The report is the outcome of months of research by experts in the fields of nutrition, health, wellness, and psychology. Factors like short- and long-term effectiveness, safety, as well as ability to help prevent or manage disease contributed to ranking the 38 diets which made the final cut. Here are the diets that can really help you eat well and feel great:
#7. Weight Watchers Diet
At its core, Weight Watchers wants you to be able to eat flexibly – whatever you want, just as long as you stick to your custom PointsPlus target every day (the backbone of how WW works). In this system, every food has a set number of points, based on its calories, protein, saturated fat and sugars. It’s one of the easier diets to stick to, as you don’t need to eliminate your favorite foods, but you can still lose weight – up to two pounds a week.
#6. TLC Diet
TLC, or Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, was developed by the National Institutes of Health, and is endorsed by the American Heart Association as a heart-friendly dietary program. It relies primarily on cutting back on fats, in particular saturated fats, and so decreases cholesterol levels. In a 1995 study, a group of patients who followed the diet for 8 months saw their LDL cholesterol levels fall by nearly 20%. The key is to avoid fatty products like whole-milk dairy or any deep-fried food.
#5. Mayo Clinic Diet
According to the creators of the Mayo Clinic Diet, if you follow this regimen closely, you could lose up to 10 pounds in just two weeks – and then continue shedding weight on a more gradual basis. The whole program relies on a simple food pyramid, and encourages eating fruits, vegetables and grains. No sugar is allowed in the first two weeks, and munching in front of the TV is strictly prohibited throughout the diet. The Mayo Clinic Diet provides a solid balance of nutrition while helping prevent cardiovascular disease.
#4. The Flexitarian Diet
Do you love meat but, at the same time, envy your vegetarian friends for their healthy attitude? This one might be for you. The Flexitarian diet is the lovechild of two words: flexible and vegetarian. Essentially, it’s all about being a veggie – broadly speaking – but not resisting that juicy steak or burger when the urge hits. Plant-based products are important, and flexitarians should consume proteins like tofu, nuts, eggs and beans every day. Add 30 minutes of exercise, and you’re done! According to experts, Flexitarians live an average of 3.6 years longer and weigh 15 per cent less than people who consume meat on a daily basis.
#3. MIND Diet
MIND is a combination of two different programs: the Mediterranean Diet and DASH (see below). It primarily addresses brain health, and will encourage you to consume 10 specific food groups, like vegetables, nuts, berries and beans. Unhealthy food groups, like cheeses, butter, sweets and red meats, should be avoided. In a 2015 study in Chicago, MIND lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s by about 50% for people who followed the diet closely. More good news? MIND doesn’t at all mind if you drink wine. Cheers to that!
#2. Mediterranean Diet
The Med diet follows the traditional eating habits of Southern Europeans, who tend to be less at risk of developing obesity, cancer or heart disease than Americans. The diet emphasizes products like whole grains (yes to pasta!), olives, hummus, falafel and other Mediterranean delicacies. At dinner, a glass of red wine comes highly recommended. A study published in the BMC Medicine journal in 2016 estimated that between 2 and 14 percent of all stroke cases could be avoided just by following this highly effective program.
#1. DASH Diet
Topping the list of the most effective diets, DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is an all-round winner. Its premise relies on being good to your heart, so definitely add lean meats, veggies and wholegrain to your meals – but avoid salt, too much red meat or alcohol. Although it may not be the fastest weight-loss program out there, experts widely defined DASH as “nutritionally sound“.
Before you jump on any diet, you should consult your dietary requirements with a doctor, and set yourself realistic targets. Every diet should include a good amount of exercise alongside a nutrition program in order to give you the health benefits you want.