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.
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.”