The best diet is one you can maintain: a varied and balanced diet without strict commandments. According to U.S. News' annual diet report, these five diets are the most likely to keep the lost pounds.
For the U.S. News diet report, the third-largest news magazine in the United States, a panel of dieticians and other health experts rated forty popular diets. Among other things, they studied how healthy and safe the diets are, how fast you can lose weight with them and whether they are still a bit livable afterwards. According to the panel, the diets listed below are healthy and, of all the diets studied, the easiest to maintain.
1. The Mediterranean diet
If you eat what people traditionally ate in Mediterranean countries (such as Greece and Italy), according to the expert panel you are not only in perfect health, you also have the best chance of not gaining weight. The Mediterranean diet has no forbidden foods and the water runs into your mouth of what you are allowed to eat: lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, olive oil, legumes (such as lentils, brown beans, but also hummus), nuts and seeds, fish and whole grain cereals (yummy, bread). The US Heart Association even calls the Mediterranean diet 'the best choice for people with diabetes'. It keeps the blood sugar more stable and protects against cardiovascular diseases. That's why, according to the fund, it is also a good idea for people who are not (yet) ill. Tip: if you replace most animal proteins and fats with the vegetable variant, you're already a long way off (e.g. avocado on bread instead of cheese, falafel instead of pork and beef and so on).
2. The flexitarian diet
With the flexitarian diet you eat less meat. According to dietician and inventor Dawn Jackson Blatner, this not only reduces the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, but it also reduces the risk: on average, flexitarians are fifteen percent lighter than meat eaters. Because you don't have to completely ban meat from your plate, the diet is also easy to maintain, concludes the U.S. News expert panel. On meat-free days, you can get your protein from legumes, nuts and seeds, tofu, tempeh or eggs. This is not only healthy, but also better for the environment. Do you already eat little meat? With the flexitarian diet you won't get more than fifteen hundred calories, so you'll really lose weight.
3. Weight Watchers
In the 'easiest to sustain' category, the panel gave Weight Watchers' new diet programme as many points as the flexitarian diet. In other words, a shared second place. According to the American experts, this diet allows you to lose weight quickly without having to go hungry. A points system teaches you to make healthy choices, so you can still eat what you like and still lose weight. It encourages you to choose more fruit, vegetables, proteins and less sugars and animal fats. The fact that you lose weight together with others and meet regularly also makes it easier to maintain your new lifestyle, according to the experts.
4. The DASH Diet
The panel of experts declared the DASH diet 'best diet of the year' for the eighth time in a row. If all the criteria are taken into account, this diet comes out as the best. You lose weight, get all the important nutrients and your blood pressure goes down as well. The secret? Small portions (but with more fruit and vegetables than you're probably used to), fibre-rich and varied food and little salt. You can eat everything else, but in moderation. Because of this, the diet would also be sustainable in the long run. But a little less easy than the Mediterranean diet and the other prize winners.
5. The MIND diet
With the MIND diet, you mainly eat food that scientists suspect will keep your brain healthy and help prevent dementia. For example, leafy vegetables are thought to slow down the ageing of our brains by up to eleven years. Furthermore, you leave unhealthy things such as red meat, cheese, sweets and fried food as much as possible. In fact, the MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, both of which are known for their beneficial effects on heart and blood vessels. Whether the recommended foods in the diet can really cope with dementia remains to be seen. A lot of research is still needed. But because the diet is otherwise so healthy, the experts are enthusiastic about it.
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