The Mediterranean diet beat out the DASH diet for the first time ever.
If you're gearing up to eat healthier this year, consider including whole grains, seafood, and healthy fats in your diet. U.S. News & World Report rolled out its list of the best diets of 2019, and the Mediterranean diet took the top spot. It also won best diet for healthy eating, easiest diet to follow, best diet for diabetes, best heart-healthy diet, and best plant-based diet, so it's really an all-around winner.
Every year, U.S. News & World Report enlists nutritionists, dietary consultants, and physicians to analyze popular diets and create seven rankings based on weight-loss potential, ease, etc. This year a panel of 23 experts scored 41 diets based on summaries of each diet from U.S. News and recent research.
It's no shocker that the Mediterranean diet came out gleaming. In recent years, it's been linked to heart protection, better brain power, a longer life, and numerous other health benefits. But it is somewhat of an upset when it comes to the ranking entity's annual list, which doesn't see a lot of change from year to year. Last year the Mediterranean diet tied with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet for best overall diet, but the DASH diet was number one for seven years straight before that (every year since the ranking started). The two diets are very similar, both focused on fruits, veggies, whole grains, protein, and dairy. However, the DASH diet encourages limiting overall fat by sticking to lean meat and low- or nonfat dairy, while the Mediterranean diet emphasizes fatty foods like salmon and olive oil. Additionally, the DASH diet puts more importance on limiting sodium.
If weight loss is your priority, WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is the best way to go, according to this year's ranking. ICYMI, the company underwent a rebranding this year in an effort to include more general healthy lifestyle tips instead of just weight-loss tactics, but it still held on to best weight-loss diet and took number four overall. No matter your aim, the trendiest option probably isn't your best bet. Aside from the Mediterranean diet, none of the 10 most-Googled diets of 2018 won top spots. The keto diet may have been the most-searched diet of 2018, but it was ranked 38th for overall diet, with U.S. News citing strict carb limits and its extreme nature as drawbacks. (Read more on why one dietitian is completely against the keto diet.)
When it comes to fast weight-loss plans, though, that's where the keto diet stands out. It tied for first place in that category with the HMR program, a diet that calls for eating meal replacement shakes, bars, and cereal with fruits and vegetables, and the OG low-carb diet, Atkins. But U.S. News notes that those diets might not be the best option in the long run: "While these diets enable quick weight loss for those with a short-term goal—there's a strong chance you'll drop significant weight within the first 12 months—keep in mind that this is markedly different from long-term weight loss, which is more important for your health." (The keto diet has been linked to multiple negative effects.)
Research around weight loss (what works, what doesn't) is constantly evolving, but the Mediterranean diet has been having quite a run as a favorite among nutrition experts. If you're ready to eat more produce, pasta, and the occasional glass of red, start with our seven-day Mediterranean diet meal plan experts think everyone should follow, or check out these 50 easy Mediterranean diet recipes and meal ideas.