The U.S. News and World Report announces for the healthiest diets for 2014 and guess what they all have in common? Source most of your calories from these four food groups:
The DASH Diet, designed for lowering Blood Pressure without medication came in at #1 overall. This low fat diet plan asks followers to feed mostly on whole grains, fruits, & vegetables, adding only small amounts of low or non-fat dairy and lean meats.
The #2 ranking plan, TLC Diet for lowering cholesterol, same, with emphasis on lower and healthier fats!
Weight Watchers is #3 and was considered the best commercial diet plan available for weight-loss. I have been calculating the WW Points for the Leafy Cafe Meals to Go-go service and note even Weight Watchers touts eating mostly from the whole foods groups in the form of grains, legumes, fruits and veggies!
The Vegan diet scored high in many individual categories such as Diabetes, Heart Healthy and Weight-loss but ranks only # 18 overall, along with 4 other #18 diets including South Beach. Why so low if it is the core structure of many/most of the best and highest ranking diets? The panel of experts decided it was too restrictive. I only find the vegan diet to be restrictive when dining out because restaurateurs couldn't be bothered to offer meat and dairy-free options in most cases. Its certainly not more expensive. The experts rated the diet "moderately pricey. Fruits, vegetables, and soy products—which should be filling your cart if you’re doing it right—are generally more expensive than heavily processed foods like white bread, sugary cereals, and sweets." But they do not mention this aspect in the other diets which also shun these types of foods and encourage fresh produce, and rightly so! Hmmm.
My favorite diet is the Flexitarian Diet which ranks #6 overall. There doesn't seem to be a #4 or #5??? What's up with these numbers? Maybe I haven't thoroughly read the ranking system?? With the Flexitarian Diet, you eat WHOLE PLANT FOODS, mostly vegan/vegetarian but allow yourself those times, like when you are in an airport or at a fancy restaurant with no other options to consume something you might normally avoid without guilt. This is sort of like the 80/20 or VB6 diet. The danger with this diet is once you go off your mostly veg diet, you might never go back! High fat, salt and sugar laden foods lure you in and its a slippery slope down to last-placed Paleo-ville from there!
All in all, keep in mind, the BEST diets include foods mostly or totally from the four food groups of the Power Plate with an emphasis on low fat, sugar salt, and limited or no refined or processed foods.
Another great consideration for the BEST diet is one that works for you! Keeps your weight and health in the place you would like it to be. For many of us, the low-fat, whole foods, plant-based VEGAN diet works best.