Best Diets of 2018!

Nutrition experts ranked the best diets to try in 2018 — here are the top 11

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If you’re trying to prioritize healthy eating habits in 2018, remember that not all diets are created equal. Often, the ones that garner the most attention aren’t the best.For its annual list of the best diets, US News & World Report ranked 40 eating plans using criteria such as how easy the diet is to follow, its effects on weight loss (both short- and long-term), how nutritional and safe the diet is, and how well it helps prevent diabetes and heart disease.

The ranking drew on the expertise of a panel of dietitians and nutritionists, but it didn’t account for the costs associated with the diet plans or how exercise fit into the programs.

Here’s which diets ranked above the rest to make the top 10.

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No. 10 (tie): Vegetarian diet

Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider

The vegetarian diet is simple: no meat allowed.

Ideally, meat is replaced with other sources of protein, as well as fiber-packed veggies, fruits, and whole grains to help keep you feeling full.

Unlike those on a vegan diet, which ranked 19th on US News & World Report’s list, vegetarians can eat animal products like milk and eggs, which can be good sources of protein.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 10 (tie): The fertility diet

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The aim of the fertility diet is to help women who are having problems getting pregnant.

Developed by Drs. Jorge Chavarro and Walter Willett of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the fertility diet includes 10 science-backed steps to help boost fertility in women.

The plan encourages eating vegetable proteins and oils and drinking whole milk, as well as taking a multivitamin with folic acid.

The diet was named one of the easiest to follow.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 9: Ornish diet

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Developed by Dean Ornish, this diet puts food on a health spectrum — essentially, the less processed, the better.

The diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and some foods containing omega-3 fatty acids.

The diet ranked as one of the best for heart health.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 8: Mayo Clinic diet

Flickr/Rusvaplauke

Developed by the well-known research group in Rochester, Minnesota, this diet is all about breaking bad habits and replacing them with good ones. For example, a person might ban eating in front of the TV and snack only on fruits and vegetables.

The diet claims that in the first part of it, which lasts two weeks, you may lose six to 10 pounds because of the new habits.

The diet comes with its own food pyramid that puts fruits and vegetables at the bottom.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 5 (tie): Volumetrics diet

Sarah Jacobs

The Volumetrics diet — developed by Barbara Rolls, a professor of nutrition at Penn State University — categorizes foods based on density. Less dense foods, like soups or vegetables high in water, are preferred over denser ones, like pizza, cookies, and butter.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 5 (tie): TLC diet

Howard Holley/Flickr

The TLC diet, which stands for therapeutic lifestyle changes, focuses on lowering a person’s cholesterol. It emphasizes eating less saturated fat — avoiding foods like chicken with the skin on it, butter, and cheese — while eating more fruits, vegetables, skinless chicken, fish, and low-fat dairy products.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet here »

No. 5 (tie): Mind diet

AP/Alastair Grant

The Mind diet, which claimed the No. 3 spot last year, focuses on foods that help your brain — specifically those said to prevent neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s, based on large-scale studies of cognitive decline.

Berries, olive oil, nuts, and dark, leafy greens are staples of the diet.

The plan is a hybrid version of the Mediterranean and Dash diets — both of which ranked higher — focusing on their aspects that have to do with the brain.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 4: Weight Watchers diet

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After making some changes to its program, Weight Watchers has risen in the US News & World Report’s rankings in the past two years.

In December, Weight Watchers, which still uses its signature points system, introduced its new Freestyle program and deemed eggs a zero-point food, along with whole beans, peas, and nearly 50 kinds of fish.

“Very few people come to Weight Watchers because they’ve had a problem overdoing it on salmon, legumes, beans, and chicken,” Gary Foster, Weight Watchers’ chief scientific officer, previously told Business Insider. “Someone might think: ‘OK, I’m eating salmon. No sweat on that. If I’m eating chocolate cake, I know I still have to measure that.'”

The Weight Watchers diet ranked as the best one for weight loss.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 3: Flexitarian diet

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The flexitarian diet, developed by Dawn Jackson Blatner, a registered dietitian, rose in the rankings in 2018 to the No. 3 spot.

It’s geared toward those who are interested in a vegetarian diet but don’t want to give up meat entirely. It asks dieters to add “new meat,” like protein-packed tofu, beans, lentils, nuts, and eggs. But if you crave meat once in a while, it’s not a big deal.

The diet ranked as the second-easiest to follow.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 1 (tie): Dash diet

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For the eighth year in a row, the Dash diet was named the best, though the top slot was a tie this year.

Dash is an acronym for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, a common condition in the US that’s also known as abnormally high blood pressure.

The diet involves lowering your sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams a day and eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. (For reference, a single slice of pizza contains about 640 milligrams of sodium, or roughly a quarter of that limit.)

