The best diet for 2023 is once again the Mediterranean: how does it work?
(CNN) — The gold medals keep piling up. For the sixth consecutive year, the Mediterranean diet took the title as the best overall, according to the rankings for 2023 announced by US News & World Report on Tuesday. Dishes from the sunny Mediterranean also took first place in the categories of best diet for healthy eating and best plant-based diet, according to the report.
In two new categories included for 2023, the Mediterranean tied with Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diets to reduce cholesterol and the Flexitarian diet for best diet for families, and with DASH (corresponds to the acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) as the best diet for bone and joint health.
“We’re always looking for more health problems that we can treat. But often there isn’t enough scientific data examining the relationship of diet X and condition X,” says Gretel Schueller, US News & World Report’s chief health writer, who oversees the annual classification of diets.
“However, bone and joint health is an area where there is quite a bit of scientific literature,” Schueller said. “We also recognize that our population is aging, so focusing on diets that can increase quality of life among older people is an important element.”
Also new this year: The reviewers only ranked 24 diets instead of the nearly 40 diets reviewed in previous years. Five diets from the original list—Vegetarian, Vegan, Nordic, Traditional Asian, and Glycemic Index—were integrated by the judges into the Mediterranean and other diets due to their underlying plant-based principles.
“The bottom line is the recognition that the Mediterranean diet is not limited to the foods that surround it,” says Schueller. “The teachings and approach of the Mediterranean food pattern can be applied to any kitchen in any country.”
That approach is reflected in two new diets — Keyto and Pritikin — that have been added to the 2023 review, Schueller said. (Yes. It’s Keyto with Y.)
“We recognize that more and more people are eating some kind of plant-based diet or at least trying to,” he said. “The keto diet with Y is supposed to be a flexible, low-carb Mediterranean plan.
“The Pritikin diet focuses on eating low-fat, high-fiber whole foods and is quite flexible,” he added. “We’re seeing a push toward eating more whole, unprocessed foods, which I think is great.”
What is the Mediterranean diet?
According to numerous studies, the Mediterranean diet can reduce the risk of diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, dementia, memory loss, depression and breast cancer. The diet, which is more of an eating style than a restricted diet, has also been linked to stronger bones, a healthier heart and a longer life.
The diet is based on simple plant-based cooking, with most meals centered around fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and seeds, with some nuts and a strong emphasis on virgin olive oil. extra. Fats other than olive oil, such as butter, are consumed little or not at all, and sugar and refined foods are reserved for special occasions.
Red meat is used sparingly, usually just to accompany a dish. The consumption of healthy oily fish, packed with omega-3 fatty acids, is encouraged, while eggs, dairy and poultry are eaten in much smaller portions than in the traditional Western diet.
Social interactions during meals and exercise are basic pillars of the Mediterranean eating style. Lifestyle changes that are part of the diet include eating with friends and family, socializing during meals, mindful eating of favorite foods, as well as mindful movement and exercise.
second and last place
As in 2022, the DASH diet and the flexitarian diet tied for second best overall diet. Similar to the Mediterranean style of eating, these diets reduce or eliminate processed foods and emphasize filling your plate with fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
The DASH diet emphasizes limiting salt intake to lower blood pressure, while the Flexitarian diet, true to its name, allows you to occasionally eat poultry.
A group of 33 experts examined the best diets and classified them into several categories: Did the diet include all food groups? Was it evidence-based? Can the necessary foods be found in any supermarket? Is it easy to find? set up? And did you use additional vitamins or supplements?
“We focus more on quality than quantity,” says Schueller. “Our reviewers felt that there are some diets out there that are so crazy that they are not worth spending time on, such as the Dukan diet, which we no longer classify.”
The award for worst diet has gone to the raw food diet this year, at least in part due to a lack of nutritional completeness, which has raised safety concerns among critics. Since followers can only eat unprocessed foods that have not been cooked, microwaved, irradiated, genetically modified, or exposed to pesticides or herbicides, critics consider the diet nearly impossible to follow.
The popular keto diet, along with modified keto, ranked 20 out of 24 diets, followed by Atkins, SlimFast, and Optavia. These diets emphasize eating high-protein or high-fat foods with minimal carbohydrates and are rated low because they are extremely restrictive, difficult to follow, and eliminate entire food groups.
Despite the low overall rating of the keto diet, reviewers gave it first place for the best short-term weight loss diet, Schueller said, quickly adding that these diets are not considered healthy lifestyle choices.
“These are the allowances for someone who has a wedding or an event they want to go to in the next few months,” he said. “Will you lose weight in the short term? Of course you will. Will you keep it off for the next two years? Probably not.”
In the category of best (long-term) diet for weight loss, WW (formerly Weight Watchers) came in first, with DASH and TLC tied for second. WW also took top honors for Best Diet Show (Commercial), followed by NOOM and Jenny Craig.
The Flexitarian and TLC diets shared gold in the easiest diet to follow category, while the Mediterranean and DASH diets tied for third place.
The DASH diet took top honors as the best diet for heart health and for people with diabetes, followed by the Mediterranean, Flexitarian and Ornish diets. The Ornish diet was created in 1977 by Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of the nonprofit California Preventive Medicine Research Institute.
Combined with stress management techniques, exercise, social support and smoking cessation, the Ornish diet is the only program scientifically proven to reverse heart disease without drugs or surgery, according to Ornish.