Mediterranean Diet Named the Best for 2019

Read on if you want to get healthy in the New Year.
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Do you love fish, veggies, whole-grain breads and olive oil? Then we've got great news. 

The Mediterranean diet has has been named 2019's best by US News and World Report. As CNN notes, numerous studies have linked the the region's fare to stronger bones, a healthier heart, longer life span and weight loss. 

A panel of judges with expertise in heart disease, diabetes and food science analyzed 41 different eating plans and found that the Mediterranean diet led the pack in multiple subcategories:  best diet for healthy eating, best plant-based diet, best diet for diabetes and easiest diet to follow. 

There is no steadfast set of restrictions, as the Greeks, Italians, French and Spanish all eat differently. But they all consume lots of fish, produce, whole grains, beans, seeds and some nuts. 

Sugar is used sparingly, and non-animal fats generally come from extra virgin olive oil. Other proteins include eggs, dairy and poultry. Red meat is seldom the star of a plate.

CNN has further details on the runners-up:

In 2018, the top spot for best overall diet was a tie between the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, which stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension, or high blood pressure.

This year, DASH came in second, with third place going to the flexitarian diet, a plant-based diet that allows meat on rare occasions. Fourth place was a tie between the brain-focused MIND diet and Weight Watchers.

What do all of these diets have in common? They require the use of minimally processed foods and focus on fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds, said internist Dr. Sharon Bergquist, who founded the lifestyle medicine and wellness programs at Atlanta's Emory University.

Another common thread among the top-ranking diets is that they allow for indulgences in moderation. 

"Whether it's a glass of red wine on the Mediterranean diet or a piece of cake on Weight Watchers, it allows people to plan for an indulgence that would otherwise be forbidden," said Lisa Drayer, CNN contributor and registered dietitian.

"So much about weight loss is mental, and being able to incorporate all foods, including a treat, is really important for any healthy eating plan."

Low-carb, high-fat plans like the ketogenic and Atkins diets were ranked among the five worst. The bottom two—the Body Reset and Dukan diets—were written off as "unhealthy" and even "idiotic" by experts. 

If eating right is one of your New Year's resolutions, Mediterranean food is the way to go.