat nutritious, low-calorie foods
  • Prepare healthy meals at home

WW: Weight Watchers Reimagined, The Mayo Clinic Diet, and especially Noom provide a lot of behavior-based support to integrate these good habits. These include learning portions, logging food, and both giving and receiving external support. Nutrisystem doesn’t ask for any behavior changes save for subsisting almost entirely off their pre-packaged, pre-portioned meals.

The remaining three — all basic food-tracking apps, are even more hands-off. MyFitnessPal, SparkPeople, and Lose it! don’t offer specific advice.

Still, whether food choices are prescribed or implied, the thrust of any diet is to eat smaller portions of less dense foods. Broth soups over cream soups. Grapes over raisins. Chicken breast over steak. The lingo varies; this essential teaching remains.

Our tester’s grocery cart on a WW: Weight Watchers Reimagined day included lean meats, vegetables, and packaged dark chocolate mint ice cream bars.

Motivation + education make or break a diet.

The best diet programs help you engage with the reasons you want to lose weight, and these are typically deeper than wanting to wear a certain size or go for a hike without turning cadmium red.

That a great diet is a lifestyle, not a short sprint toward a short-term goal, recalls the etymology of the word: Diet, from the Greek diaita, means “way of life.” Diets are successful when they help you break unhealthy patterns and become your new way of life.

While a diet’s recommendations are important, the lingo, the environment, and the packaging of a program can be even more impactful than the lesson.

We all know how to lose weight; it’s a matter of being consistently inspired to do it.

All seven of the systems we tested put their essential tools at your fingertips with dedicated apps, but the depth and quality range widely. With inspiration and long-term success in mind, we found the most important elements of useful apps are food logging, goal-setting, education, and community support.

Food logging may seem the most pedestrian, but keeping abreast of your daily calories (and taking the time to record every morsel you consume) brings a level of self-awareness to what can be a mindless or habit-driven act.

We loved to see clearly separate logs for every meal, autocomplete search bars, and barcode scanners. Overall speedy functionality went a long way to making a weight loss app something that we willingly used, rather than avoided (SparkPeople and Lose it! frequently stall.)

If your wellness routine remains the same day after day, chances are you’ll get bored and stop seeing results.

Research shows that the biggest detractor to weight loss is attrition. We appreciated apps that automatically set daily goals (WW: Weight Watchers Reimagined and Noom) or encouraged us to set them (MyFitnessPal). Racing to reach your target daily steps or earn points keeps you striving.

With multi-faceted support and exceptional usability, we were blown away by Noom and WW: Weight Watchers Reimagined. Their apps crack the code of food tracking, education, and community support. Our tester opened up both to connect, read tips, and find foods’ nutritional value even on “off” days.

While SparkPeople, Lose it!, and MyFitnessPal share some striking commonalities (to the extent that we were wondering if they were all operating off the same generic platform), MyFitnessPal provides better, more intuitive tools.

The Best Diets of 2019—and Why the Keto Diet Ranked So Low

Many Americans start off the new year with a resolution to eat healthier, lose weight, and get in shape. But with so many diets out there, it can be difficult to know which plans deliver real results.

That’s where U.S. News and World Report’s annual rankings come in handy. Every January, the organization ranks the best overall diets along with the best diets for specific goals or criteria. This year, the Mediterranean Diet continues its reign at the top of the rankings, followed by the DASH Diet and the Flexitarian Diet.

The 2019 rankings include 41 of today’s most popular diets. New to the list this year is the Nordic Diet, a plant-heavy eating plan that incorporates Scandinavian traditions and ranked 9th best overall. Here’s how the rest of the rankings shook out this year, and what experts have to say about the good, the bad, and the trendy. (Here’s a hint: They’re still not crazy about keto.)

RELATED: 7 Health Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

Best overall diets

For the last eight years, the DASH Diet (which stands for Dietary Approach to Stopping Hypertension) has been ranked the best overall diet by U.S. News. Last year it tied for first with the Mediterranean Diet, and this year it’s been bumped to No. 2 for the first time.

U.S. News’s panel of experts noted that the Mediterranean Diet earned this year’s top spot because research suggests it can help improve longevity and ward off chronic disease. The Mediterranean Diet was also ranked No. 1 in several other categories: Easiest Diet to Follow, Best Diet for Healthy Living, and Best Diet for Diabetes. It also tied with the Ornish Diet for Best Diet for Heart Health.

“The Mediterranean Diet has been studied extensively, so that’s a big part of it,” says panelist David Katz, MD, director of the Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center. But the diet—which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein—also gets top billing because it’s practical, he adds.

“This is a traditional diet of a large region of the world where people happily go to enjoy the food,” Dr. Katz tells Health. “This is very manageable; it’s not suffering, it’s not excluding things—it’s something that people and families really can do.”

The DASH Diet, now in second place, is also an excellent choice for health-conscious Americans, says Dr. Katz. Although it was designed to help lower blood pressure, the diet has also been shown to help people lower their cholesterol and lose weight, among other health benefits.

