Which diet is best?
Which diet is best? This is a question that many people ask themselves as they strive for a healthier lifestyle. In today's article, we'll take a look at different ways of eating
The miracle diet, or the best way to eat.
Which diet is best? This is a question that many people ask themselves as they strive for a healthier lifestyle. Usually, when we hear the word “diet”, associations such as weight loss, restrictions, starvation, calorie counting, or lettuce-based meals come to mind. However, diet is nothing more than our way of eating. Its task is to ensure the proper functioning of the body by taking in nutrients and providing energy for action.
And here the question will probably come to mind: which or what diet is the best?
The answer is simple — one that you are willing to follow.
In principle, we could end our digressions on this short sentence, but… It is worth taking a look at the data collected by scientists. It turns out that the topic of the most effective diets has been analyzed for 12 years. U.S. News & World Report publishes a ranking of the world’s best diets every year. The decision is made by experts from various fields of science, professionally involved in the treatment of overweight and obesity, diabetes or heart disease.
Of the multitude of diets taking part in the 2021 plebiscite, the Mediterranean diet was on the podium, followed by the DASH diet, and the flexitarian diet, which restricts meat and animal products.
Here are a brief overview of the winners:
Place I – Mediterranean diet.
It has been extensively tested for its effectiveness in preventing and treating diabetes, overweight, obesity and heart disease. It is based on a high intake of plants (vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grain cereals and nuts), a high intake of fish and seafood, olive oil as a vegetable source of added fat, limiting meat, especially red meat, as well as a low consumption of alcohol, eggs and dairy products with a reduced fat content. A strong emphasis is placed on limiting the intake of saturated fatty acids. The Mediterranean diet is rich in antioxidants, polyphenols, fibre and monounsaturated acids. All of these factors contribute to a lower overall risk of death from diet-related causes.
Second place – DASH Diet
(Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
Its main purpose is to reduce and prevent hypertension. It is based on limiting the intake of salt, saturated fats, as well as cholesterol. A lot of emphasis in this diet is placed on a high intake of ingredients that lower blood pressure, i.e. magnesium, potassium, calcium. It is a high-fiber diet, as it contains a large amount of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and nuts. Processed foods and alcohol, as well as red meat, are restricted. This diet lowers not only blood pressure, but also cholesterol and the risk of developing diabetes.
Third place – Flexitarian diet
It’s a diet that’s good for both health and the climate. It involves limiting meat and animal products, but it is much less restrictive than veganism. Flexitarians sometimes eat eggs, dairy, and lean meats, and avoid red, fatty and processed animal products. There are no rigid definitions for this diet, because most people on it eat plant-based foods on a daily basis, and eat meat products only occasionally. Therefore, it is a good alternative for people who want to limit meat products in their menu.
And why is it also important for the climate? Because current food production is believed to be responsible for about 24% of greenhouse gas emissions. Experts have calculated that by 2050 we need to limit the temperature increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, and following the path of flexitarianism is one of the ways to achieve this (albeit very difficult) goal.
Another question that may arise is whether these diets will be ideal for everyone.
No, because there is no such thing as a perfect diet. The best diet is one that is tailor-made, i.e. tailored to a given person both in terms of health, as well as their culinary preferences and psychosocial conditions. Throwing a busy and overworked person into a rigid regimen of five meals a day cannot succeed if they have been eating once a day so far. Offering it a solution in the form of 3 meals or developing a strategy of preparing and freezing meals once a week has a real chance of success of the mission.
Following this line of reasoning, you are wondering which diet will be the best for you? One that you are able to follow on a daily basis and one that serves your well-being, both physically and mentally.
Things to remember: Dieting isn’t just about being full. The point is that our menu has a positive impact on our health and well-being every day. If you’re feeling sluggish or sleepy, it’s a signal from your body that it’s lacking the right nutrients. The same is true if you have repeatedly tried to lose excess weight with no effect or with a short-term effect. This just means that the method you have chosen is not suitable for you and it is time to look for another one. After all, it’s crazy to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results, right? 😉
Campbell, Amy P. “DASH eating plan: an eating pattern for diabetes management.” Diabetes Spectrum 30.2 (2017): 76-81.
Challa, Hima J., Prasanna Tadi, and Kalyan R. Uppaluri. “DASH diet (dietary Approaches to Stop hypertension).” StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing, 2020
Derbyshire EJ (2017) Flexitarian Diets and Health: A Review of the Evidence-Based Literature. Nutr Front 3:1
EAT (2020) Diets for a better future.
Koloverou E et al. “The effect of Mediterranean diet on the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of 10 prospective studies and 136,846 participants”. Metabolism. 2014 Jul; 63(7):903-11.
Mancini JG,et al. Systematic Review of the Mediterranean Diet for Long-Term Weight Loss. Am J Med. 2016 Apr; 129(4):407-415.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2015.11.028. Epub 2015 Dec 22.