Looking to change up your eating habits? U.S. News just evaluated 38 diets with a panel of certified experts to deliver the best and worst of what's out there. Essentially, U.S. News did all the legwork so you don't have to mess around.
The diet judges in question? "Nationally recognised experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes, and heart disease," U.S. News said in a press release. The list included big names like Dr. David L. Katz, MD, and Andrea N. Giancoli, RD. These experts reviewed each diet and rated it by the following seven categories:
- How easy it is to follow
- Ability to produce short-term weight loss
- Ability to produce long-term weight loss
- Nutritional completeness
- Potential for preventing and managing diabetes
- Potential for preventing and managing heart disease
Here's what went down and how diets like Weight Watchers and Whole30 stacked up.
The Best Overall
The best diets overall were determined by the expert panellists; they commended "well-balanced diets that are not restrictive and remain sustainable over the long-term," which is "teaching dieters lifelong positive eating habits." They referred to some of them as "lifestyle diets," touting their sustainability. Many of these diets have also been backed up by significant studies and data.
- DASH: "For seventh year in a row, DASH diet is ranked #1 overall," said U.S. News. Learn about the DASH diet.
- Mediterranean: Another returning veteran was the Harvard-recommended Mediterranean diet.
- MIND: The MIND diet combines the DASH and Mediterranean diet to hone in on brain health, so it's no wonder it came in third place.
Best Weight-Loss Diet
These diets were rated specifically on their short- and long-term weight-loss effectiveness. "Some dieters want to drop pounds fast, while others, looking years ahead, are aiming for slow and steady. Equal weighting accepts both goals as worthy," they said.
- Whole30: "Whole30 is the lowest ranked diet overall for the second year in a row," said U.S. News. "Experts criticise the Paleo and Whole30 diets, in particular, for being 'fad diets' that unnecessarily wipe out entire food groups. These diets perform poorly because they are too restrictive and are not easily sustainable in the long term."
- Dukan: Similarly to Atkins and Keto, the protein-heavy Dukan diet has been noted as potentially dangerous as it eradicates major food groups.
- Paleo: As previously noted, the Paleo diet is said to lack sustainability due to its restrictiveness.