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Nutrition 101

Top Diets of 2015- Which Diet is Best For Overall Health?

Top Diets of 2015- Which Diet is Best For Overall Health?

A look at U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of diets.

With the holidays now firmly behind us, many Americans have started new diets in the hope of fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. According to a Marist poll, weight loss was the top resolution mentioned among Americans who planned to make a New Year’s resolution for 2015, with improving health and eating healthier also popular goals.

Just prior to year’s end, U.S. News & World Report published its annual ranking of diets to help us decide which healthy diet is the best to follow. Dieters looking for a quick fix may want to take a look at the rankings before jumping into a restrictive diet plan. The report gives high scores to balanced diet plans shown to maintain health in the long-term, while fad diets received poor marks because they can be hard to follow and leave nutritional gaps.

Which Diets Top the List?

The report once again ranks the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet at the top of the list for Best Overall Diet. The DASH diet, originally developed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to help treat high blood pressure, is high in vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts and low in red meat, alcohol, salt and sweets.

The other diets that rank at the top of the list include the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet (TLC), which was also developed by the NHLBI, along with the Mediterranean and Mayo Clinic diets, which are all nutritionally-balanced, realistic plans designed for long-term health. In alignment with SPE’s philosophy of health through food, the top-ranked diets all emphasize vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and healthy fats over saturated fat.

Which Diets are Worst?

On the other hand, the diets that ranked at the bottom of the list were overly restrictive, hard to follow and not always nutritionally sound.

Among the diets receiving the lowest marks is the Paleo diet, also known as the “caveman” diet because it is modeled after the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors. The diet is composed of meat, fish, poultry, fruits and vegetables and does not allow any grains, dairy, legumes or refined sugar. It can be difficult to follow and dieters may miss out on key nutrients because whole foods groups are eliminated.

The Dukan diet also landed at the bottom of the list because of the severely restrictive rules and heavy focus on protein at the expense of other food groups.

Which Diet Should I Choose?

So what is the bottom line? While this list provides us with valuable information, there is no “one size fits all” diet. Whether your goal is weight loss, lowering cholesterol or general health, it is important to pick a diet that fits your lifestyle and personal tastes. Restrictive plans may help you lose weight initially; however, creating lasting results requires long-term lifestyle changes.

Plans like the DASH diet and Mediterranean diet can help you improve your overall health by incorporating nutrient dense foods into a balanced diet to leave you feeling satisfied. Whichever diet you choose, remember to set realistic goals and allow yourself flexibility to make adjustments as you go along.


Which diet would you follow to help meet your weight loss or healthy eating goals? Let us know in the comments section below.



nutrition advice, nutrition facts, diets

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