Coming in third this year is the Flexitarian Diet, which involves following a mostly vegetarian regimen and incorporating more non-meat proteins like beans, peas, and eggs. Weight Watchers—the highest ranked commercial diet—takes the fourth spot, tied with the MIND Diet, a Mediterranean-DASH hybrid plan that aims to stave off cognitive decline.

RELATED: How to Figure Out Exactly How Many Calories You Need to Lose Weight, According to a Nutritionist

New kid on the block: What is the Nordic Diet?

U.S. News’s expert panel decided to include the Nordic Diet (also known as the New Nordic Diet) in this year’s rankings after it received considerable attention in the last year. There’s no one official Nordic Diet, but the 2017 book The Nordic Way is a good example of the diet’s basic guidelines.

Essentially, the Nordic Diet is based on 10 core concepts: eating more fruits and vegetables every day; eating more whole grains; eating more seafood; choosing high-quality meat, but less meat overall; seeking out food from wild landscapes; using organic produce whenever possible; avoiding food additives; basing more meals on seasonal produce; consuming more home-cooked food; and producing less waste.

In other words, the Nordic Diet focuses on locally sourced ingredients, avoids processed foods, and embraces “a return to relaxed meals with friends and family,” according to U.S. News’s description. These are similarities it shares with the Mediterranean Diet, Dr. Katz points out.

“In all of these places around the world where people derive the greatest benefit from their diets, people aren’t waiting around for anyone to tell them what to eat on January 1,” he says. “Even though we have new diets to evaluate every year, the ones that rank the highest are generally the oldest, most traditional ones.”

RELATED: 4 Healthy Eating Resolutions That Aren’t Focused on Weight Loss

Where does the ketogenic diet rank?

One of the buzziest trends in the weight-loss world has been the ketogenic diet, a low-carb, high-fat regimen that promises fast results. People on the “keto” diet cut back on bread and sugar so that their body enters ketosis, a state in which it burns fat rather than carbohydrates.

But health experts are wary about the keto diet, and U.S. News’s rankings reflect that skepticism. For the second year, keto is at the bottom of the best diet rankings (tied with the Whole30 Diet at No. 38 out of 41), with an overall score of just 2.1 out of 5 and a “healthy” score of just 1.8 out of 5.

“We have basically no evidence that this diet is consistent with human health over time,” says Dr. Katz. (Its heavy emphasis on animal protein isn’t ecologically sustainable, either, he adds.) “All of the evidence we have points toward a plant-predominant diet with an emphasis on vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nuts, and seeds—all of the very things that the ketogenic diet avoids.”

The keto diet did jump considerably in one specific category, however: This year it tied with several other diets for No. 2 in Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets (after the HMR Diet, a commercial plan that replaces most meals with pre-packaged nutrition bars and shakes), up from No. 13 last year. “Yes, you can do this for quick weight loss,” says Dr. Katz, “but I wouldn’t recommend it.”

RELATED: 7 Dangers of Going Keto

How the rankings are calculated

U.S. News’s Best Diets rankings are put together by a panel of nutritionists, dietary consultants, and doctors specializing in diabetes, heart health, and weight loss. Each member of the panel scored all 41 diets in seven different areas, including how easy they are to follow, how well they protect against chronic disease, and how likely it is that followers will actually lose weight and keep it off.

The rankings rely heavily on peer-reviewed clinical trials, a practice that provides both strengths and weaknesses, says Dr. Katz. On one hand, it’s good to have evidence-based data, he says—but it also means that lesser-known, non-commercialized diets may not get the attention they deserve.

For example, Weight Watchers has consistently ranked toward the top of the U.S. News list. “That may be well deserved,” says Dr. Katz, “but they have also been around longer and have more money to afford more studies, which gives them an advantage.”

Despite their limitations, these rankings are important, says Dr. Katz—especially because more than 45 million Americans embark on diets every year, and many of them are overwhelmed by constantly changing messages in the media.

“There is a range of diets here, which should be an invitation for people to go shopping among these diets, which are approved by experts, and find one that works well for themselves and their families,” he says. “The idea that there are so many variations on healthy eating is a really good thing.”

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If getting healthy is one of your top New Year’s resolutions, it may be time to rethink your eating habits. While fad diets will come and go, there are some tried-and true healthy eating plans that can help get you on the right track.

U.S. News & World Report, in collaboration with a panel of health experts, evaluated and ranked 41 diets. To be top-rated, a diet had to “be safe, relatively easy to follow, nutritious and effective for weight loss.” It also had to be proven to help prevent heart disease and diabetes.

  • Diet trends for 2019: What to try, what to skip

Here’s a closer look at the highest-ranking diets overall.

The Mediterranean diet got the top ranking in U.S. News’ list. The heart-healthy diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains, along with healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocados.

Research has shown the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and may have numerous other health benefits, including reduction of LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol, as well as a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and cancer. In fact, one recent study published in British Journal of Nutrition found adhering to the Mediterranean diet was associated with a 25 percent lower chance of death from any cause.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was designed to help manage blood pressure, but experts say it has many overall health benefits, helping it nab the number 2 spot on the best overall diets list.

The diet emphasizes healthy food sources, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, skinless poultry and fish, and nuts and legumes. It also limits red meat, salt, and sweets.

