US News and World Report has made a second career for itself ranking things. They rate colleges and hospital systems, places to live, places to retire, credit cards, and SUV's.
And diets. In 2018, two diet systems share top honors as the best according to US News—DASH and Mediterranean.
The worst were Keto and Dukan—both plans that emphasize protein and fat.
As usual, USNWR has a system it uses to keep the scoring honest. For rating the different diet plans, a group of experts scored them on how easy they were to follow and maintain, how effective they were for short term weight loss, and more important to many of us, how well they did at long term weight loss.
The ranking makes perfect sense. Almost anyone who has tried an extremely low-carb diet knows that variety and reality are the downsides. Yes, I've done Atkins, and truthfully, by the fourth day, I'm a live wire, in a good way. I sleep like a contented baby, I wake up fresh, I have so much energy it annoys my husband.
And by the fifth day, I am dreaming about strawberries and apples. By the sixth day, say the words “fresh peach” and watch me drool helplessly. Much as I love a good steak, Atkins is boring. Ditto keto. But my tummy stops grumbling all the time and I do lose weight. Until I stop.
That's the beauty of DASH and Mediterranean. Both diets include a balance of lean meats in moderate amounts, especially fish, not much red meat, with plentiful whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. This is real food that you can eat for your entire lifetime. And unless you are stranded in a land where only McDonald's is available, it's easy to find the right food. Any salad bar will do.
The DASH diet is the creation of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. It's about controlling blood pressure, so you know right away this is a diet meant to increase your health as you lose weight. There is no single “Mediterranean” diet. The idea is to eat like the people of Greece, Cyprus, France, somewhere over there where fishermen bring in lovely catch and olive gardens are not part of a restaurant chain.
The USNWR rankings seem smart, but why should there be such a list at all? Humans have put a man on the moon, and if we can believe the Chinese, they've parked a vehicle on the back side of Mars. And after how many million years on the planet we're still figuring out what to eat?
That debate isn't over yet, but there is one thing I am certain of based on our work here at Renown Health. Fruits and veggies matter. Many of the best healing natural herbs, botanicals, and vitamins are effective because of the tiny polyphenols and flavonoids in them. For instance, white willow bark contains the same chemical as aspirin, but aspirin is all synthetic. That is probably why when willow bark treats a headache just as effectively, it doesn't damage the stomach lining.
We may react differently to different diets. But any eating plan that puts vegetables and fruits on the “do not eat” list is one to avoid.
Way to go, US News, and thank you.
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