Why the Mediterranean Diet Is Considered the Best Diet of 2019

It outranks all the others for the second year in a row.

January 31, 2019

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With the New Year come a slew of diets you may just want to try. Whole30, Keto, vegan and more! Every year US News & World Report releases their Best Diets rankings, and for the second year in a row the Mediterranean diet beat DASH diet for the top spot. Wondering why the Mediterranean diet keeps winning out over the trendy DASH diet? Here's a breakdown.

The Mediterranean Diet

Research has shown that folks living in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less from cancer and heart issues. However, the Mediterranean diet is more of a lifestyle then an exact eating plan and what's consumed on the diet varies regionally. The main foods consumed on a Mediterranean Diet include fish, herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables and grains. Eating a small amount of red meat is also encouraged, as is regular exercise and enjoying meals with family and friends.

The Mediterranean diet is a well-balanced eating plan that does not eliminate food groups, according to the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans, which is common on many other diet plans.

The DASH Diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) was created by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in order to help prevent and lower high blood pressure. The diet encourages nutrients like calcium, potassium, fiber and protein, which have been shown to help lower blood pressure. In addition, DASH Diet promotes eating a variety of foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. Red meat, along with high fat and high sugar foods are discouraged, and a reducing sodium intake is encouraged.

The DASH Diet was so successful with those suffering from high blood pressure, that it was then promoted as a weight-loss diet.

What Makes the Mediterranean Diet Better?

Both plans ranked extremely high in the healthy category (4.9 for the Mediterranean diet vs. 4.8 for the DASH diet), and came neck-in-neck for successful short- and long-term weight loss. However, the Mediterranean Plan wins out in its ease to follow. The DASH diet is very tedious in terms of counting servings from numerous food groups, which may make it tougher for some folks to follow. Overall, both plans are good ones and if you’re looking to get the best of both worlds, Marla Heller’s latest book The DASH Diet Mediterranean Solution just released December 28, 2018 can help guide you.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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