The ‘best diets’ for 2022 aren’t really diets

The ‘best diets’ for 2022 aren’t really diets

Every year, in a flurry of New Years resolutions, Google searches reliably spike for the search term “best diets.” And every year the US News & World Report delivery.

By 2022, their top rankings in categories such as “Best Overall Diets,” “Easiest Diets to Follow,” “Best Diabetes Diets,” and “Best Heart-Healthy Diets” reflect a long-term trend. toward eating patterns and flexibility. crash diets.

Perhaps, experts suggest, a reckoning with the “diet” concept is already being made, although some well-known brands (Atkins, Keto) retained some of the top spots.

In six of nine categories, the “Mediterranean diet,” which emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fats from sources like nuts and seeds, ranked first, including the best overall diet.

“Many people, when they try to choose a ‘diet’, that usually means short term, it means that it is not sustainable, it means that it could wreak havoc on the body if it is not maintained,” said Fatima Cody Stanford. MD, MPH, MPA, MBA, from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.

“The Mediterranean ‘diet’ is not a diet, it is just a way of eating,” said Stanford, who was one of 27 experts selected by US News this year to classify the 40 “diets” considered in the race.

Tied for second and third overall were DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and flexitarian diets, which also appear at the top in six other categories. The DASH diet also emphasizes vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, but is specifically geared toward reducing hypertension by reducing sodium. The flexitarian “diet” is similar but framed as vegetarianism with some flexibility.

What do classifications like these mean in the context of professional dietary advice?

Kevin Klatt, PhD, RD, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, who serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, says the definition of “diet” is complicated. “It’s a misnomer. I really shouldn’t [mean] a dietary pattern. ‘Diet’ is like a four letter word in nutrition space, kind of like an intensive diet. “

He and Stanford said medical and nutrition specialists are unlikely to recommend a specific “brand” diet anyway. This is because the way an individual approaches health through dietary changes is highly variable – everything from psychology, income, genetics, and the built environment affects diet, and different bodies can respond differently to the same diets. One size does not fit all.

And diets only tend to work for the length of time you’re on one. People do not tend to follow a highly regulated diet for long. Commercial weight loss programs like WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and Jenny Craig, Klatt noted, have high recidivism rates.

“A lot of people don’t prescribe so much named dietary patterns. Like it’s totally useless to tell someone, ‘Yes, eat a Mediterranean diet,'” Klatt said. “Most people just see where they are, what their goals are with their current eating patterns, and recommend things that they can modify and try. That varies depending on what their blood chemistry looks like or their current weight and body composition is.”

According to these experts, healthy eating has less to do with the name of the diet one chooses to follow and more to do with a personal approach that takes into account the specific desired health, environment and culture outcomes. In many cases, Klatt and Stanford said, it all comes down to what a person is already familiar with and can afford, as well as trying diet changes that can be reliably maintained.

In addition, the diets selected as contenders for US News and its selected panelists, including big names in nutrition, diabetes, heart health and obesity, leaned heavily toward a particular demographic.

“The Mediterranean tends to stand out year after year after year, but if you look at it, it is quite Eurocentric. The process, the people who investigate [the diets]They tend to be white researchers, “Stanford said.” It’s something that I consider someone who works with a very diverse patient population. “

“It goes back to that personalization. I’m not going to tell a 12-year-old transgender boy who is being raised by people from Afghanistan the same as I tell a 55-year-old white woman who is the heir to billions,” Stanford said. “There’s nothing in those conversations that’s really going to be the same, other than I’ll say ‘lean protein, whole grains, fruits, veggies.’

Below is a list of diet rankings into nine categories, after expert panelists rated 40 diets on a scale of one to five for seven categories as “Long-term weight loss”, “Ease of compliance”, “Health risks” and “Nutritional integrity”.

The best diets overall

1. Mediterranean diet

2. DASH diet (tie)

2. Flexitarian diet (tie)

4. MIND diet

5. TLC diet (tie)

5. Mayo Clinic Diet (tie)

5. Volumetric (tie)

5. WW (Weight Watchers) (tie)

Best diet programs

1. Mayo Clinic Diet (tie)

1. WW (tie)

3. Jenny Craig

4. Noom diet

5. Nutritious diet

The best diets for weight loss

1. Flexitarista (tie)

1. Volumetric (tie)

1. WW (tie)

4. Vegan diet

5. Mayo Clinic Diet (tie)

5. Ornish diet (tie)

5. Jenny Craig (tie)

5. Raw food diet (tie)

5. Vegetarian diet (tie)

The best fast diets for weight loss

1. Atkins

2. HMR diet (tie)

2. OPTAVIA (tie)

4. The diet of the biggest loser (tie)

4. Ketogenic diet (tie)

4. WW (tie)

The best diets for healthy eating

1. Mediterranean diet

2. DASH diet (tie)

2. Flexitarian diet (tie)

4. MIND diet

5. TLC diet (tie)

5. Nordic diet (tie)

5. Volumetric (tie)

5. WW (tie)

Easier to follow diets

1. Mediterranean diet

2. Flexitarian diet

3. Fertility diet (tie)

3. MIND diet (tie)

3. WW (tie)

The best diets for diabetes

1. Mediterranean diet

2. Flexitarian diet (tie)

2. Vegan diet (tie)

4. Mayo Clinic diet

5. DASH diet (tie)

5. MIND diet (tie)

5. Vegetarian diet (tie)

The best heart-healthy diets

1. Mediterranean diet (tie)

1. Ornish diet (tie)

3. DASH diet

4. Flexitarian diet (tie)

4. TLC diet (tie)

4. Vegan diet (tie)

The best plant-based diets

1. Mediterranean diet

2. Flexitarian diet

3. Vegetarian diet

4. Nordic diet (tie)

4. Ornish diet (tie)

US News & World Report defines “diet” as a pattern around eating according to a particular set of guidelines with the goal of losing weight or improving health.

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    Sophie Putka is a research and business writer for MedPage Today. His work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Discover, Business Insider, Inverse, Cannabis Wire, and more. He joined MedPage Today in August 2021. Follow

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