How to Follow Seven of the Year’s Best Diets
All diets are not created equal. So says U.S. News & World Report, which just released its annual Best Diets Rankings, a list that spans best-overall DASH all the way to last-place Whole30. (Sorry, Paleo fans—your plan didn’t do so well, either.)
But unless you follow diet news religiously, U.S. News’ list looks fairly akin to a bowl of alphabet soup. Here, an explanation, with recipes, of the highest-ranked diets on the list:
DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was originally developed as a way to lower blood pressure without medication, but was more recently adapted to also tackle weight loss. The plan calls for seven to eight servings of grains, four to five servings of fruits and vegetables, two or three servings of low-fat dairy, and two or fewer servings of meat per day. It also recommends four or five servings of legumes each week.
Recipe: DASH Diet Mexican Bake, via All Recipes
2. (tie) TLC
Meant to lower bad cholesterol, TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) is a diet endorsed by the American Heart Association. Followers are told to limit saturated fat to less than 7 percent of calorie intake and overall fat to 25 to 35 percent of calories, and to keep daily cholesterol below 200 milligrams and sodium below 2,400 milligrams.
Recipe: Salmon with Pineapple Salsa, via Health
2. (tie) MIND
MIND (Mediterranean-Dash Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) has a lofty goal: to prevent Alzheimer’s through food. The diet emphasizes brain-healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables, nuts, beans, and berries, while limiting red meats, pastries, fried food, butter, and cheese.
Recipe: Baked Honey Berry Oatmeal, via Apple of My Eye
4. (tie) The Fertility Diet
Claiming to boost fertility by improving health and weight, the Fertility Diet comprises a series of 10 steps. Among others, they include cutting out trans fats and refined carbohydrates, while adding full-fat dairy, iron, and folic acid.
Recipe: Peaches and Cream Smoothie, via Natural Fertility Info
4. (tie) The Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic’s weight loss-focused diet is fairly lenient—there are no calorie counts to maintain or foods to eliminate. Instead, it emphasizes healthy choices like produce, whole grains, legumes, fish, and low-fat dairy.
Recipe: Mango Salsa Pizza, via Mayo Clinic
4. (tie) Mediterranean Diet
Inspired by the healthy habits of the Mediterranean region, this diet swaps red meat, sugar, and saturated fat for nuts, produce, whole grains, and healthy oils. It’s known for being a heart-healthy way of eating.
Recipe: Roasted Cod with Warm Tomato-Olive-Caper Tapenade, via Eating Well
4. (tie) Weight Watchers Diet
The popular weight loss company’s diet uses its signature points system to assign values to different foods, encouraging followers to eat those that are healthy but filling. Saturated fat and sugar raise point values, while protein brings them down.
Recipe: Weight Watchers 0-Point Tortilla Soup, via Food.com