Mediterranean Diet Ranked No. 1 by Experts

As people resolve to lose weight and lead a healthier lifestyle in the new year, experts recommend the Mediterranean diet as the way to go.

U.S. News and World Report’s panel of experts—”including nutritionists and specialists in diabetes, heart health, human behavior and weight loss”—determined that the Mediterranean diet comes out on top based on factors including safety, nutritional value, sustainability, good for weight loss, and helpful in preventing heart disease and diabetes.

The diet received an overall score of 4.2/5. In addition to earning the overall number one spot, it also ranked first place in best diabetes diets, best diets for healthy eating, best heart-healthy diets, best plant-based diets, and easiest diets to follow.

“With its emphasis on fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare, the Mediterranean diet is eminently sensible. And experts’ assessments of it were resoundingly positive, giving this diet an edge over many competitors,” according to the results.

Research has found positive outcomes associated with adherence to the Mediterranean diet. A 2016 study published in JAMA found it may reduce the risk of hip fracture in women, and a 2017 International Journal of Cancer study said it could help women may prevent breast cancer. A 2018 Molecular Psychiatry study found the Mediterranean diet may help stave off depression. Several studies have also found the Mediterranean diet may prevent hypertension, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

The Mediterranean diet is not a specific one but rather is based on certain general guidelines. Oldways, a nonprofit organization, created a Mediterranean diet food pyramid along with the Harvard School of Public Health. The base of the pyramid doesn’t start with food—instead, it encourages those adhering to the diet to “Be physically active” and “enjoy meals with others.”

When it comes to dietary guidelines, according to the report:

“The pyramid emphasizes eating fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavorful herbs and spices; fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt in moderation, while saving sweets and red meat for special occasions. Top it off with a splash of red wine (if you want), remember to stay physically active and you’re set.”

The diet is mostly considered safe for everyone.

Mediterranean Diet and Knee Cartilage Morphology

Revised Estimates: Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease with the Mediterranean Diet

High adherence to a Mediterranean diet and lower risk of frailty among French older adults community-dwellers: Results from the Three-City-Bordeaux Study

Source: U.S. News & World Report