The world has grown fat with diet choices – from Weight Watchers to keto and countless more.
But here’s the skinny: One diet stands above the rest, according to a group of experts.
The Mediterranean Diet was the clear winner in this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings of the best diets.
A group 25 renowned nutritionists, dietary consultants and physicians examined diets and graded them in several categories. The Mediterranean Diet came out on top as:
- Best diet overall
- Best diet for healthy eating (tied with DASH Diet)
- Best diabetes diet (tied with a few other diets)
- Easiest diet to follow
- Best plant-based diet
The fact that experts praise the Mediterranean Diet is no surprise to Israeli-born Toby Amidor, a registered dietitian and author of “The Best Rotisserie Chicken Cookbook: Over 100 Tasty Recipes Using A Store-Bought Bird.”
“The Mediterranean Diet has a ton of options available, so you will never get bored,” she says. “It is a diet that I grew up following.”
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
Followers of the diet also try to limit their intake of red meat, sugar and saturated fat, although these foods can be enjoyed occasionally.
The diet also allows for poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt that are consumed in moderation.
“Wine is encouraged, though not required,” Amidor says, noting that women should have no more than a glass a day, and men should have no more than two glasses.
Why is the Mediterranean Diet good for you?
Amidor notes that the diet is based on research showing that people who live in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and have a lower risk of diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Potential benefits of following the Mediterranean Diet include:
- Weight loss
- Enhanced brain and heart health
- Reduced risk of cancer prevention
- Control and prevention of diabetes
“The Mediterranean Diet is more like a lifestyle, as opposed to a strict daily regimen,” Amidor says. “Compared to other diets like keto and Whole30, the Mediterranean Diet it is much less restrictive.”
Tips for how to follow the Mediterranean Diet
Amidor says many types of food work well with the Mediterranean Diet, even when you are on the go or dining out.
“The diet does not eliminate any food groups, so you can easily find foods you love that fit the plan,” she says.
However, there are some cautions to keep in mind. For example, the diet suggests 2 servings or milk and dairy – less than the 3 servings in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
If you are a meat lover who is reluctant to give up hamburgers or pork chops, try the Mediterranean Diet anyway.
“Because of increased trimming practices over the last few decades, there are more lean and very lean cuts of beef, pork and lamb available,” Amidor says. These can be safely incorporated into your Mediterranean Diet, she adds.
In fact, the flexibility of the Mediterranean Diet makes it a great choice for almost anyone. Amidor says many meal choices that work with the diet can be found at her website.
“The Mediterranean Diet is really one of the least strict diets compared to many of the others, so lots of options are available on this plan,” Amidor says.
If you want some fried chicken and fries, simply opt for a small portion and compliment it with fruits and vegetables, she says.
“Your best bet is to plan in advance for these sorts of situations so you can enjoy the food you want without going overboard or feeling guilty,” Amidor says.