For the fifth consecutive year, the Mediterranean diet has topped the rankings to once again become the best diet for 2022 — with a score of 4.8 out of 5 — as per US News and World Report.
The diet, which focuses on consuming traditional foods of the Mediterranean region, became the top contender owing to its easy to follow, evidence-based, and nutritionally balanced considerations. Forty diets, based on inputs from a panel of diet, nutrition and health experts were considered for the annual rankings.
The Mediterranean diet stresses on the consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and has been considered one of the most healthy diets to prevent lifestyle conditions including heart ailments, and also promote longevity.
— U.S. News Health (@USNewsHealth) January 4, 2022
It was closely followed by the DASH diet or dietary approaches to stop hypertension that stresses on reducing salt intake, and the Flexitarian diet which encourages being a vegetarian most of the time.
The flexitarian diet was also named the best diet for weight loss. By eating more plants and less meat, it’s suggested that people who follow the diet can not only lose weight but can also improve their overall health, lowering their rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, and live longer as a result, a note on the website read.
As per the website, short-term and long-term weight loss were combined, with long-term ratings getting twice the weight to rank the best overall diet. Why? Quick results are important after the holidays or when summer looms, but a diet’s true test is whether it can be sustained for years. That’s especially the case for those who are overweight or have obesity; losing as little as five per cent of body weight can dramatically reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. And safety was double-counted, because no diet should be dangerous.
As per the evaluation experts, the Mediterranean diet may offer a host of health benefits, including weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention and control. By following the Mediterranean diet, you could also keep that weight off while avoiding chronic diseases.
The other diets that featured on the list were MIND diet at number 4, Mayo Clinic Diet at number 5, and TLC diet at number 6.
Here are all the other category winners:
Best diet for diabetes
The Mediterranean diet topped the list, and was closely followed by the flexitarian diet and vegan diet — with a tie.
Best overall diet for weight loss
The popular WW (formerly called Weight Watchers) plan earned the top spot with a tie with the flexitarian and Volumentrics diets.
Best diet for heart health
The Mediterranean diet earned the top spot along with the Ornish diet, which was created in 1977 by Dr Dean Ornish, founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California.
As per the website, the Ornish diet is low in fat, refined carbohydrates and animal protein. But it’s not just a diet: It also emphasises on exercise, stress management and relationships.
Best plant-based diets
The Mediterranean diet again topped the list followed by the flexitarian, and the vegetarian diet.
Best diet programs
The top spot was shared by the Mayo Clinic Diet and the WW plan.
Easiest diets to follow
As per the rankings, the Mediterranean diet was the easiest to follow, with the flexitarian and the fertility diet tagging close behind at number 2 and 3 respectively.
Best diets for healthy eating
The Mediterranean diet bagged the top spot with the DASH diet, and the flexitarian diet ranking second and third respectively.
The panel of 27 recognised experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease reviewed the profiles, added their own fact-finding and rated each diet in seven categories:
How easy it is to follow.
Its ability to produce short-term weight loss.
Its ability to produce long-term weight loss.
Its nutritional completeness.
Its potential for preventing and managing diabetes.
Its potential for preventing and managing heart disease.
What makes a diet healthy?
“The ones that get high scores in safety and in nutritional value – they’re very similar to each other,” said Andrea Giancoli, a registered dietitian who serves on the US News expert panel. As per the website, the recurring theme across the diets that excelled in healthiness is adequate calories supplied by a heavy load of vegetables, fruits and whole grains; a modest amount of lean protein, nonfat dairy and healthy fats; and an occasional treat. Plants are the foundation, and the menu is always built around minimally processed meals made from scratch.
Interestingly, the popular diets, intermittent fasting and the Sirtfood diet came at number 27, and at number 32 indicating that they do not make to the top when it comes to healthy eating, since they are “restrictive” in nature.