Mediterranean weight loss diet named best for 2021

The gold medal for best 2021 diet went to the Mediterranean diet for the fourth year in a row, according to rankings announced Monday by U.S. News & World Report.

Tied for silver was the DASH diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, and the Flexitarian diet, which encourages being a vegetarian most of the time, but is flexible enough to allow a burger now and again.

What do all of these diets have in common? They stress reducing or eliminating processed foods, and focus on meals full of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds.

The Dukin and keto diets, which stress eating high-protein or high-fat foods with minimal carbohydrates, came in last and next-to-last in the diet rankings. Those diets are typically rated poorly by experts because they are extremely restrictive, hard to follow, and eliminate entire food groups, which is not recommended by dietary guidelines.

To judge the diets, a panel of experts in heart disease and diabetes, nutrition, diet, food psychology and obesity reviewed research about the diets from medical journals, government reports and other resources.

“We’ve convened a panel of 24 experts who live and breathe diet, weight loss and obesity,” said Angela Haupt, managing editor of health at U.S. News & World Report.

“They score each diet on a number of different measures: how easy it is to follow, how likely it is to lead to long-term weight loss, how healthful and safe it is, and how effective it is at preventing or managing chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease,” she said.

More top honors for Mediterranean diet

In addition to capturing best diet, the analysis of 39 eating plans also gave the Mediterranean diet the top spot in the best plant-based diet category. The Flexitarian diet took second place, followed by the Nordic diet, which promotes eating locally sourced, low-glycemic foods.

The Mediterranean diet also tied with the DASH diet and the Ornish diet for top honors in best heart-healthy diet. The Ornish diet was created in 1977 by Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in California. Ornish calls the diet the only scientifically proven program to reverse heart disease in a random clinical trial without drugs or surgery. Experts have said the diet is restrictive and hard to follow, however.

The Mediterranean diet also tied with the Flexitarian diet for first place in best diabetes diet; and with WW (Weight Watchers) for easiest diet to follow and DASH for best diet for healthy eating.

Best diet for 2021 has been named
Best diet for 2021 has been named Credit: Westend61/Getty Images/Westend61
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