2018’s Best Diets

U.S. News Reveals Best Diets 2018 rankings which delivers the facts about and ranks 40 diets on a range of levels, from their heart healthiness to their likelihood to help you lose weight.

The common theme of all the diet approaches is an emphasis on nourishment from plant-based foods. Plant-based foods are very important for reducing inflammation which is the driving force for many chronic conditions.

For this article, we’ve focused on the “Best Diets Overall” category.

Here are the top choices:

  • The Flexitarian Diet marries two words: flexible and vegetarian. This approach allows you to choose vegetarian most of the time, but still enjoy a burger or steak when the urge strikes. This diet is grounded in nutritional soundness and safety and is in line with the government’s nutrient recommendations. ]
  • Weight Watchers: This diet is designed to help people eat better, move more and shift their mindset. The program assigns every food and beverage a SmartPoints value based on its nutrition.
  • The Therapeutic Lifestyle Change (TLC) Diet promotes cardiovascular health and is a very solid diet plan with no major weaknesses. Experts like that it encourages high-fiber foods and discourages those high in saturated fat.
  • The Volumetrics Diet: This diet focuses on low-energey density foods—foods that have fewer calories per gram. Filling your plate with more low-density food means you’ll be eating fewer calories (without actually eating less food), while including generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nonfat dairy and lean meat. It’s a safe and healthy way of eating and provides the majority of necessary nutrients.
  • The Mediterranean Diet: A well-balanced eating plan that boosts longevity and helps prevent some chronic diseases, showcasing healthy foods like whole-grain pita and hummus, salads, fresh fruits and veggies, salmon and beneficial fats like olive oil. There is strong research that suggests a Mediterranean diet can preserve your brain volume with age, in addition to helping ward off diseases like Alzheimer’s. This approach is a great way to nourish your body, heart and brain!
  • The DASH Diet: This is a well-balanced eating plan for preventing and lowering blood pressure. Endorsed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the diet is packed with produce and light on saturated fat and salt. Consider the DASH approach if you have higher-than-normal blood pressure or cardiovascular disease (of have a family history of either).
  • The MIND Diet takes two proven diets – DASH and Mediterranean – and zeroes in on the food in each that specifically affect brain health. The National Institute on Aging awarded a $14.5 million grant to the Rush University-led team to launch a randomized, five-year clinical trial of the MIND diet that includes 600 older adults, some who will undergo brain scans to gauge its protective effects.

Have you tried any of these diets? Leave us a comment below on which diet you recommend.

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  • Nuts and seeds contain high levels of minerals and healthy fats. Although these are common additions on superfood lists, the downside is that they are high in calories. Portion control is key. Shelled nuts and seeds, in this regard, are ideal because they take time to crack open and slow you down. A quick handful of shelled nuts could contain more than 100 calories, according to Hyde. [Related: Reality Check: 5 Risks of Raw Vegan Diet]

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  • Salmon, sardines, mackerel and certain other fatty fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke. The benefits of eating fish may far outweigh the risk of harming your health from the mercury these fish contain, according to Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health. If you worry about the contaminants your fish dinner may contain, you can try eating lower down on the food chain. Certain fish, such as sharks, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish, contain higher levels of mercury than smaller fish, like sardines, smelt, and anchovy.

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  • As healthful as superfoods might be, the use of the term is largely a marketing tool. Scientists do not use the term. For example, a search for "superfood" on PubMed, the repository of most peer-reviewed biomedical journal articles, yields fewer than a dozen results. And several of these studies actually warn of dangers of superfoods, such as arsenic and pesticide residue in imported foods. [Infographic: Pesticides Lurk in Fruits & Veggies]

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  • The first general criticism of the use of the term "superfood" is that, while the food itself might be healthful, the processing might not be. For example, green tea has several antioxidants. But green tea sold in the United States is generally cut with inferior teas and brewed with copious amounts of sugar. The Japanese and Chinese generally do not drink green tea with sugar. Many kinds of super-juices — acai berry, noni fruit, pomegranate — can be high in added sugar.

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  • When we label these foods as 'super' and 'healthy,' people think they can eat them in unlimited quantities. But you do have to be cautious of the amount you eat, because you can gain weight from eating too much healthy food," Hyde said.

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