The Mediterranean Diet is Still the Best Diet in 2021

Mediterranean diet
Mediterranean diet - Source: mdpi. com/nutrients

Each year, US News & World Report ranks the best diets for the year ahead. For four years in a row, including this year, the Mediterranean diet is still the best overall diet.

To note, the Mediterranean diet is a plant-based diet that has been shown to prevent chronic disease and increase longevity. This is not the type of strict diet that allows the culprit to stick to a flexible diet.

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The Mediterranean diet is the top choice for nutritionists, diabetes specialists, heart specialists, and weight loss specialists, among 39 eating patterns, including popular diets such as Keto, Atkins, Wight Watchers, and others. The rankings are based on seven categories, where each diet is rated on a scale of 1 to 5.

Some of these categories include nutritional completeness, ease of following a diet, potential for long and short-term weight loss, safety and possible side effects, and potential to help prevent diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

In general, diets that tend to be flexible, such as the Mediterranean diet and several other types of flexible diets, are at the top, while strict diets like Keto are at the bottom.

Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables and fruit

The Mediterranean diet originates from countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, where people eat a lot of produce such as nuts and healthy fats. Many of these areas are part of the blue zones, areas of the world where people tend to live the longest and healthiest.

The Mediterranean diet relies heavily on seafood, fresh produce, whole grains and nuts. Even so, they could still enjoy the wine in moderation.

Foods included in this diet tend to be rich in essential vitamins and nutrients, such as polyphenols or plant-based compounds that help protect the body from disease. This diet has been shown to help reduce the risk of diabetes, prevent certain types of cancer and prevent cognitive decline.

In addition, the Mediterranean diet can also support a weight loss plan by replacing refined carbohydrates and refined sugar with more nutrient-dense food sources, such as vegetables and fish. A diet that focuses on healthy fats, such as olive oil, avocado and salmon is also believed to be able to help lower bad cholesterol levels that cause heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet does not restrict calories or include rigid meal plans, making it easier for anyone to follow and safe from unwanted side effects. However, this condition can also be a drawback for people who are looking for a more structured diet or who are pursuing rapid weight loss.

In addition to the Mediterranean, other diets that also rank at the top this year are flexitarian and DASH. Kethie Beals, a registered dietitian and associate clinical professor at the University of Utah, said that apart from being easy to follow and implement, a good diet should also be affordable for everyone. “That’s something we need to consider when it comes to meal plans, not only during a pandemic when people’s financial capacities are tight, but at other times as well,” he said, as reported by Insider.

Keto on the worst diet list

The diets that received the lowest overall rating from US News & World Report were those that were considered difficult to maintain in the long term and were not nutritionally balanced. The high-fat, low-carb Keto diet makes this list.

In addition to Keto, other diets that also received the lowest ratings were the Biggest Loser Diet, OPTAVIA, and the Gaps diet which requires its followers to eliminate the consumption of whole grains, pasteurized dairy products, starchy vegetables, and refined carbohydrates. The Dukan diet, which is high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and the Whole3 diet, a one-month strict diet, are also on the lowest list.

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