When it comes to overhauling your eating, there’s an overwhelming amount of methods available. But fortunately, a panel of health experts – on behalf of U.S. News and World Report – have done us a favour and narrowed down the options to reveal the top-rated diets for 2018.
New year, new you, coming right up.
DASH – which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension – is an eating plan created by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute that works to prevent and lower high blood pressure (hypertension). It prioritises whole foods like vegetables, fruits and grains, as well as fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and heart healthy fats.
“Unlike many popular diets, there’s really not a huge focus on eliminating starches,” Doctor Reshmi Srinath told Women’s Health. “What most studies have found is that dieting is really about sustainability – so the people who lose the most weight are those who are able to maintain a diet and keep up with it," she says. "A big issue with a lot of the low-carb diets out there is that it’s really, really hard to limit carbs completely. That’s why I think DASH is more palatable to people."
2. Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet an eating pattern rather than a structured plan, which has been found to have significant benefits for weight loss, heart health, brain boosting and cancer prevention, to name a few. It posits that people living in areas around the Mediterranean Sea live longer and healthier lives than many others around the world. This is put down to their diet, which is low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat, and high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, olive oil and seafood. Plus, they’re all for a cheeky glass of red wine every now and then.
3. The Flexitarian diet
Being a flexitarian – a flexible vegetarian – involves cutting back on your meat consumption, without completely restricting it from your diet. Research shows that vegetarians tend to eat fewer calories, weigh less and have a lower body mass index than meat-eaters, and by following a mostly plant-based diet you can still reap these huge health benefits.
4. Weight Watchers diet
Weight Watchers is a flexible weight loss program that assigns food a SmartPoints value based on its nutritional profile. You have 200 at your disposal each day with healthy foods costing less and unhealthy ones (high in sugar and saturated fat) costing more. Throughout the process, Weight Watchers provides in-person meetings, online chat rooms and phone support to keep you on track.
5. MIND diet
MIND stands for the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay and it combines the brain boosting components of both diets that are proven to help prevent Alzheimer's disease. It highlights 10 foods to focus on: green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. Plus five foods to ditch: red meat, butter and margarine, pastries and sweets, fried food, and cheese.