Here’s How Healthy The Most Popular Diets Really Are

Photographed by Ruby Yeh.
Now that we're all resolving to be our healthiest selves, it's time to start finding the best way to actually do that. To that end, U.S. News & World Report just released their annual diet rankings. The publication's panel of nutritionists and physicians ranked 38 popular diets based on how healthy, easy to follow, and effective they really are. For the sixth year in a row, the panel named the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet the best diet overall. This means that the experts ranked DASH highly in all seven categories, including managing heart health, diabetes, and healthy weight loss — without any major health risks involved. The diet itself is all about cutting down on oils, fats, and salty, processed foods, and increasing your intake of lean protein, complex carbs, and fruits and veggies. This past year, for the first time, the rankings included the popular Whole30 diet. The diet is a 30-day program that cuts out several foods and food groups, including dairy, grains, legumes, alcohol, and processed foods. Unfortunately, it didn't rank so hot — number 38 overall, just behind the Paleo diet. It ranked especially low in a couple of key categories, too: It was 37th for managing both heart disease and diabetes. It also ranked 37th among the easiest diets to follow, and 17th out of the 17 commercial diets ranked. The rankings also included the Fertility diet for the first time, a diet that claims to make it easier for you to become pregnant. Interestingly, this actually ranked as the best diet for managing diabetes — partially because it eliminates trans fats. Also making its debut on the 2015 list was the MIND diet, which claims to protect against cognitive decline using a combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It was named the second best diet overall, and third for heart health. Of course, the best healthy food program is one that you'll stick to. And there isn't one magical ideal option that will fit everyone's lifestyle perfectly. So, part of the frustration (or fun!) is experimenting and finding the right one for you. And if you've been thinking about it, it's a great time to get started.

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