The Mediterranean diet has been ranked as the num­ber one “Best Diets Overall” for 2019 by a panel of health experts at U.S. News and World Report for the first time.

The MedDiet also took the num­ber one spot for a num­ber of sub­cat­e­gories, includ­ing “Best Diabetes Diet,” “Best Diets for Healthy Eating,” “Best Plant Based Diet,” “Easiest Diets to Follow” and tied the Ornish Diet for the “Best Heart-​Healthy Diets.”

With its empha­sis on fruits, veg­eta­bles, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare, the Mediterranean diet is emi­nently sen­si­ble.- U.S. News and World Report panel of experts

Each year, U.S. News and World Report jour­nal­ists and edi­tors research 41 dif­fer­ent eat­ing pro­grams, con­sult­ing med­ical jour­nal entries and gov­ern­ment reports, before assem­bling the list and writ­ing a brief pro­file of each one.

These pro­files are then sent to a panel of experts who add their own knowl­edge and rate each of the diets accord­ing to seven dif­fer­ent cri­te­ria: how easy the diet is to fol­low, its nutri­tional com­plete­ness, its abil­ity to pro­duce short-​term and long-​term weight loss results, its over­all safety for adher­ents and its poten­tial to pre­vent and man­age dia­betes and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

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Among the panel of experts are nutri­tion­ists, doc­tors, researchers and pro­fes­sors from some of the country’s top uni­ver­si­ties.

“New diet trends are a dime a dozen,” Angela Haupt, the assis­tant man­ag­ing edi­tor of health for U.S. News and World Report, told CNN. “We want to pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive, trust­wor­thy infor­ma­tion that high­lights the diet stand­outs and those that don’t per­form so well in an array of dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories.”

The MedDiet is mostly com­prised of eat­ing fruits, veg­eta­bles, legumes, nuts, whole grains, fish, poul­try and olive oil, while lim­it­ing the intake of processed foods and red meat.

“With its empha­sis on fruits, veg­eta­bles, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare, the Mediterranean diet is emi­nently sen­si­ble,” the panel of experts wrote.

Recent sci­en­tific stud­ies have shown that fol­low­ing the MedDiet for sus­tained peri­ods of time has a range of ben­e­fits from pre­vent­ing overeat­ing to main­tain­ing weight loss and help­ing man­age dia­betes.

“The Mediterranean diet is a great option for pre­vent­ing or con­trol­ling dia­betes, and it earned first place in the cat­e­gory,” the panel of experts wrote. “Some research has shown that dia­bet­ics on a Mediterranean diet may improve their lev­els of hemo­glo­bin A1C, a mea­sure of blood sugar over time.”

While this is the first year that the MedDiet took the num­ber one spot in the rank­ings, it has always ranked highly in the report. In 2018, it shared the top spot for “Best Diets Overall” with the DASH diet, which was devel­oped for peo­ple with high blood pres­sure.

It is not clear exactly what led the U.S. News and World Report’s expert panel to award the MedDiet the over­all top spot this year and not in pre­vi­ous ones. However, the com­bi­na­tion of recent reports tout­ing its health ben­e­fits along with being viewed as “adapt­able and deli­cious” by the panel of experts may be part of the answer.

“It’s more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle,” Rahaf Al Bochi, a reg­is­tered dieti­cian who rec­om­mends the Mediterranean diet to her clients, told CNN. “It also encour­ages eat­ing with friends and fam­ily, social­iz­ing over meals, mind­fully eat­ing your favorite foods, as well as mind­ful move­ment and exer­cise for a com­plete healthy lifestyle.”


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