In addition to lowering blood pressure, research suggests the DASH diet may help reduce the risk of diabetes and may also help fight depression.

3. Flexitarian diet

Flexitarian is a marriage of the words “flexible” and “vegetarian.” The term was coined by registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner in her book “The Flexitarian Diet: The Mostly Vegetarian Way to Lose Weight, Be Healthier, Prevent Disease and Add Years to Your Life.” U.S. News ranked it high on the list for being nutritionally complete, easy to follow, and providing long-term weight loss as well as heart health benefits.

In the book, Blatner says you don’t have to cut out meat entirely to reap the health benefits of a vegetarian diet. Eating a diet that’s mostly vegetarian while also allowing for an occasional burger or steak to satisfy a craving can help with weight management and improve overall health, Blatner says.

4 (tie). MIND diet

The MIND Diet combines many elements of two other popular nutrition plans which have been proven to benefit heart health: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet. (MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.)

Designed by researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the aptly named MIND diet was developed specifically for brain health. In fact, one study found the diet may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent. Even those who didn’t stick to the diet perfectly but followed it “moderately well” reduced their risk of Alzheimer’s by about a third, the researchers found.

The MIND diet: 10 foods that fight Alzheimer’s (and 5 to avoid)

The eating plan features a wide variety of options, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, poultry, and fish.

4 (tie). WW (Weight Watchers) diet

The Weight Watchers diet tied for fourth place with the MIND diet. Although designed to help people lose weight, experts say its focus on healthier living makes it a smart overall diet to follow.

The WW Freestyle program was launched in 2017 and builds off the company’s signature SmartPoints system, which assigns every food and beverage a point value, based on its nutrition. The new program expands dietary options. The plan also involves in-person meetings or online chats designed to support those in the program and keep them accountable.

Low-ranking diets

A number of popular diets, including the keto diet, Dukan diet, and the Whole30 diet received some of the lowest rankings on U.S. News’ list.

Lack of scientific evidence for health benefits and severe restriction of foods – including certain healthy foods – were listed as reasons for low scores.

Diet trends: Pros and cons of keto, pegan, fasting and more

The Most Effective Weight Loss Diet: And the winner is….

A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet is the most effective diet for promoting weight loss and reducing hunger, at least in the short term, according to scientists at Aberdeen’s Rowett Research Institute.

Researchers gave healthy but obese men one of two “high protein” diets. Protein was kept to 30% of total calories in both diets, but the amount of carbohydrate and fat was varied. In the first diet—which they called “low carbohydrate”—the carbohydrate content was kept to a very low 4%, with the rest of the calories coming from fat. In the second diet—which they called “moderate carbohydrate”—the carbohydrate content was kept to 35%, with the rest coming from fat.

Each subject spent four weeks on each of the two diets, and was weighed daily. The subjects were allowed to eat all they wanted, as long as the proportions of carbohydrate, fat and protein were kept constant according to the experimental design. The subjects were asked about their hunger and appetite on a daily basis.

Not surprisingly, those eating the very low carbohydrate version of the diet went into ketosis. They also reported the least amount of hunger. Not surprisingly, given their reports of less hunger and cravings, they also spontaneously ate less food and lost more weight.

The modern-day Atkins program no longer emphasizes ketosis as necessary for weight loss, but it does appear that for some people it’s a very effective way to lose weight and control appetite. But with or without ketosis, the modern-day Atkins Nutritional Approach™ continues to be shown to be effective at keeping weight under control while supporting good health. Remember, even in the “moderate carbohydrate” diet used in the research, carbohydrates were only 35% of calories, protein was 30% and fat made up the rest. With a diet of adequate protein, good fat, high-fiber vegetables, low-glycemic fruit and a little whole grain in lifetime maintenance, you can’t go wrong!

1. Juice Cleanse

Rules: No solids. Some programs entail drinking six or so ready-to-drink fruit and vegetable juices throughout the day. There are lots of DIY iterations: Victoria’s Secret angel Adriana Lima has said she sticks to an all-liquid diet before fashion shows. For nine days prior, she drinks protein shakes made from powdered egg and one gallon of water per day.

Rationale: Because this super low-calorie, produce-based diet prohibits all the solid foods you’re used to eating, it helps you eat fewer calories without having to navigate tons of complicated rules. This creates a calorie deficit that promotes weight loss.

Reality: “It might sound cool to lose 10 pounds in three days, but weight you lose on a juice cleanse tends to be water weight from your muscles, not fat,” Dr. Seltzer explains. “Afterward, your body won’t look much different in the mirror, and you’ll gain it all back from just looking at a bagel,” he adds.

Crazy Scale: 11/10

2. The Charcoal Cleanse

Rules: You drink juice containing activated charcoal to your regular diet.
Rationale: Your body can’t absorb activated charcoal, so it passes through your digestive system untouched. Because it clings to toxins in the body, it removes impurities like pesticides and any unhealthy stuff found in non-organic or processed foods. Advocates say it improves the skin, boosts digestion, and enhances organ functioning.

