Let’s get real for a minute! It’s so important to have goals for yourself and to strive to be a healthier person. I get so excited when someone tells me they decided to embark on a journey to be a healthier, happier person. With new diets being introduced every year, I get my hopes up that people will gravitate towards the healthiest options. Sadly, I end up breathing a sigh of exasperation and despair as I discover that they are trying the worst fad diet simply because they were told that it works – either to help them lose weight fast, increase muscle mass quickly, or a number of other misleading claims. This is why I feel so passionately about writing this post and making the information about these diets more accessible.
U.S. News evaluated 40 of the most popular diets and discovered some startling (albeit obvious) results. Each of these diets was ranked on a number of different factors including heart health, weight loss, and ease. I’ll be pointing out some of the best and worst on the list and exactly why they were placed in those rankings.
I hope that after reading this post, I can assist people in making a healthier choice for their new diet adventure.
#1 Best Diet Overall: The Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean Diet suggests that you can lose weight, keep it off, and avoid a host of chronic diseases by eating less red meat, fatty foods and simple sugars while consuming more whole grains, fruits, veggies, fish, and healthy fats. In addition to helping you lose weight and keep it off, this diet can help preserve your brain volume with age and ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s.
In my opinion, this diet actually makes you want to stick with it. Once you get used to not eating so much sugar and fat, you won’t want to go back. You’ll feel amazing and even lose weight once you’ve made the changes recommended with this diet. See more information about this diet here. Already convinced? You can get a great cookbook and get started here: The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook: 500 Vibrant, Kitchen-Tested Recipes for Living and Eating Well Every Day.
#1 Best Weight-Loss Diet: Weight Watchers
The Weight Watchers diet claims that you will be losing about 2 pounds a week by eating healthier. No foods are off-limits but you are given a certain amount of points per day to spend. If you eat foods that are high in fat or sugar, you will run out of points fast so this diet encourages healthy eating to stretch those points out.
In my opinion, this is a great start for people who want to become healthier and lose weight. It helps people learn which foods are healthy and which foods should only be eaten in moderation. I also love that you never have to deprive yourself with this diet which makes it easier to stick to.
#1 Best Diet For Healthy Eating: The DASH Diet
The DASH diet was created to prevent and lower high blood pressure by eating a balance of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. In addition, you’ll need to limit foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar. This diet is less of a diet and more of a lesson in the basics of the food pyramid.
In my opinion, this diet is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking to become healthier for life. It will also help you lose weight and ward off a number of diseases. And again, once you get used to limiting foods that are high in fats and sugars, you’ll never want to go back. Feel like this is a perfect fit for you? Here’s a great book to get you started: The Dash Diet Weight Loss Solution: 2 Weeks to Drop Pounds, Boost Metabolism, and Get Healthy.
#40 Worst Diet Overall AND Worst Diet For Healthy Eating: The Keto Diet
The Keto diet’s claim is that you can lose weight quickly, feel fuller with fewer cravings, and boost your mood, mental focus, and energy. Although you may lose weight on this diet temporarily, the combination of unusually high amounts of fat and low carb content have caused experts to have serious reservations. There are particularly high concerns for those who suffer from liver or kidney conditions and are told to avoid this diet altogether.
In my opinion, this diet is alarming as it encourages eating foods that are high in fats, including saturated fats. This can cause a greater risk for developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. And in opposition to its claims, this diet will also slow your metabolism, make you constipated, and cause you to gain weight – thus pushing you further away from your goals.
If you’ve chosen this diet plan to increase muscle mass, try adding more protein to your diet by eating more lean meats or pick up some protein powder instead (You can actually get 50% off at GNC in January). This way, you can still eat a healthy diet and safely increase your protein intake as needed to build more muscle.
#40 Worst Weight-Loss Diet: The Body Reset Diet
The claim of the Body Reset Diet is that you will boost metabolism and set yourself up for sustained weight loss by getting your nutrients through smoothies and then incorporating solid food back into your diet over the course of 15 days. Sounds great, right? The problem with this diet is that you are encouraged to eat far fewer calories than is recommended for a healthy diet. You will also likely feel less satiated while drinking those smoothies which will make it very difficult to stick to. Once you have completed the phases of this diet, you will still need to adopt healthy eating habits in order to continue to lose weight and keep it off. This makes this diet a bad choice for longevity.
In my opinion, smoothies can certainly be a great way to pack in some extra vitamins and fiber but they should not replace meals (unless you have your jaw wired shut). Eating so few calories can permanently damage your metabolism and make it much more difficult for you to lose and keep weight off in the future.
#40 Worst Heart-Healthy Diet: The Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet claims that you can lose 10 pounds within the first week and continue to lose 2-4 pounds a week after that by eating high amounts of protein. It recommends having certain days where you eat nothing but protein and leaves you with mostly vegetables and protein for the remaining days (You get to sprinkle in one serving of fruit, 2 slices of wheat bread, and a tiny touch of cheese). Experts discourage the participation in this diet as the high amount of protein could lead to long-term health problems and nutritional deficiencies.
In my opinion, it is never a good idea to cut out any food group completely. That is a recipe for disaster as you won’t be able to stick to a diet that deprives you and you will most certainly suffer some serious vitamin deficiencies. In addition, a high protein diet can cause serious health conditions such as kidney and liver damage, osteoporosis, heart disease, and cancer.
As I mentioned with the Keto diet as well, if you’ve chosen this diet plan to increase muscle mass, try adding more protein to your diet by eating more lean meats or pick up some protein powder instead (You can actually get 50% off at GNC in January). This way, you can still eat a healthy diet and safely increase your protein intake as needed to build more muscle.
After reading this post, I hope you are armed with the knowledge you were seeking to choose a healthy diet. Even if I can get just one person to make a healthy choice, I will have completed what I set out to do and I will do a happy dance.
Disclaimer: This post is the opinion of the author. Always speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise plan or changes to your lifestyle. The information provided in this post is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal, or other professional advice. Read and/or use any of the information from this post at your own risk. Some or all of the links displayed on this site may be affiliate links.