It’s a new year, which means that many people are pledging to slim down or eat healthier in 2018. Now, new annual rankings from U.S. News & World Report reveal that the best diets for 2018 is a tie, with the Mediterranean Diet and DASH Diet in first place.
U.S. News enlisted the help of a panel of food and health experts to rank 40 diets on a variety of measures, like how easy it is to follow, the diet’s ability to help a person lose weight in the short and long term, safety and more. The company then converted the expert’s rankings into scores that allowed them to determine the top diets. Beyond best overall diet, the experts also ranked the best diets for weight loss, healthy eating and more.
The lowest ranking diets were the Keto Diet and the Dukan Diet, which tied for last place. People who follow the Keto Diet slash carbs and fill up on fats in order to help the body enter of state of “ketosis,” where the body breaks down fat. The Dukan Diet is a rule-heavy plan that goes in stages, including a phase of eating a lot of protein. The experts rated both diets as hard to follow
Here’s what U.S. News calls the best diet plans for 2018:
The DASH diet was designed to help people lower their high blood pressure, and it’s characterized by a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. People on this diet are told to avoid saturated fat, sugary beverages, sweets, full-fat dairy and some oils—and to eat less salt overall.
The diet gets its name from the eating habits of people living in Mediterranean countries and has been linked to better health and longevity. The Mediterranean Diet meal plan is high in fruits and vegetables, as well as healthy fatty foods like fish, nuts and olive oil.
A blend of the words flexible and vegetarian, the Flexitarian diet encourages people to eat vegetarian most of the time for better health, but doesn’t call for cutting out meat entirely.
Weight Watchers is an especially popular diet, promoted by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey. It works on a points system, where each food is given a number of points, and people are told a total number to aim for each day. Foods that are high in nutrients and are filling have fewer points overall. Sweets, on the other hand, are high in points.
The MIND—a mix of DASH and the Mediterranean diet—is supposed to help protect the brain and prevent Alzheimer’s disease, though much more research is needed to determine whether it really helps curb brain decline. People are encouraged to eat from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. They are also told to avoid foods from five food groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, sweets and fried or fast food.
Tied for fifth place, the TLC (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) diet is meant to help people cut down on high cholesterol. Adherents cut down on fat overall, especially saturated fat. They are also encouraged to eat more fiber.
People who follow the volumetrics diet—also tied for fifth place—are told to pay attention to the energy density in foods, which is the number of calories in a certain amount of food. Foods that have high energy density will have lots of calories for a little amount of food, whereas low energy density foods have fewer calories for more food.