Reality: “You think you’re taking toxins out of your body, but charcoal doesn’t pass through your whole body — just through your intestines, where it can bind to nutrients and suck those out,” Seltzer explains. “Our bodies are pretty good at processing toxins, and your chances of dying from toxins in food are lower than your risk of dying from being obese. If you want to decrease toxins in your body, don’t eat them in the first place by avoiding processed foods,” he adds.
Crazy Scale: 12/10

3. Macrobiotic Diet

Rules: Designed to promote optimal health, you eat a vegan, whole-grain-based diet plus some beans and vegetables. Some versions allow fruits, fish, seeds, and nuts (but only once or twice a week) and strong spices are discouraged. So no animal products (including dairy or eggs) or processed foods.
Rationale: Brown rice and other whole grains contain the perfect balance of yin (stimulating) and yang (stagnating), so a diet largely based on these foods is supposed to promote wellbeing and longevity.
Reality: It’s not sustainable and can cause some nutritional deficiencies. “Most people can’t do it,” Dr. Seltzer says. “The stress associated with trying to follow a diet like this can offset the benefits. We’re omnivores and supposed to eat meat,” he adds.
Crazy Scale: 6/10

4. The Baby Food Diet

Rules: Designed to promote weight loss, this diet entails eating upward of 16 jars of baby food per day instead of regular meals and snacks. You can eat one regular meal every day.
Rationale: It creates a calorie deficit that promotes weight loss, rids the body of toxins, and helps you breaks bad habits, according to Tracey Anderson, who’s been credited with creating the program.
Reality: While baby food is minimally processed (pro!), “it’s a gimmick. If you look at people who have healthy bodies, no one will tell you they eat a baby food diet. It’s infinitely ridiculous.”
Crazy Scale: Infinity/10

5. The Vision Diet

Rules: You eat everything while wearing blue-tinted glasses.
Rationale: Based on the idea that red/yellow-colored foods are the most palatable (think: meat, French fries, ripe produce, etc.), this diet is designed to make your food look less appetizing. In theory, this makes you eat less.
Reality: “It doesn’t sound right to me,” Dr. Seltzer says. “But if it makes people leaner, there’s no downside.” Except being seen in blue shades at brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Crazy Scale: 10/10

6. The Shangri-La Diet

Rules: You drink extra-light olive oil or flavorless sugar water between meals.
Rationale: Eating a variety of flavorful foods stimulates hunger and makes you gain weight. If you consume bland foods, you fend off hunger without inducing food cravings, so you end up eating less and losing weight.
Reality: “Not a bad idea,” Dr. Seltzer says. “For some people, exposure to a greater variety of food stimulates the appetite. For others, though, eating the same thing every day makes you bored and crave more foods. Success would probably depend on the person. I wouldn’t be offended if you tried eating bland foods at meals. But I’d use whey protein instead of olive oil between meals, because it will satisfy your appetite with fewer calories.”
Crazy Scale: 3/10

7. The Clip-Your-Nose-While-You-Eat Diet

Rules: Cover your nose so you can’t smell while you eat.
Rationale: It blunts your sense of taste, which helps you focus on your actual appetite and stop eating when you’re full.
Reality: “Smell does drive appetite and food intake, but you’re going to go out to dinner and cover your nose? No normal person will do that in the long run,” Dr. Seltzer says.
Crazy Scale: 7/10

8. The Eight-Hour Diet

Rules: You only eat during a daily eight-hour window (i.e., between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. or 11 a.m. and 7 p.m.)
Rationale: Intermittent fasting appears to moderate the circadian rhythm and ultimately boost metabolism to fend off weight gain, according to human and animal studies. Also, reducing the amount of time you spend eating can help you save up calories so you don’t have to deprive yourself when you do get to indulge.
Reality: “There’s no evidencethat eating breakfast or eating every three hours improves your metabolism, so for people who don’t get hungry in the morning, this variation on fasting is actually maintainable,” Dr. Seltzer says. “Just don’t try it if it makes you hungry — that’s not a good way to live and it’s not maintainable for you.”
Crazy Scale: 1/10

9. Dessert With Breakfast Diet

Rules: Every morning, you eat a breakfast that’s high in protein (i.e., about 45 grams, depending on your weight) and high in carbs (i.e., 60 grams) plus dessert, such as chocolate, a doughnut, a cookie, or cake.
Rationale: Extra protein and carbs fend off hunger, and eating treats in the morning can curb your sweet tooth later on.
Reality: “This is based on research, and it’s solid,” Dr. Seltzer says.
Crazy Scale: 1/10

10. The Ice Cream Cleanse

Rules: You eat five pints of special ice cream a day. (The brand-name version costs $199 for three days. Unlike Ben and Jerry’s, this diet ice cream is made from coconut cream and honey.)
Rationale: It controls your calories for a deficit that produces weight loss. And you get to eat ice cream all day. (Don’t ask questions.)
Reality: “Any calorie deficit will create weight loss — but it can also cause a nutritional deficiency. Still: What do you do when you go out to dinner? You can’t eat ice cream for the rest of your life. People are too concerned with getting weight off and not what happens after it comes off,” Dr. Seltzer says.
Crazy Scale: 10/10

11. The Ice Diet

Rules: Eat a liter of ice every day to lose weight. (You let it melt in your mouth instead of chewing it.)
Rationale: Melting ice is hard work that burns calories.
Reality: “Mild dehydration blunts fat burning and stimulates hunger, and this would keep you hydrated,” Dr. Seltzer says. “But I don’t believe the calorie-burning effects from ice would be significant.”
Crazy Scale: 8/10. “It’s a good idea to drink more fluids, and anything that decreases your appetite is a good idea. But a liter of ice every day? Come on,” Dr. Seltzer says.

