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Best 7 Diets Overall

DASH Diet

#1 in Best Diets Overall | Overall Score 4.1/5

Overview

The aim:

Preventing and lowering high blood pressure (hypertension).

The claim:

A healthy eating pattern is key to deflating high blood pressure – and it may not hurt your waistline, either.

The theory:

Nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein and fiber are crucial to fending off or fighting high blood pressure. You don’t have to track each one, though. Just emphasize the foods you’ve always been told to eat (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), while shunning those we’ve grown to love (calorie- and fat-laden sweets and red meat). Top it all off by cutting back on salt, and voilà!

Balanced Diet

These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.

Pros & Cons

  • Heart healthy
  • Nutritionally sound
  • Lots of grunt work
  • Somewhat pricey

 

MIND Diet

#2 in Best Diets Overall | Overall Score 4.0/5

Overview

The aim:

Preventing Alzheimer’s disease with brain-healthy foods.

The claim:

You may lower your risk of mental decline with this new hybrid of two balanced,heart-healthy diets – even without rigidly sticking to it – early research suggests.

The theory:

The MIND diet takes two proven diets ­­– DASH and Mediterranean – and zeroes in on the foods in each that specifically affect brain health.

The emphasis is on eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. Meanwhile, MIND adherents avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

The MIND diet, which stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay,” was developed by Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging and published online February 2015. Morris’ team followed the food intake of 923 Chicago-area seniors. Over 4.5 years, 144 participants developed Alzheimer’s disease. The longer people had followed the MIND diet patterns, the less risk they appeared to have. Even people who made “modest” changes to their diets – who wouldn’t have fit the criteria for DASH or Mediterranean – had less risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The study found the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35 percent for people who followed it moderately well and up to 53 percent for those who adhered to it rigorously.

Two previous, large U.S. studies have found significant slower cognitive decline in people who ate at least two servings of vegetables per day, with the strongest effect seen with at least six weekly servings of leafy green vegetables. Several animal studies show that eating a variety of berries is tied to better memory performance. And population studies suggest eating a single fish meal a week is related to Alzheimer’s prevention.

Morris emphasizes that findings on the diet are not definitive, with more long-term, randomized comparison studies needed. Her team’s second paper on the MIND diet has found the MIND diet superior to the DASH and Mediterranean diets in preventing cognitive decline.

Balanced Diet

These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.

Pros & Cons

  • Blends two proven healthy diets
  • May boost brain power
  • Details not fleshed out
  • Recipes, resources lacking

 

TLC Diet

#3 inBest Diets Overall| Overall Score 4.0/5

Overview

The aim:

Cutting high cholesterol.

The claim:

You’ll lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol by 8 to 10 percent in six weeks.

The theory:

Created by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet (TLC) is endorsed by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy regimen that can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The key iscutting back sharply on fat, particularly saturated fat. Saturated fat (think fatty meat, whole-milk dairy and fried foods) bumps up bad cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke. That, along with strictly limiting daily dietary cholesterol intake and getting more fiber, can help people manage high cholesterol, often without medication.

Balanced Diet

These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.

Pros & Cons

  • Heart healthy
  • Not a fad diet – it’s government-endorsed
  • On your own
  • Must decode nutrition labels

 

The Fertility Diet

#4 inBest Diets Overall| Overall Score 3.9/5

Overview

The aim:

Boost ovulation and improve fertility.

The claim:

Changes to diet, weight and activity can increase ovulation and help you get pregnant faster.

The theory:

Research from the Nurses’ Health Study – which began in 1976 and grew to include 238,000 female nurse participants ages 30 to 55 – has shown that tweaking aspects of your diet, from fats to beverages, can increase ovulation and improve your chances of getting pregnant. In “The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant,” Drs. Jorge Chavarro and Walter Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health created a diet plan based on the study, which showed that women who consumed “good” fats, whole grains and plant protein improved their egg supply, while those who ate “bad” fats, refined carbohydrates and red meat may make fewer eggs, thereby increasing the risk for ovulatory infertility. They also suggest that full-fat dairy products are good for fertility compared with skim milk and sugary sodas. The doctors recommend a 10-step approach to improving fertility.

Balanced Diet

These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.

Pros & Cons

  • Promotes fertility
  • Encourages healthy pregnancy
  • Discouraged for those with blocked fallopian tubes
  • Strictly for women

Mayo Clinic Diet

#5  inBest Diets Overall| Overall Score 3.9/5

Overview

The aim:

Weight loss.

The claim:

You’ll shed 6 to 10 pounds in two weeks and continue losing 1 to 2 pounds weekly until you’ve hit your goal weight.

The theory:

You recalibrate your eating habits, breaking bad ones and replacing them with good ones with the help of the Mayo Clinic’s unique food pyramid.

Balanced Diet

These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.

Pros & Cons

  • Nutritionally sound
  • You shape your diet
  • Lots of grunt work
  • Somewhat pricey

Mediterranean Diet

#6 inBest Diets Overall| Overall Score 3.9/5

Overview

The aim:

May include weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention and diabetes prevention and control.

The claim:

You’ll lose weight, keep it off and avoid a host of chronic diseases.

The theory:

It’s generally accepted that the folks in the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments. The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods.

Balanced Diet

These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.

Pros & Cons

  • Nutritionally sound
  • Diverse foods and flavors
  • Lots of grunt work
  • Moderately pricey

Weight Watchers Diet

#7  in Best Diets Overall| Overall Score 3.9/5

Overview

The aim:

Weight loss.

The claim:

You’ll drop up to 2 pounds weekly.

The theory:

There’s more to weight loss than counting calories – if you make healthy choices that fill you up, you’ll eat less. Weight Watchers’ new Beyond the Scale Program, launched in late 2015, assigns every food a SmartPoints value, based on its nutition. (Higher amounts of saturated fat and sugar increase the point value; higher amounts of protein bring the point value down.) Choices that fill you up the longest “cost” the least, and nutritionally dense foods cost less than empty calories. So if you’re wavering between a 200-calorie fruit smoothie and a 200-calorie iced coffee, the smoothie is the smarter choice. A backbone of the plan is multi-model access to support from people who’ve lost weight using Weight Watchers and kept it off.

Balanced Diet

These diets fall within accepted ranges for the amount of protein, carbs, fat and other nutrients they provide.

Pros & Cons

  • Eat what you want; no foods off-limits
  • Flexibility to shape your own diet
  • Tedious point-tallying
  • Pricey

SOURCE…health.usnews.com