What's the Best Diet for 2019? Experts Weigh In

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — For many, the start of the new year signals the start of a new diet. But what’s the best way to eat if you want to lose weight?

For overall healthy eating, the best diet plan is the Mediterranean diet, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual diet review. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was ranked second on the magazine’s overall Best Diets 2019 list, followed by the Flexitarian plan. All three plans focus on eating a mostly plant-based diet (veggies, fruits and whole grains), healthy fats and lean protein sources.

“I hope these rankings steer people in the direction of doing something healthful,” said nutritionist Samantha Heller of NYU Langone Health in New York City.

“I wish though, that we weren’t so obsessed with weight loss and diets, per se. I wish the focus was on adopting a healthy lifestyle, like eating a more plant-based diet, getting regular exercise, getting enough sleep and managing stress, all of which help us live a better quality of life,” Heller said.

To that end, she said the top three diets are all similar in their food content, and all can be healthy eating regimens.

The Mediterranean diet has been linked to increased longevity and a decreased risk of chronic illnesses, the report said. The Mediterranean diet was also ranked high in multiple categories including: Easiest Diets to Follow, Best Diets for Healthy Eating, Best Diets for Diabetes, and Best Diets for Hearth Health.

If weight loss is part of your plans, here are plans that topped the rankings for the best weight-loss plans:

  • WW (Weight Watchers)
  • Volumetrics
  • Flexitarian diet (tie)
  • Jenny Craig (tie)
  • Vegan diet (tie)

Feel the need to knock off some pounds quickly? Here are the best fast weight-loss plans:

  • HMR program
  • Atkins (tie)
  • Keto diet (tie)
  • Optavia (tie)
  • WW (Weight Watchers) (tie)

Heller said that many people feel that they need to “kickstart” their weight loss for motivation. The problem with plans that focus on fast weight loss, however, is that they don’t teach you how to eat well every day.

“On these types of diets, you often don’t learn how to manage holidays, stressful days or special occasions. You don’t develop strategies for life,” she said.

The easiest diets to follow include the Mediterranean diet, the Flexitarian diet and WW (Weight Watchers).

The magazine asked a panel of nutrition experts to review 41 diet plans. Like Heller, the expert panelists emphasized the importance of well-balanced, sustainable diets that aren’t overly restrictive. These types of diets can help teach lifelong positive eating habits.

Lifestyle diets, such as the Mayo Clinic diet and MIND diet, are healthier and more sustainable than weight-loss plans such as the Ketogenic or Atkins diet are, the panelists concluded.

Although the popular Keto diet ranked high for fast weight loss, it landed way down on the Best Diets list — tying for number 38. Other diets at the bottom of the list included the Dukan diet, the Body Reset Diet and the Whole30 diet.

“I think that diets that don’t differentiate between healthy and unhealthy fats, over time are ultimately an unhealthy approach to losing weight,” Heller said.

But the diet topping any list isn’t necessarily the best diet for you. Choosing a diet is a “very individual thing,” Heller noted, adding that you have to find a diet plan that works well for you. And, hopefully one that teaches you to eat healthy for life.

More information

Learn more about the U.S. News & World Report’s best diet rankings.

Cost Matters to Those Sizing Up Weight-Loss Surgery

THURSDAY, Nov. 29, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Cost and how much they can lose matter more to folks considering weight-loss surgery than recovery time or the risk of complications, a new study finds.

“Instead of asking patients about the reasons for or against particular procedures, we asked patients to tell us what procedure characteristics mattered to them the most,” said study lead author Michael Rozier. He worked on the study while studying health care policy at the University of Michigan.

The results show out-of-pocket costs matter a great deal to patients facing weight-loss (bariatric) surgery, Rozier said in a university news release.

The survey of 800 adults considering obesity surgery also found that the most commonly performed operation, sleeve gastrectomy, doesn’t meet patients’ highest priorities.

With sleeve gastrectomy, a portion of the stomach is removed, leaving a thinner stomach. With a gastric bypass, the stomach is made much smaller and rerouted to bypass part of the small intestine. Patients who have sleeve gastrectomy lose less weight the first year, on average, than patients who have gastric bypass surgery, according to the university research team.

“We know there may be slightly better weight loss and increased comorbidity resolution [more weight-related health issues solved] with bypass, so recommending sleeve gastrectomy may be somewhat different than what patients in this study valued,” said study co-author Dr. Amir Ghaferi, a bariatric surgeon at Michigan Medicine.

The findings can help doctors guide conversations with patients pondering weight-loss surgery, the researchers said.

They noted that even though cost is a main consideration for patients, health care providers are rarely trained to discuss that issue.

“We probably need to figure out an appropriate way to incorporate cost into conversations providers have with their patients,” said Rozier, now an assistant professor of health management and policy at Saint Louis University.

The study was published Nov. 28 in the journal JAMA Surgery.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on weight-loss surgery.

How to Maintain That Weight Loss

TUESDAY, Feb. 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — If you’ve been on a diet more than once, you know that it can be harder to maintain weight than to lose weight in the first place.

In fact, many people feel that dieting is easier and that not regaining the weight is the real challenge.

Here’s help to keep off the pounds you worked so hard to shed.

Some research suggests that being more mentally relaxed about eating helps with weight management by boosting your psychological well-being.

While it’s OK to relax some strict diet rules, sticking with positive lifestyle changes counts. That means adopting a “forever” eating approach rather than thinking of weight loss as a diet that you go on and off.

If you’ve ever wondered how some people are more successful at staying slim than others, you’ll find many insider tips at the National Weight Control Registry. The registry tracks over 10,000 people who’ve lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for a long period of time. Sticking with exercise is their number one tip.

A 10-year study of 3,000 registry participants found three more essentials: Weigh yourself regularly, limit fat portions, and avoid overeating. One key to not overeating is to always focus on your food. If you’re distracted, chances are you’ll eat more than you intended.

Here are some more National Weight Control Registry success tips:

  • Exercise for an average of 1 hour every day.
  • Eat breakfast every day.
  • Weigh yourself at least once a week.
  • Watch less than 10 hours of TV a week.

Also, remember that it takes fewer calories to maintain your new weight than it did your old weight. By not returning to old eating habits, the battle to stay slim will be won more easily.

More information

The National Weight Control Registry has more real-life tips to help you maintain your weight loss.