12. Gluten-Free Diet (for Weight Loss)

Rules: No gluten-containing foods, which includes anything made with wheat, barley, or rye (such as breads, most baked goods, and many snack foods).
Rationale: When you avoid gluten, there is less you can eat overall, so you end up consuming fewer calories by default. Some experts say wheat contains an appetite-stimulating compound that encourages your body to produce insulin, which can cause you to store fat.
Reality: “Wheat does promote fat storage, but only when you eat too much of it,” Dr. Seltzer explains. “But the problem is that many people who avoid gluten to lose weight end up adding gluten-free processed foods to their diets, which are full of sugar and can have twice as many calories as whatever you were eating before.”
Crazy Scale: 10/10

13. Raw Food Diet

Rules: You can only eat uncooked plant-based foods.
Rationale: Foods lose their enzymes and become less nutritious when you cook them. Most raw, edible foods are low in calories and high in water and fiber, so you can fill up for relatively few calories and ultimately lose weight, according to clinical studies.
Reality: “This is very difficult to follow from lifestyle standpoint,” Dr. Seltzer says. “You have to dedicate your life to do it. But there are more effective ways to lose fat and be healthy than avoiding everything processed. If you’re looking at apple and Cheetos, eat the apple — unless you want the Cheetos, in which case, eat the Cheetos, because if you start with the apple, you’ll probably eat those Cheetos anyway.”
Crazy Scale: 5/10

14. Master Cleanse

Rules: You drink salt water each morning; a lime or lemon, maple syrup, cayenne pepper, and water concoction throughout the day; and laxative tea at night.
Rationale: It’s an extreme low-calorie diet with ingredients (cayenne) known to speed up metabolism.
Reality: “I’d rather you eat at McDonald’s every day than do this,” Dr. Seltzer says. “Force-feeding yourself a horrible-tasting cleanse isn’t going to work in the long term, which will discourage you and separate you from the reality of what you need to do to lose weight and keep it off.”
Crazy Scale: Infinity/10. “Don’t do it,” he says.

15. The Cookie Diet

Rules: You eat six to nine special 80- to 90-calorie cookies per day. (Brand namevarieties contain ingredients like beef protein hydrolysate and wheat bran.)
Rationale: The cookies provide you with essential nutrients, but control your overall intake to create a calorie deficit and subsequent weight loss.
Reality: “Anything that restricts calorie intake will cause weight loss in the short term,” Dr. Seltzer says, “but anyone who thinks they are going to lose weight and keep it off by eating nine cookies a day for the rest of their lives is avoiding real problems.” That’s because when you drastically reduce your calorie intake, your metabolism slows down. When you go back to eating normal foods, you gain the weight right back.
Crazy Scale: 12/10

16. The Prayer Diet

Rules: You pray every day that you’ll lose weight.
Rationale: God helps those who can’t help themselves.
Reality: “If praying subconsciously enables you to eat less food or make healthier choices, do it,” Dr. Seltzer says. “You’re not going to do any physical or metabolic damage by praying.”
Crazy Scale: 5/10 (“If you’re not making any effort to make healthier choices,” Dr. Seltzer says.)

17. The “What Would Jesus Eat?” Diet (aka The Maker’s Diet or The Bible Diet)

Rules: This 40-day, multi-phase diet permits organic fruits, veggies, grains, fish with fins and scales, and meat and poultry. It prohibits pork products, processed foods, pastas and breads, and grains. In terms of timing, you eat breakfast 12 hours after a light, early dinner.
Rationale: Proponents say that humans are only designed to eat foods created by God, and that reverting back to a diet full of unadulterated foods improves your overall functioning, heightens concentration, enhances your mood, heals pain and inflammation, reduces the risk of cancer, and slows aging (although there’s not much in the way of clinical data to back that up).
Reality: “If you can do it and like it and stick with it, then it’s the best nutrition plan you have out there. Everyone should follow an all-organic nutritional plan, but practically, that’s very hard,” says Dr. Seltzer.
Crazy Scale: 1/10 for effectiveness, 5/10 for practicality

18. The Beverly Hills Diet

Rules: You start your day with one kind of fruit and eat as much of it as you want. Then, you can wait one hour and switch to eating another kind of fruit in unlimited quantities, or wait two hours and progress to other food groups. Then you can combine protein and fat or carbs and fat, but no carbs and protein together. You can’t mix fruit with any other foods, and you can’t eat any artificial foods. On the plus side: You don’t count any calories and you can drink champagne with anything!
Rationale: Because the body stores unburned calories as fat, inefficient digestion is responsible for weight gain, according to some sources. Combining some foods and separating others helps your body fully digest your food. And complicated rules will ultimately make it difficult to mindlessly eat.
Reality: “There’s no research that food combining does anything,” Dr. Seltzer says. What experts do know: “Ounce-for-ounce, alcohol has more calories than protein or carbohydrates, and it’s the only thing that simultaneously provides calories and stokes your appetite,” Dr. Seltzer says.
Crazy Scale: 10/10

