Each year, a panel of leading medical and nutrition experts works with U.S. News & World Report to review a wide range of diets and put their stamp on the ones they find to be the best healthy eating options. The panel members look at a variety of factors, including how healthy the eating plans are, how easy they are to follow and how well they work.
Below, we break down the best diets of 2023 and what you need to know about each, including how to follow the diet, what foods are included and what health benefits they may offer.
The Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet refers to the traditional eating habits of the people who live in the 16-plus countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Though the word “diet” is in its name, it’s not one particular diet, but rather more of a broad eating pattern. The Mediterranean diet has proven to be heart-healthy and helpful in reducing risk factors that can potentially lead to obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
While the eating styles vary among the peoples of the different Mediterranean countries, their diets have many factors in common, including:
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Carbs, including whole grains, potatoes and beans
- Low to moderate amounts of dairy products (such as cheese), fish, poultry and eggs
- Olive oil as a main source of healthy fat
The Mediterranean diet also limits certain foods, including:
- Foods that are heavily processed
- High-fat and processed meats
- Refined carbs
- Saturated fats
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Mediterranean diet can help with weight loss and help with managing diabetes. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes eating nutrient-rich, high-fiber foods, which may help with controlling blood sugar and managing your weight.
Wine is optional on the Mediterranean diet. In moderation, red wine may lower the risk of heart disease. If you include wine in your Mediterranean diet, limit yourself to one glass per day, and consume it during a meal rather than before or after.
The Mediterranean diet also encourages exercise, as fitness may help with blood sugar management and reduce the risk of nerve damage and cardiovascular disease.
Some examples of foods you can eat on the Mediterranean diet include:
- Tuna, salmon, trout or mackerel (preferably served grilled)
- Low-fat Greek or plain yogurt
- A variety of herbs and spices as no-sodium substitutes for salt
- Whole grain or vegetable noodles
- Green leafy vegetables
The DASH diet
Like the Mediterranean diet, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is not any one specific diet, but rather a flexible, heart-healthy eating pattern that’s a good option for people who need to control their blood pressure (hence the abbreviation). The DASH diet was created from research funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), a government agency under the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The DASH diet has been shown to help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which can cause damage to your