For the fourth year in a row, U.S News & World Report named the Mediterranean diet best! The Mediterranean diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from olive oil. These are all great things to eat!
Best Diets Overall in 2021
The Mediterranean diet outranks all other diets as the best overall diet in 2021. The Mediterranean diet is based on the traditional eating patterns of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, emphasizing whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats from olive oil.
The other best diets in 2021 in the overall category were the DASH diet and the Flexitarian diet. The DASH diet has dietary choices that combat high blood pressure. Whereas, Flexitarian diet encourages vegetarian eating but is flexible enough to allow occasional indulgences.
What do all of these three diets have in common?
All these three diets urge us to reduce or eliminate processed foods. They focus on meals full of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
Mediterranean diet Vs. DASH Diet
Both diets comprise fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. The two diets share similar health benefits, including lowering heart disease, stroke and managing high blood pressure. For example, both diets promote eating lots of fruits and veggies.
The DASH diet emphasizes lowering the consumption of salt, fat, sweets, and high-sodium foods. In contrast, the Mediterranean diet encourages eating more fish, poultry, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
Worst Diets 2021
The Dukan and keto diets came in last and second last in the diet rankings of 2021. Both of these diets emphasize eating high-protein or high-fat foods with minimal carbohydrates.
The Dukan and keto diets are typically rated poorly by experts because they eliminate entire food groups, not recommended by dietary guidelines. Furthermore, they are highly restrictive and hard to follow.
Ranking Criteria of best diets 2021
Health and weight loss experts scored each diet on several different criteria:
- how easy it is to follow
- how fit it is for long-term weight loss
- how healthful and safe it is
- how useful it is at preventing or managing chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease
Best Diets 2021 in Plant-Based Category
In analyzing the best plant-based diets in 2021, experts rank the Mediterranean diet as the best plant-based diet. The Flexitarian came in second place, and the Nordic Diet took third. The Nordic diet promotes eating locally sourced, low-glycemic foods.
Best diets 2021 in a heart-healthy diet Category
The Mediterranean diet also outranks in the heart-healthy diets category. It’s among three diets named the best for heart health, on par with the DASH and Ornish.
Dr. Dean Ornish created the Ornish diet in 1977 to build a healthier community and improve overall health in Americans. Ornish says the diet is scientifically proven and will reverse heart disease without drugs or surgery. However, experts criticize it for being difficult to follow.
Best Diabetes Diet 2021
The Mediterranean diet is also stood first, along with the Flexitarian diet in the best diabetes diet. The scientific studies found that both diets significantly decreased the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Some research suggests that people with diabetes may improve their blood sugar levels or hemoglobin A1C over time when following a Mediterranean diet.
Easiest and healthiest Diets 2021
The Mediterranean diet is also the winner in the healthiest and easiest diets category and WW (Weight Watchers) and DASH.
So many awards to the Mediterranean diet aren’t surprising at all.
Many studies have already proved that eating a Mediterranean diet may reduce the risk of diabetes, high cholesterol, dementia, memory loss, depression, and breast cancer. This special diet is also linked to stronger bones and longer life.
Best overall diet for weight loss
This category was most concerned about the long-term and short-term weight loss success. The popular WW diet took joint 1st place alongside the Flexitarian diet.
Weight Watchers, clinching first place in the best commercial diet category, has an important factor in following any diet: support.
The plan offers not only personal guidance meetings but also optional one-on-one consultants. Along with these two components is a third necessity: a strong online community.
Experts say programs such as WW provide emotional support and in-person group meetings, leading to improved compliance rates compared with a do-it-yourself diet.
What is a Mediterranean diet?
The Mediterranean diet consists of pure plant-based food. It majorly focuses on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, and seeds, with a few nuts and high stress on extra virgin olive oil.
You’ll also say goodbye to refined sugar and flour. Fats other than olive oil, including butter, are rarely used.
Mediterranean diet meals will rarely consist of any meat but can include eggs, dairy, or poultry. Fish is a must, though. It’s not just a diet; it’s a lifestyle!
It encourages mindful eating and exercise to live a healthy lifestyle. It also promotes eating with friends or family while being social over meals for increased happiness.
Dos Donts of Mediterranean Diet
What can you eat on Mediterranean Diet?
- Olive oil is a key cooking staple in Mediterranean dishes and serves as a dressing for many salads.
- Load up on whole grains to kick start your Mediterranean diet.
- Eat fish and seafood at least twice a week.
- Wine, though in moderation, and water are common Mediterranean beverages.
- The Mediterranean food pyramid emphasizes fruits and vegetables. Fill up at least twice a week on plant foods.
There’s no hard-fast rule, but there’s some Don’ts of the Mediterranean diet:
What can’t you eat on Mediterranean Diet?
- Avoid excessive or processed meat.
- High-fat dairy products, such as cream and cheese, are not included in the Mediterranean diet.
- Sugar and sweets are also not a part of this diet.
- Avoid processed foods that contain unhealthy fats or too much sodium.
- Red meat should be used in moderation, just to give zest to the dish, not to dominate the dish.
What foods should you limit on Mediterranean Diet?
- A limited number of eggs and poultry in the diet, so which means fewer animal fats.
- Consume cheese and yogurt, common in the classical Mediterranean diet, in proportionate quantities.
How to begin and stay on the Mediterranean diet: one of the healthiest diets known
How to get started?
Cook one meal per week with beans, whole grains, and vegetables, using herbs and spices to make it interesting. Start adding 2 meals a week once this is easy for you. Then gradually add more meals per week until you’re eating 3-4 Mediterranean meals a week.
Add Ancient Grains
Ancients grains are those that have remained largely unchanged over the centuries. They are a key element of the Mediterranean diet. Examples include Quinoa, amaranth, millet, farro, Kamut (wheat grain found in an Egyptian tomb), and teff (a super-tiny grain).
Cut out on Meat
Eat meat in small amounts. That means no more than 3 ounces of chicken or lean meat per meal. What’s even better is to use small chunks of chicken or slices of lean meat to flavor a veggie-based meal, such as a stir fry.
Avoid sugary desserts. Mediterranean cultures typically finish off meals with seasonal fruits.
Get Creative with Fruits
Get creative with your raw fruits.
- Boil pears in pomegranate juice with a sprig of rosemary and a bit of honey. Reduce the sauce by boiling it, then pour over Greek yogurt to serve.
- Grill pineapples or any other seasonal fruits and drizzle with honey.
- Load a fig or date with goat cheese, top with either almonds, walnuts, cashews, or pecans.
- Create a whole-wheat fruit tart with your favorite fruits.
The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest diets known to humans. Research shows that it reduces chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Many people find it hard to stick with a new diet for long periods because they feel deprived or too restricted by their food choices.
The key to sticking with diets is finding foods that you enjoy eating. While keeping in mind, the types of oils used to cook food and how often vegetables are on one plate.
Feel free to experiment with different versions but keep these guidelines in mind when starting a Mediterranean diet. Eat plenty of veggies at every meal, including fish once per week, use olive oil liberally instead of butter or margarine, and enjoy the food!