If you started the New Year with the intent to do a health reset, you aren’t alone. But why guess? Some of the best diets are already laid out and ready for you to use.
While we’re not about that toxic diet culture, we want to help you get the information you need to get closer to your goals. These eating patterns are science-backed and have research behind them, so it may be easier for you to choose a framework than to go in blind.
Here, we’ll go through the top-rated diets of 2023 according to US News & World Report, to help you understand what they are, including their good and bad sides, so that you can make the right choice.
There’s no perfect diet for everyone. We identified the pros and cons so that you can decide which one makes sense for you.
The DASH diet, promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, was created to help or prevent high blood pressure. The DASH diet focuses on healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. The foods in the diet contain nutrients known to lower blood pressure and were shown to be effective in many studies.
- Includes foods most families eat so that everyone can eat together
- It doesn’t require expensive or unique ingredients
- It can accommodate most special diets, such as gluten-free or vegetarian
- May limit or eliminate some of your favorite foods
- Requires portion control, which can become overwhelming for everyday eating
Doctors have long been touting the Mediterranean diet as a way to control heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and promote a longer life. While it’s called a “diet,” it’s more of an eating philosophy that focuses on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and healthy fats daily. It also includes eating fish or seafood twice a week and occasionally low-fat dairy. People following the Mediterranean diet also limit red meats and sweets.
- Allows for a large variety of foods
- The low-fat nature of the foods in the diet allows for plentiful eating eliminating cravings for unhealthy fats or sweets
- It may reduce the risk of many chronic diseases
- Requires fresh food, which can be time-consuming to prepare daily
- It can be more expensive to follow
- There aren’t set portions, so if you aren’t careful, you could gain weight
As the name suggests, the MIND diet focuses on foods healthy for the brain to fight mental decline (dementia and Alzheimer’s). The MIND diet combines the best of the DASH and Mediterranean diets and, according to studies, has lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s in participants by 35% - 53%.
The MIND diet focuses on leafy greens, berries, and whole grains daily, with nuts, poultry, and fish mixed in throughout the week. It limits red meat and sweets and replaces butter with olive oil.
- No calories, carbs, or portions to measure or count
- Offers a large variety of food options
- It may help prevent or delay mental decline
- The flexibility can make it easy to ‘cheat’
- You may not get enough protein if you aren’t careful
- Red meat is very limited
Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic Diet is a 12-week program with two phases. The first is to help you lose weight, and the second is to help you live what you learned for the remainder of the 12 weeks and for life.
In the first phase, you’ll eliminate sugar and greatly limit red meat and dairy. Instead, you’ll focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. You should also add 60 minutes of exercise daily and keep a food diary.
In the second phase, you’ll follow the same diet but you can add back things you eliminated—within reason. You also don’t have to count every calorie. Instead, you can focus on portions, such as having at least four servings of fruit daily. Each calorie allowance has different portion requirements.
- It’s a simple plan anyone can follow
- You can continue the ‘plan’ for life
- The diet includes clear recipes and meal plans
- You may feel very limited in the first few weeks
- There are complex rules
- It can be time-consuming
The best diet is the one you’ll follow. You won’t see results or feel better if you choose a diet you can’t follow. There’s no need to make it more complex than necessary. Choose a pattern of eating that includes foods you know you’ll eat and some that take you outside your comfort zone.
Of course, don’t forget to get out and move your body, even if it’s for 30 minutes a day – the more you move, the easier it is to lose it!
- Best diets overall 2023 - expertly reviewed - US news health. https://health.usnews.com/best-diet/best-diets-overall. Accessed February 1, 2023.
- The science behind the dash eating plan. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/education/dash/research. Accessed February 1, 2023.
- Diet Review: Mediterranean Diet. Hsph.harvard.edu. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/mediterranean-diet/. Accessed February 1, 2023.
- Morris MC, Tangney CC, Wang Y, Sacks FM, Bennett DA, Aggarwal NT. Mind diet associated with reduced incidence of alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's & Dementia. 2015;11(9):1007-1014. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2014.11.009