Mediterranean diet named No. 1 eating plan for 2019

Leslie Hanson
January 7, 2019

For millions of people, changing eating habits for the better will near the top of the list of New Year's Resolution lists. Because of new research regarding the Mediterranean diet, such as findings that it could lower the risk of dementia and aggressive prostate cancer, it took the lead for 2019.

U.S. News & World Report, in collaboration with a panel of health experts, evaluated and ranked 41 diets.

Although the popular Keto diet ranked high for fast weight loss, it landed way down on the Best Diets list - tying for number 38.

"These diets that are consistently top performers are scoring well, from nutrition to helpfulness, ease, ability to help prevent chronic conditions and more", Haupt said. It also had to be proven to help prevent heart disease and diabetes.

The flexitarian diet encourages people to try alternative meat options, like tofu, but leaves room for flexibility if you can't quite fully give up meat. In fact, the diet is safe for most people, including children and older people. You can have red wine in moderation if you'd like, but you must get plenty of exercise and enjoy meals with family and friends.

The diet focuses on "10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine", according to U.S. News and World Report. Eating a diet that's mostly vegetarian while also allowing for an occasional burger or steak to satisfy a craving can help with weight management and improve overall health, Blatner says.


In third place, is something new called the Flexitarian Diet.

"On these types of diets, you often don't learn how to manage holidays, stressful days or special occasions".

The plan focuses on fruit, vegetables, whole grain, lean protein and low-fat dairy and eliminates foods high in fat and sugar-sweetened drinks and candies, according to U.S. News and World Report. It assigns points aiming for nutritious foods with fewer calories.

Doctors say healthy weight loss is just one to two pounds per week. The plan also involves in-person meetings or online chats created to support those in the program and keep them accountable.

Lack of scientific evidence for health benefits and severe restriction of foods - including certain healthy foods - were listed as reasons for low scores.

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