It’s that time of year-along with the Golden Globes, we also have the “best” diet awards!
I can’t help but be amused by the fact that the organization ranking diets also does research that is guiding college searches for my high school junior.
According the US News and World Report, we have a tie for the #1 best overall diet in 2018. For years, this title was held by the DASH diet, but this year DASH is sharing #1 with the Mediterranean Diet.
So, what are each of these diets about?
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (high blood pressure) and is based on research from the U.S. National Institutes of Health that found the dietary pattern significantly lowered blood pressure. The diet is high in fruits and vegetables. Beans and nuts are also encouraged several days each week, and the diet includes moderate amounts of meat and dairy.
The Mediterranean Diet is based on long standing population research showing that despite having diets high in fat, people living in countries near the Mediterranean Sea have much lower rates of heart disease than most of the rest of the world. As it turns out, the predominant source of fat is olive oil, and this is good for the heart. The Mediterranean Diet also has plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Fish is the major animal protein source, and don’t forget to have a little red wine.
What other diets were evaluated?
Several commercial weight loss diets and fad diets were also evaluated. The Atkins diet came in second to last place, with four other gimmick diets all vying for last place (The Body Reset Diet, The Whole 30 Diet, the Dukan Diet, and the Keto Diet). Like Atkins, the diets that tied for last place had a lot of rules and restrictions, were difficult to follow, and had no scientific evidence of benefit.
So what’s the bottom line?
There will always be gimmicks. Gimmicks work for the short term, but they are never a long term solution. Eating whole foods may not be as sexy as fancy plans with lots of rules, but they work and they are here to stay!