19. Cabbage Soup Diet

Rules: On this seven-day weight-loss diet, you can eat as much low-calorie cabbage-based soup as you want, plus small amounts of one or two other foods (like fruit or leafy greens in the beginning of the week, or beef and brown rice toward the end of the week).
Rationale: You get the nutrients you need from the veggies in the soup, and the sheer volume of it keeps you full. You get sick of the soup and limited options really quickly, so you end up eating less overall.
Reality: “You may lose weight from eating very few carbs, but you won’t address any of your bad habits,” Dr. Seltzer says. So when you return to your old diet, you’ll miss all the foods you couldn’t eat during your cabbage soup cleanse and end up eating larger quantities.
Crazy Scale: 10/10

20. Cotton Ball/Tissue Paper Diet

Rules: You eat up to five cotton balls (or the equivalent amount of tissue paper) dipped in orange juice, lemonade, or a smoothie in one sitting.
Rationale: You fill your stomach without eating enough calories to gain weight.
Reality: “That sounds insane to me,” Dr. Seltzer says. “I’m not a gastroenterologist, but I can’t imagine that’s good for the stomach or intestines.”
Crazy Scale: 70/10

21. Fist Diet

Rules: At every meal, you fill your plate with the equivalent of one fistful of protein, one fistful of carbs, two fistfuls of vegetables, and three fingers worth of fat.
Rationale: It helps you eyeball food servings and eat a balanced, portion-controlled diet without counting calories.
Reality: “It’s a practical, less complicated approach to food, and a good way to eat,” Dr. Selzter says.
Crazy Scale: 1/10. “It sounds good for anyone who doesn’t like to track food. Try it!” Dr. Selzter says.

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Elizabeth Narins Senior fitness and health editor Elizabeth Narins is a Brooklyn, NY-based writer and a former senior editor at Cosmopolitan.com, where she wrote about fitness, health, and more.

FOR many people, belly fat is the hardest stuff to shift.

Our guts are where we store stress, hormones, insulin resistance – making it probably the toughest place to tone and lose weight.

2 For many of us, our bellies are our most troublesome area when it comes to weight loss – but we can change thatCredit: Getty – Contributor

According to MYA, one in three of us say that our stomachs are the part of our body we feel the most uncomfortable about, with 27 per cent of men and 35 per cent of women saying that it’s their problem area.

It’s not just a vanity issue, either.

Carrying lots of excess belly fat can actually be dangerous because it increases your risk of type 2 diabetes.

If you do notice that you’re carrying more weight around your middle, the first thing worth looking at is how much sugar you’re consuming.

Zana Morris, author of The High Fat Diet: How to lose 10lb in 14 days, told us that belly fat is largely caused by sugar.

“Sugar causes the release of insulin, which in turn encourages the body to store fat particularly around the middle,” she told The Sun.

“Cutting sugar and foods that break down quickly into sugars (e.g. fruit/bread/pasta/wine), will reduce and stabilise levels of insulin as well as help your body to look to fat for fuel.”

But going keto doesn’t suit everyone – and not everyone loves doing HIIT (although you definitely do need to be doing exercise both for health and toning).

So, what food swaps can we make that don’t require ditching carbs completely?

1. Fruit juice for fresh fruit

There’s nothing like a glass of freshly squeezed OJ in the morning.

But how often do you have juice that you’ve made yourself, rather than stuff from a bottle?

Fruit comes with heaps of health benefits but by juicing it, you’re stripping out the fibre and just leaving sugar behind. And if you buy juice, you’re almost guaranteed to be drinking added sugar.

In fact, a glass of apple juice can contain as much sugar as a can of fizzy pop – even if they’re different types of sugar.

Dr Sarah Brewer previously told The Sun: “Some people believe that juices are the best way to consume vitamin C, however, juicing a fruit, strips it of its fibre content.

“Eating the whole fruit will ensure you get the nutrients as well as the fibre which has been linked to helping maintain a healthy gut microbiome.”

For a really healthy, filling snack, why not have an apple dipped in protein-rich nut butter?

Or make a fruit salad of orange and grapefruit at home and take it with you as a mid-morning palette cleanser.

2. Ice cream for Greek yoghurt

2 Make your own frozen yoghurt instead of buying up sugar-laden ice creamCredit: Oliver Dixon – The Sun

Nutritionist Lily Soutter told us that you don’t have to ditch sugar completely to reduce your muffin top – you just have to be mindful of free sugars.

“We don’t usually crave bags of white sugar. What we crave is a combination of fat and sugar, which comes with the hyper-palatable qualities we’re searching for,” said Lily.

