Narrowing down the best diets for 2021 is no easy task, but a team of experts compiled by US News & World Report have done just that with their newly released list.
The website explains that they spent months pouring over research and consulting health professionals with specialties in nutrition, food psychology, diabetes, heart disease, and more. They looked at how easy certain diets are to follow, whether they produce short- or long-term weight loss, how safe they are, and the potential health benefits.
After all of that, it’s no surprise that the Mediterranean diet has once again topped the rankings of overall best diets. Aside from this latest assessment, it seems like a new study emerges daily showing how it helps with things like gut health, maintaining strong bones, warding off depression, and keeping our brains sharp as we age. US News & World Report reminds us that this can be achieved by eating a diet low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fat, but high in fresh produce and nuts.
The next two diets on their list actually tied for second place: The DASH diet and flexitarian diet. The first one stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension” and, as you can probably guess, focuses on heart health by leaning into food that lowers our blood pressure. “It emphasizes the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), which are high in blood pressure-deflating nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber,” US News & World Report explains. “DASH also discourages foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods and tropical oils, as well as sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.”
As for flexitarian, the “mostly vegetarian” diet is seen as a nice middle-ground for those who want to up their plant-based food intake, but aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to meat entirely. Following this eating plan has been shown to not only help with shedding pounds, but also keep diabetes at bay thanks to all the fiber and antioxidants typically found in veggies.
And although weight loss might happen on any of those diets, the real goal of each is to simply live a long, healthy life by eating delicious, nutrient-rich food. You can check out US News & World Report for more of their expert breakdown of these diets and more before deciding which one is best for your own personal needs.