The Mediterranean diet was named the best eating plan for 2019, according to an annual ranking by U.S. News and World Report published Wednesday.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was created 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. "I wish the focus was on adopting a healthy lifestyle, like eating a more plant-based diet, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep and managing stress, all of which help us live a better quality of life", Heller said.
The diet focuses on "10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine", according to U.S. News and World Report.
Unlike highly restrictive diets like the keto diet or the Atkins diet, the Mediterranean diet is balanced and allows people to eat a wide variety of foods in moderation. It was also named best diabetes diet, best diet for healthy eating, best plant-based diet, best heart-healthy diet, and easiest diet to follow.
The flexitarian diet encourages people to try alternative meat options, like tofu, but leaves room for flexibility if you can't quite fully give up meat.
Lifestyle diets, such as the Mayo Clinic diet and MIND diet, are healthier and more sustainable than weight-loss plans such as the Ketogenic or Atkins diet are, the panelists concluded.
The Mediterranean diet came out on top.
The plan focuses on fruit, vegetables, whole grain, lean protein and low-fat dairy and eliminates foods high in fat and sugar-sweetened drinks and candies, according to U.S. News and World Report. You can occasionally add eggs, chicken or fish. In fact, one study found the diet may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease by as much as 53 percent.
Weight Watchers - now called WW - was fourth.
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.
Doctors say healthy weight loss is just one to two pounds per week.
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.