The annual diet rankings from US News & World Report are in, and keto (aka the ketogenic diet) has been named the least-healthy diet of the year by a panel of health and nutrition experts. The Mediterranean diet was ranked first among the 40 diets, which were judged on a range of factors, including healthiness, effectiveness for weight loss (short- and long-term), and how easy the diet is to follow.
That last piece of criteria — ease of following the diet — should give you a hint as to why keto placed so low on the list. As an extremely low-carb diet, keto can help some people lose weight quickly, but it's extremely restrictive and therefore difficult to maintain over the long term. "Experts ranked the diet near or at the bottom in every category, besides short-term weight loss," US News & World Report noted. Keto was tied for 37th out of 40 diets overall, but it brought in the lowest marks of any diet in the healthiness category.
The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, got high marks as a diet "low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods," the report said. In contrast to keto, the Mediterranean diet is fairly flexible and can adapt to different lifestyles; the focus is to have fruits and veggies make up half of your plate, with the rest split between whole grains, lean protein, and a small amount of fat.
If you're planning adjusting your diet in 2022, here are more highlights from the rankings to keep in mind:
- Mediterranean diet: ranked first overall and in almost all categories
- WW diet: ranked fifth overall
- Vegetarian diet: ranked ninth overall
- Noom: ranked 13th overall
- Vegan diet: ranked 17th overall
- Intermittent fasting: ranked 27th overall
- Paleo diet: ranked 30th overall
- Whole30 diet: ranked 35th overall
- Keto diet: ranked 37th overall and 40th (last) in healthy eating
Whatever and however you choose to eat, remember to prioritise consistency and how your body feels. Find what works for you and your goals, stick with it, and you won't go wrong.