Best Diets 2018: Expert Rankings

The DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet have been ranked as joint 'Best Overall' diet.

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet (or ‘DASH’) and the Mediterranean diet have been ranked as joint ‘Best Overall’ diet by US News and World Report.

An expert panel assessed 40 diets to come up with their final results, examining the evidence behind each diet’s claims, the short-term and long-term weight loss associated with the diet, how easy the diet is to follow, how well each diet conforms to current nutrition standards, and the health risks it may pose.

DASH and the Mediterranean diet also tied for top spot in the ‘Best Diets for Healthy Eating’ category with DASH ranked number 1 in ‘Best Heart-Healthy Diets’. The DASH diet was initially developed with funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health to help lower blood pressure. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy foods. It is rich in potassium, calcium, fiber and protein.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that reducing sodium intake and adhering to DASH lowered systolic blood pressure (SBP) in adults with pre- and stage 1 hypertension. “SBP reductions in adults with the highest levels of SBP (≥150 mm Hg) were striking and reinforce the importance of both sodium reduction and the DASH diet in this high-risk group,” the authors concluded.

“This [result] is especially gratifying now that new research underscores the significant blood-pressure lowering effects of a reduced intake of sodium in combination with the DASH diet,” said Janet de Jesus, MS, program officer at NHLBI’s Center for Translation Research and Implementation Science.

Of the 40 diets assessed, the Whole30 Diet (#37), the Dukan Diet (#39), and the Keto diet (#39) were at the bottom of the list.

The researchers claim their analysis, “puts hard numbers on the common-sense belief that no diet is ideal for everybody.”

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Here is the full list of diet categories and their rankings:

Best Diets Overall

1. DASH diet (tie)

1. Mediterranean (tie)

Best Weight-Loss Diets

1. Weight Watchers

2. Volumetrics

Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets

1. HMR Program (tie)

1. Weight Watchers (tie)

Best Diabetes Diets

1. Mediterranean

2. DASH diet

Best Heart-Healthy Diets

1. DASH diet

2. Mediterranean (tie)

2. Ornish Diet (tie)

Best Commercial Diet Plans

1. Weight Watchers

2. Jenny Craig

Best Diets for Healthy Eating

1. DASH diet (tie)

1. Mediterranean (tie)

Easiest Diets to Follow

1. Mediterranean

2. Flexitarian (tie)

2. Weight Watchers (tie)

Best Plant-Based Diets

1. Mediterranean

2. Flexitarian


Haupt A. What is the ‘best diet’ for you? US News. January 3, 2018.

This article originally appeared on MPR