Health

Mediterranean Diet Ranked 'Best Overall'

The MedDiet beat out 40 other diets to get the top spot in the U.S. News and World Report annual ranking for the first time. It was also rated the number one diet in five subcategories.

Jun. 12, 2019
By Daniel Dawson

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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.

See more: Health News

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

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“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.

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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.”

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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.”