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The #1 Best Diet for 2021, According to Experts

A panel of experts voted on diets with best health and weight loss outcomes.
mediterranean diet

We're only a few days into 2021, but we already have the official best diet to follow in the year ahead. For the fourth year in a row, the Mediterranean diet has been awarded the #1 spot among the best diets to follow for optimal health by the U.S. News & World Report.

While fad diets come and go, there's a consensus among the scientific community about what kinds of foods are most beneficial for our longevity and wellness. To that end, the publication consulted a panel of experts in the areas of heart disease and diabetes, nutrition, diet, food psychology, and obesity who reviewed the latest research to come up with the best diet currently known to man. (Related: The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now.)

The most highly rated diets ended up being ones that advocate a level of flexibility and emphasize meals filled with fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. While the Mediterranean diet came in first due to its sensibility and diversity, it was followed by the DASH and flexitarian diets, both of which similarly prioritize plant-based proteins and whole foods and discourage the consumption of processed foods.

According to Angela Haupt, managing editor of health at U.S. News & World Report, each diet was rated on several criteria, including how easy it is to follow, how likely it is to lead to long-term weight loss, how safe and healthy it is, and how likely it is to help with chronic illnesses.

The Mediterranean diet received an almost perfect score in the health category, but its moderate score in the weight loss category shows that this isn't a crash diet meant for extreme weight loss. Instead, the diet's main goal is to slowly shed pounds and keep the weight off long-term while also avoiding chronic diseases.

"It's generally accepted that the folks in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and suffer less than most Americans from cancer and cardiovascular ailments," said the report.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more