The Top 10 Diets: Is One Right for You?

To some, diets are a religion. And for others, they’re practically a 4-letter word. A registered dietitian breaks down the highlights and potential red flags associated with the most popular programs out there.

Photo By: a_namenko

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: alexkich

Photo By: 4kodiak

Photo By: haoliang

Photo By: fcafotodigital

Photo By: lionvision

Photo By: marilyna

Photo By: Tara Donne

Photo By: courtneyk

MIND Diet

Eat for your brain and your waistline. A mash-up of elements from the Mediterranean and DASH plans, the MIND diet is about mindful eating for a better brain and body. Foods including berries, leafy greens, nuts and fish are encouraged to help with weight management and the reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Whole30

A relative newbie to the diet world, the Whole30 plan has taken social media by storm. One of the most restrictive diets in the astrosphere, this plan says so long to sugar, grains, dairy, legumes and alcohol for a 30-day fix to better health. Learn more about the pros and cons of following this plan for the long haul, and get plan-approved recipes here.

Macros

Monitoring carbohydrates, protein and fats (a.k.a. the macronutrients) is certainly not a new concept. But this plan involves keeping a strict daily tally from each group to help support personal needs to for metabolism and exercise. Following it can promote a balanced way of eating, but may drive dieters crazy with all the daily calculations.

Paleo

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ve heard about this plan which shuns grains, dairy, legumes and salt. Since it is so restrictive, followers may need to consider the long-term health implications.

Low FODMAPs

Another diet gaining major momentum is a style of eating developed to help control digestive distress. FODMAPs stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols: fancy words for naturally-existing elements in foods known to be problematic for those with digestive issues. Whether your goals are less tummy troubles or weight loss, following this restrictive, yet clean eating pattern may be something to consider.

Mediterranean

Another top-rated diet, this sensible plan promotes plant-based foods, healthy oils, spices and seafood for weight loss and disease prevention. Eating like they do in the Med seems to be paying off for many dieters.

Intermittent Fasting

There are various ways to execute this program, but the bottom line is you will spend long periods of time far away from food. The logic behind Intermittent Fasting is that limiting calories to about 500 per day for days at a time promotes weight loss and increased longevity. While there is some science to back it up, the dramatic shift in eating habits (and the side effects that come along with fasting) is more than most people will want to handle.

Mayo Clinic Diet

A next generation take on calorie counting and portion control, this plan promotes non-starchy carbs and high-fiber foods. Good fats reign supreme, and like most other diets, processed junk foods don’t make the approved list.

DASH

This plan is consistently a top-ranked diet by U.S. News and World Report, and the best diet overall for 2017. An acronym for “Dietary Approached to Stop Hypertension,” the DASH diet was created to help lower high blood pressure, but the recommendations are solid for all around healthy eating. A balance of whole grain, fruits, vegetables, nonfat or low fat dairy and lean protein are what this plan is all about.

Weight Watchers

Tried and true, this is one of the only diets in existence with a substantial amount of science to back it up. Behavior modification and nutrition education are cornerstones of this basic, calorie controlled, all-foods-fit plan.