“If you’re looking for healthier sugar alternatives, focus on healthy options such as Greek yoghurt with grated apple and a pinch of cinnamon.”

Why not swap your regular tub of Ben & Jerrys for a bowl of frozen yog mixed with cinnamon and berries?

Yoghurt is also protein-rich, and a 2014 study found that eating high-protein yoghurt can help to keep hunger at bay for longer.

3. Crisps for nuts

Crisps are obviously heavenly and a little of what you fancy is fine. But if you can’t say no to eating a whole family bag, then it’s probably best to just stop buying them.

They’re often packed with salt – which can increase the risk of bloating – and they contain high levels of saturated fats.

Nuts, on the other hand, are full of protein and good fats and keep you fuller for longer.

One study found that people who included nuts in their diet for 12 weeks improved the quality of their diet without putting on any extra weight.

Another study looked at the diets of 8,865 men and women over 28 months.

It found that those who ate two or more portions of nuts a week had a 31 per cent lower risk of weight gain, compared to those who never or rarely ate them.

They are pretty high in calories, however, so just be mindful about how many you eat at one go.

4. Processed meats for oily fish

We all know bacon and burgers are bad for our waistlines and our health, if we eat too many.

But processed meats can also be inflammatory.

Inflammation in the body can cause all kinds of havoc – one of them being that they cause you to layer on fat around the gut.

Trans fats, in particular, can cause inflammation. They’re found in many foods, including fast food and baked goods.

Go instead for oily fish like salmon which contain high levels of heart-healthy omega 3s.

5. Swap granola for eggs

Back in 2017, a study by the New York Times found that nutritionists and the American public couldn’t agree on whether granola and cereal bars were healthy or not.

Around 70 per cent of Americans thought that granola bars were healthy compared to just 30 per cent of experts.

As for granola itself, less than half of the nutritionists surveyed thought it was healthy.

While it can be nutritious, many granolas contain lots of sugars and not much fat or protein – meaning that you could sink a big bowl of the stuff at 8am and be pining for a snack a few hours later thanks to a dip in blood sugar.

Nutrition consultant Ian Marber told us: “A very high-carb breakfast with little fibre and protein to slow the digestive process can lead to short-term energy as well as hunger, often within a couple of hours.”

He recommended having an egg with avocado and a small piece of toast for the perfect breakfast.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein and can help to keep us feeling satisfied – with studies confirming them as great appetite-regulators.

Eat Well For Less shows amount of sugar in your favourite yogurts… with one having the same amount of saturated fat as SEVEN burgers

6. Lattes for green tea

Not everyone is lactose intolerant but many people do have a hard time digesting dairy.

Undigested lactose isn’t great for the gut and that can lead to an imbalance of gut bacteria which in turn, results in belly fat.

Green tea, on the other hand, is packed with antioxidants.

And some claim that green tea can help with weight loss.

A 2012 paper review found that supping the stuff could lead to small but consistent weight loss in overweight adults.

7. Booze for kombucha

If you want to shed belly fat, then it’s time to stop reaching for that post-work glass of vino.

Just two glasses of wine an evening can clock up an extra 72,000 calories over the course of a year – which translates as 20lbs of fat.

Empty calories like the ones in booze are really easy to store because our bodies have no nutrition to use.

So what you drink goes straight onto your belly if you’re a guy, or hips, thighs and arms if you’re a woman.

While you don’t have to go totally teetotal, why not try to swap out your weekly drinks for something healthier?

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Kombucha is a gut-loving fermented tea, which is both sparkling and refreshing.

Full of lots of good bacteria, it’ll be a lot better for your belly.

Try Equinox Kombucha, £1.80 from Waitrose

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The No. 1 ‘best’ diet for 2020, according to a panel of 25 health professionals

The experts have spoken — and eaten.

U.S. News and World Report this week released its annual ranking from 1 to 35 of the world’s best (and, yes, worst) diets for 2020. A team of 25 panelists of “nationally recognized” professionals in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease named the Mediterranean diet as the No. 1 diet for 2020 based on seven criteria: short-term weight loss, long-term weight loss, effectiveness for cardiovascular disease prevention, effectiveness for preventing diabetes, ease of compliance, nutritional completeness and health risks.

‘It’s generally accepted that the folks in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments.’

The Mediterranean diet focuses on olive oil rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein like fish and chicken, with the occasional piece of red meat.

“It’s generally accepted that the folks in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments,” U.S. News and World Report said. “The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control, and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods.”

The Mediterranean diet may also help with heart and brain health and cancer prevention, the report added. “By following the Mediterranean Diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic disease. There isn’t ‘a’ Mediterranean diet. Greeks eat differently from Italians, who eat differently from the French and Spanish. But they share many of the same principles.”

The diet also emphasizes beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices, as well as cheese and yogurt in moderation and a glass of red wine in moderation.

Don’t miss: This is the most deadly time in your life to put on weight

It narrowly beat out the Dash diet, which recommends fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products, while reducing salt, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. It is very similar to the Mediterranean diet, but recommends cutting out two more things: full cream (in favor of low-fat dairy products) and alcoholic beverages. Dietitians also advise against snacking and takeouts, and 2.5 hours of “moderate-intensity” exercise per week such was walking, Jazzercise, gardening or Pilates.

