The best and worst diets of 2023

Following up on Monday’s post, no one at the Daily Tonic won the mega millions drawing last night. So, here I am again — a non-billionaire writer ready to hit your inbox with the health news and tips you need to make 2023 your healthiest year yet. Speaking of 2023, U.S. News & World Report released its list of the best diets of the year. What diets topped the list, and which ones fell to the bottom? Let’s dive in.

The Best Diet Is… 

It is January, which means that many people have some sort of nutrition goal or resolution on their minds. According to statistics from 2021, 48% of New Year’s resolutions are focused on weight loss, meaning that many people are looking for the best diet to help them reach their goals. 

So how would you go about ranking the best diets out there today? In coming up with their list, U.S. News & World Report asked 33 nationally recognized experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes, and heart diseases to take a deep dive into 24 of the most popular diets and rank them based on the following criteria.

  • Are all food groups included, and are nutrient-rich foods promoted? 
  • Does the diet require purchasing specialty products, such as branded foods or supplements? 
  • Does the diet promote sustainable weight loss, or is the weight loss meant to be achieved as fast as possible? 
  • How time-consuming is the meal prep? 
  • How effectively can the diet help prevent or manage chronic illness? 

Once all these questions were answered, diets were scored between one and five stars. Crunch those numbers, and the winner for the best overall diet of 2023 is (drumroll please)… the Mediterranean diet for the sixth year in a row. 

The decision makes sense since the diet promotes a wide range of whole foods, primarily focused on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, herbs, and spices. Seafood and fish are recommended twice a week, while poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt are ok in moderation, and red meat and sweets are best reserved as an occasional treat.  As a bonus for the Mediterranean diet, the occasional glass of wine is “acceptable.” 

Clap it up for the Mediterranean diet! 

The only red flag for us at the Daily Tonic is red meat getting lumped together with sweets as a food that should be reserved as an occasional treat. There is plenty of research to suggest that red meat is not the enemy we once thought it was when it comes to weight gain, cardiovascular health, and the risk for certain cancers. Yet, for some reason, mainstream dietary recommendations have been slow to catch up. 

This brings us to the worst diets of 2023, according to the same list by U.S. News & World Report. The Raw Food Diet, keto diet, Atkins, and SlimFast ended up at the bottom of the rankings because they were too restrictive. Research has shown that about 80% to 95% of people who lose weight on restrictive diets gain it all back. This type of “yo-yo dieting” has been shown to lead to worse heart health outcomes and may increase the risk of certain cancers. 

The key takeaway? The best diet for you is the one you can stay the most consistent with. That said, if you want to approach your nutrition this year with both weight loss and long-term health in mind, choosing a diet that is not too restrictive and aims for slow and sustainable weight loss is best. It is also a good idea to focus primarily on whole foods and embrace all meats as nutrient-rich protein sources that are satiating and can promote healthy weight loss by helping you feel fuller for longer. 

Mediterranean might work for you; keto might work for you. Just stay away from SlimFast and anything that tells you to avoid meat at all costs, and you should see the results you want if you have a little patience and stay consistent. 

What do you think?

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