“The Dash diet is really a safe plan for everyone,” Angela Haupt, an assistant managing editor of health at US News & World Report, told Business Insider in 2016. “There’s nothing exciting about it, and that’s what makes it a good plan. It’s not some fad diet making outlandish claims that you can’t rely on.”

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

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Vegetarian diets cleared the top 10 in the 2017 ranking, up from No. 13 in 2016. The diet is simple: no meat allowed. Ideally, the meat is replaced with more vegetables, which could help you feel fuller.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 10 (TIE): Ornish diet

wordridden/Flickr

Developed by Dr. Dean Ornish, this diet looks at food on a “spectrum,” with some things being healthier than others — essentially, the less processed the better. The diet emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and some fat if it contains omega-3 fatty acids.

The diet was also ranked one of the best for heart health.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 10 (TIE): Jenny Craig diet

Jenny Craig

Known for its celebrity spokespeople, including Kirstie Alley and Mariah Carey, the Jenny Craig diet uses weight-control counseling and prepared meals that can either be delivered or picked up at a Jenny Craig location.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 8 (TIE): Volumetrics diet

Hui Lin

Volumetrics is a diet developed by Penn State University nutrition professor Barbara Rolls. It categorizes foods based on density, with less dense foods — like soups or vegetables high in water — preferred over pizza, cookies, and butter.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 8 (TIE): Fertility diet

nateone/Flickr

The aim of the fertility diet is to help women who are having problems getting pregnant. Developed by Drs. Jorge Chavarro and Walter Willett of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the fertility diet includes 10 science-backed steps to help boost fertility in women. The steps emphasize eating vegetable proteins and oils and drinking a glass of whole milk. The plan also suggests taking a multivitamin that contains folic acid.

The diet was also named one of the easiest diets to follow.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 4 (TIE): Weight Watchers diet

Oprah Winfrey/Weight Watchers, Twitter

Weight Watchers rose through the US News & World Report’s rankings in 2017 because of the company’s switch to its Beyond the Scale program.

“The way we think about it is that we used to have a very narrow focus on weight, and now weight is one of things we focus on but it’s not the only thing,” Gary Foster, Weight Watchers’ chief scientific officer, told Time magazine in late 2015. “The consumer sentiment is, ‘I still want to lose weight, but I’m thinking about in a more holistic way.”

Weight Watchers still uses its signature points system.

The Weight Watchers diet also ranked as the best diet for weight loss.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 4 (TIE): TLC diet

Howard Holley/Flickr

The TLC diet, which stands for therapeutic lifestyle changes, is all about lowering cholesterol above all else. It emphasizes eating less food with saturated fat — like chicken with the skin on it, butter, and cheese — while eating more fruits, vegetables, skinless chicken, fish, and low-fat dairy products.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet here »

No. 4 (TIE): Mayo Clinic diet

Flickr/Rusvaplauke

The diet, developed by the research group in Rochester, Minnesota, is all about breaking bad habits and replacing them with good habits. In the first part of the diet, which lasts two weeks, you may lose six to 10 pounds because of the new habits, the diet claims. The diet comes with its own food pyramid that puts fruits and vegetables at the bottom.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 4: (TIE) Flexitarian diet

Lauren Feld

The flexitarian diet, developed by the registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, is geared toward those interested in being vegetarian but don’t want to give up meat entirely. It asks dieters to add “new meat” to their diets, like protein-packed tofu, beans, lentils, nuts, and eggs. But if you’re craving meat once in a while, it’s not a big deal.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 3: MIND diet

AP/Alastair Grant

The MIND diet, which claimed the No. 2 spot last year, focuses on foods meant to help your brain, specifically those said to prevent neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s. It’s a hybrid version of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, focusing on the aspects of those diets that have to do with the brain.

Berries, olive oil, nuts, and dark, leafy greens are staples of the diet, based on large-scale studies of cognitive decline.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 2: Mediterranean diet

Flickr/neeta_lind

The Mediterranean diet is modeled on foods commonly eaten in countries along the Mediterranean Sea. It’s typically high in fruits and vegetables, fish, and whole grains like whole wheat and brown rice.

US News & World Report also named it the best plant-based diet of the 38 considered, and it was among the easiest to follow.

More on what US News & World Report experts thought of this diet »

No. 1: DASH diet

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For the seventh year in a row, the DASH diet was named the best. DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. Hypertension, otherwise known as abnormally high blood pressure, is a common condition in the US.

The diet relies on lowering your sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams a day, along with eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. (For reference, a single slice of pizza contains about 640 milligrams of sodium, roughly a quarter of that sodium limit.)

“The DASH diet is really a safe plan for everyone,” Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health at US News & World Report, told Business Insider in 2016. “There’s nothing exciting about it, and that’s what makes it a good plan. It’s not some fad diet making outlandish claims that you can’t rely on.”

In addition to being crowned the overall best diet, the DASH diet was also deemed the best diet for healthy eating, the best diet for people with diabetes, and one of the best heart-healthy diets.

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