This year, U.S. News, with the help of more than 30 nutritionists, doctors, and epidemiologists, ranked 24 diets in several categories to help people find a plan that meets their goals, whether it’s finding the best weight loss diet, easiest one to follow, or plans for other goals, such as managing diabetes or heart disease. Two new categories were added: Best Diets for Bone & Joint Health and Best Family-Friendly Diets.
In previous years, the publication ranked 40 diets. Even if a diet is no longer ranked, its profile with detailed information remains on the site.
“Each year we ask ourselves what we can do better or differently next time,” says Gretel Schueller, managing editor of health for U.S. News. When the publication got feedback from their experts this year, they had requests to consider sustainability of diets and whether they meet a busy family’s needs, in addition to considering many other factors.
This year’s report ranks plans in 11 categories.
The winners and the categories:
Best Diets Overall
- Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and fish.
- DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which fights high blood pressure and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy.
- Flexitarian diet, which focuses on fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods but also allows occasional meat.
Best Weight Loss Diets
WW, formerly known as Weight Watchers, got first place. The plan emphasizes not only weight loss but healthier eating and regular activity. The Points program, which assigns specific points to foods, with a daily Points budget, is more personalized than in the past.
- DASH got second place.
- Mayo Clinic Diet and TLC diet tied for third place. The Mayo Clinic Diet focuses on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It helps people improve their eating habits. The TLC diet (Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes) focuses on vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and reducing cholesterol levels.
Best Fast Weight Loss Diets
The keto diet got first place. It’s a high-fat, low-carb diet that aims to achieve weight loss through fat burning. Four others tied for second place:
- Atkins, a diet created by the cardiologist Robert Atkins, begins with very few carbs and then recommends progressively eating more until the weight loss goal is achieved
- Nutrisystem is a commercial program that includes prepackaged meals and focuses on high-protein, lower-glycemic foods to stabilize blood sugar levels
- Optavia is a plan focused on low-carb, low-calorie foods and includes fortified meal replacements
- SlimFast Diet, is a plan of shakes, smoothies, and meal bars to replace two or three meals a day
Best Diets for Healthy Eating
Best Heart-Healthy Diets
- Flexitarian and Ornish tied for third. The Ornish Diet focuses on plant-based and whole foods and limiting animal products. It recommends daily exercise and stress reduction.
Best Diets for Diabetes
Best Diets for Bone and Joint Health
DASH and Mediterranean are in a first-place tie, followed by the flexitarian diet.
Best Family-Friendly Diets
This category has a three-way tie: the flexitarian, Mediterranean, and TLC diets.
Best Plant-Based Diets
Mediterranean was first, then flexitarian and the MIND diet. The MIND diet combines the DASH and Mediterranean diets and focuses on “brain-healthy” foods.
Easiest Diets to Follow
Flexitarian and TLC tied for first, followed by a tie between DASH and Mediterranean.