The top diets selected to try in 2023 focus on lifestyle changes

As we begin again in 2023, many Americans will make decisions to eat better, exercise regularly, and take better care of themselves.

US News & World Report ranked 24 diets for 2023. Diets are evaluated by a panel of nutrition experts comprised of registered dietitians, nutrition professors and physicians. The rating is based on several categories: the ability to achieve short-term and long-term weight loss, the ease of following the diet, the ability of the diet to prevent heart disease and diabetes, its nutritional value and its safety.

The No. 1 diet is the Mediterranean diet. Most of us already know this diet. It is a plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fish and olive oil. Red meat is not eaten more than once a week and red wine is often taken with meals. The Mediterranean diet is associated with lower rates of heart disease and diabetes than Western diets.

In second place is the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) and the flexitarian diet. The DASH diet is a well-balanced plan with an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and unsaturated fats. Meat is limited to 6 ounces per day and salt is under 2,300 mg per day. It allows five servings of sweets each week. Alcohol is allowed in moderation, but remember that these drinks tend to be high in calories.

A flexitarian diet is a vegetarian diet that allows for meat once in a while. The term “flexitarian” was coined by nutritionist Dawn Blatner Jackson. With this diet, you get the health benefits of a vegetarian diet and the satisfaction of a steak when you’re craving meat. In his book, Jackson outlines three phases of the diet that gradually reduce the amount of meat in your diet. The goal is to focus on eating more plant-based foods. Moderate alcohol consumption is allowed.

The top three diets are the same as last year, and for good reason.

But let’s shine a light on another healthy diet. The Mind Diet recently gained attention and came in at #4 on the list. MIND stands for DASH Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative (Dementia) Delay. The MIND regimen focuses on fruits – especially berries – vegetables, olive oil and whole grains. Sources of protein are fatty fish, poultry, beans and nuts. Red meat, cheese and sweets are limited and fried foods are strongly discouraged. One glass of wine per day is allowed.

All of these diets focus on lifestyle changes that are developed gradually. It takes time. Fortunately, when we eat healthier, we feel better, which encourages us to keep going. Other common dietary fibers on the list are an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. A healthy diet is well balanced and allows for a variety of foods from all food groups.

Until next time, stay healthy!

Dear nutritionist

Leanne McCrate, RDN, LD, is an award-winning nutritionist based in St. Louis. Its mission is to educate consumers about healthy, science-based nutrition. Do you have a question about nutrition? Email her today at [email protected] Dear Dietitians, does not endorse any products, health programs or diet plans.

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