The Mediterranean diet focuses on olive oil rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, chicken, beans, nuts, legumes, and occasional red meat and glass of wine.

Last on the ranking, according to U.S. News and World Report: the Dukan diet, which focuses on protein instead of calorie counting. “It’s a weight-loss powerhouse — it’s filling, takes time and work to digest, and has very few calories for each gram of food compared to carb-heavy foods.” Limiting carbohydrates forces the body to burn stored fat.

“By following the Dukan Diet, it’s claimed you can lose up to 10 pounds within the first week and continue to lose 2 to 4 pounds a week after that until you’ve reached your goal,” the report said. People on the Dukan diet lost, on average, more than 15 pounds after the diet’s two action-based phases — “attack” (pure protein) and “cruise” (vegetables on selected days) — according to a 2010 online survey.

But the experts also listed downsides: “Prepare for lots of rules. All four phases of the Dukan Diet — named after French physician Pierre Dukan — are heavy on do’s and don’ts, and even the slightest slip-up is considered destructive.” The U.S. News & World Report also said this diet “could fall short nutritionally.”

Dukan was not immediately available for comment.

Quentin Fottrell

Quentin Fottrell is MarketWatch’s personal-finance editor and The Moneyist columnist for MarketWatch. You can follow him on Twitter @quantanamo.

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The Top 5 Diets to Try in 2018, According to Experts

It’s a new year, which means that many people are pledging to slim down or eat healthier in 2018. Now, new annual rankings from U.S. News & World Report reveal that the best diets for 2018 is a tie, with the Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet in first place.

U.S. News enlisted the help of a panel of food and health experts to rank 40 diets on a variety of measures, like how easy it is to follow, the diet’s ability to help a person lose weight in the short and long term, safety and more. The company then converted the expert’s rankings into scores that allowed them to determine the top diets. Beyond best overall diet, the experts also ranked the best diets for weight loss, healthy eating and more.

The lowest ranking diets were the Keto Diet and the Dukan Diet, which tied for last place. People who follow the Keto Diet slash carbs and fill up on fats in order to help the body enter of state of “ketosis,” where the body breaks down fat. The Dukan Diet is a rule-heavy plan that goes in stages, including a phase of eating a lot of protein. The experts rated both diets as hard to follow

Here’s what U.S. News calls the best diet plans for 2018:

#1: DASH Diet

The DASH diet was designed to help people lower their high blood pressure, and it’s characterized by a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. People on this diet are told to avoid saturated fat, sugary beverages, sweets, full-fat dairy and some oils—and to eat less salt overall.

#1: Mediterranean Diet

The diet gets its name from the eating habits of people living in Mediterranean countries and has been linked to better health and longevity. The Mediterranean Diet meal plan is high in fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fatty foods like fish, nuts and olive oil.

#3 Flexitarian Diet

A blend of the words flexible and vegetarian, the Flexitarian diet encourages people to eat vegetarian most of the time for better health, but doesn’t call for cutting out meat entirely.

#4 Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers is an especially popular diet, promoted by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. It works on a points system, where each food is given a number of points, and people are told a total number to aim for each day. Foods that are high in nutrients and are filling have fewer points overall. Sweets, on the other hand, are high in points.

#5 MIND Diet

The MIND—a mix of DASH and the Mediterranean diet—is supposed to help protect the brain and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, though much more research is needed to determine whether it really helps curb brain decline. People are encouraged to eat from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. They are also told to avoid foods from five food groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, sweets and fried or fast food.

#5 TLC Diet

Tied for fifth place, the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet is meant to help people cut down on high cholesterol. Adherents cut down on fat overall, especially saturated fat. They are also encouraged to eat more fiber.

#5 Volumetrics

People who follow the volumetrics diet—also tied for fifth place—are told to pay attention to the energy density in foods, which is the number of calories in a certain amount of food. Foods that have high energy density will have lots of calories for a little amount of food, whereas low energy density foods have fewer calories for more food.

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Design De-Best Diet For You

Whole grains and beans are chock-full of the type of fiber that feeds the good, essential bacteria in your gut – often in quantities greater than the fiber found in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Whole grains and beans also contain different types of phytonutrients (powerful health-promoting plant-based chemicals) than fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. The more phytonutrients you can get from whole foods, the bigger the benefit to your body. Fat, meat, fish and poultry, which are big players in these diet plans, don’t have fiber or phytonutrients. And with little to no dairy foods in the mix, key nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin D may be missing, too.

Transition to a winning mix.

The Mediterranean Diet consistently wins as one of the healthiest eating plans around and one of the most enjoyable to follow.

The majority of this plate is filled with fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, herbs, whole grains and/or beans. Fish is on the menu at least twice a week; red meat, less so. Extra virgin olive oil is much preferred to saturated fats such as coconut oil and butter. Added sugars and highly processed meats, grains, oils, etc., are discouraged. Part and parcel to the Mediterranean way of eating is to slow down, enjoy and savor the good wholesome nature of food. It’s about the food and the lifestyle.

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