There are hundreds of diets out there with some becoming more popular than others. So what makes a diet good? First of all, it has to be non-complicated, safe for your health, affordable, yield visible results, and offer help against weight-related diseases. We took a look at some of the most popular diets, 40 to be exact, and picked a few best ones. The first place went to Mediterranean diet, as people in those regions are known to live the longest and healthiest lives. DASH diet came in close second as it is government endorsed and focuses on fighting heart disease. Let’s dive right in:
As expected, people from Mediterranean region have access to plentiful fresh fruit, vegetables, and fish. They also lead active lifestyles, which combined with healthy foods result in fewer cases of cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and longer lives.
There is no one diet for this region as Greeks, Italians, French, and Spanish all eat differently, but all focus on less red meat, sugar, and saturated fats, but focus on fish, vegetables, nuts, and fruit.
This Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension is healthy and nutritious, easy to follow, affordable, and not requiring many special restrictions. You just have to focus on fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. Such foods provide vital nutrients for lowering blood pressure – potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber. The diet recommends staying away or at least reducing sugar, saturated fat, full-fat dairy and tropical oils. So you are advised to stay away from sodas, fatty meats, whole milk, and fried foods. Another point is sodium reduction starting with 2,300 mg per day and eventually going to just 1,500.
This diet is easy to follow and can be adopted for long-term, reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
The Flexitarian diet
This diet is flexible and almost completely vegetarian. We say almost because the diet does not require eliminating meat 100%, just seriously restricting it. Eating more plant-based foods will help you lose weight and fight diabetes and cancer.
The diet suggests many tasty home-made recipes, which might be tough to follow for people who like to dine out. Sworn carnivores will also find this way of eating a bit challenging.
The best way to get at least some benefits from the Flexitarian theory is to consume as much fruit, veggies, whole grain, and plant-based protein as possible.
This eating plan is focused on your brain health and aims to help you stay your healthiest self. It combines the Mediterranean and DASH diets to pinpoint foods that are best for your brain and can work to stop mental diseases and brain decline over time.
There is no way to prevent such genetic diseases as Alzheimer’s, but eating plenty of leafy greens, fruit, nuts, and berries can at least delay its onset. The diet was created by Martha Clare Morris of Rush University Medical Center in 2015. Her study proved that the Alzheimer’s risk was lowered by 35% for people who followed MIND diet somewhat and by 53% if followed rigorously. The study of brain diseases is ongoing, but the impact of diet to overall health is proven and firm.
Weight Watchers diet
This diet works fast, is easy to follow, and offers fast weigh loss results. The company focuses not just on rapid weight loss, but emphasizes healthy and long-term lifestyle benefits. The recent upgrade to the program is called WW Freestyle and works by assigning points for products and food groups, based on nutritional value and effect on weight. For example, fruits and vegetables get 0 points together with many other healthy foods, while fatty meats and dairy get very high values to encourage participants to stay away from them.
This program also offers lots of online, in-person, and over the phone support, especially after the initial weight loss. Participants are taught to continue weight loss and maintenance even after the program is over.
Mayo Clinic Diet
This is a combination of healthy diet and active lifestyle. The food pyramid is design to help you replace bad nutritional habits with better ones. The usual suspects – fruits, vegetables, and whole grains should make up the biggest portion of your food, giving you energy without heaviness and calories.
The diet is known for helping people lose up to 10 pounds during the first 2 weeks and then consistent 1-2 pounds every week.
Mayo Clinic also offers a special diet to lower the risk of diabetes.
The diet was created by Barbara Rolls of Penn State University and is more of a lifestyle than a strict diet. The focus here is to choose foods with low energy density over the ones with high energy density and manage your hunger in a healthy way. She separates all food into 4 categories:
- Very low-density – non-starchy fruits and vegetables, non-fat milk, and clear soups
- Low-density – starchy fruits and vegetables, grains, low-fat meats, pasta, and legumes
- Medium-density – meat, pizza, cheese, French fries, dressings, bread, ice cream, and cakes
- High-density – chips, crackers, chocolate, candy, nuts, butter, and oils.
Rolls’ advice is to load up on the first two categories, go easy on the third, and just occasionally have something from the last one. Every day should include 3 main meals, two snacks, and one dessert.
These are just the guidelines and teachings; exactly how deep you want to follow that is up to you.
It stands for Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes and aims to reduce cholesterol. It suggests eating lots of fruits and vegetables, starchy foods like bread and pasta, complete with whole grain and lean meats. As you can see, there are not that many limitations, making this diet easy to follow and stick with.
The diet aims to help people live healthier and longer, lose weight and keep it. It was created by Dr. Dean Ornish of University of California. He suggests eating less fat, refined carbs, and animal protein. The diet should also be combined with low stress, exercise, and healthy relationships. He encourages people to choose more healthy options and less unhealthy, for example load up on whole grain bread, but decrease the amount of cookies you eat.
Dr. Ornish recommends aerobics, resistance training, and flexibility exercises. Stress can be managed with deep breathing, meditation, and yoga. Finally, remove bad influences and negative people from your live and focus on meaningful and loving relationships to keep balance and promote health.
Dr. Ornish is well-known for creating healthy living plans to reduce the risk of and control heart disease. His plans suggest very little fat, especially saturated, no foods with high cholesterol and refined carbohydrates, oils, caffeine, and animal products. You are allowed egg whites, low-fat dairy, seeds, and nuts. You should focus on fiber and complex carbohydrates. Finally, stay away from alcohol, smoking, and high stress situations to keep your heart healthy.