Experts say this is the best diet to follow in 2019

The new year is here, and many of us will be attempting to eat better and exercise more throughout 2019.

If you’re considering following a particular eating regime, there are plenty to choose from and it can sometimes be difficult to decipher fad from fact.

Each year U.S. News & World Report produces a ranking of the best diets to follow, using evaluation from a panel of experts, including nutritionists, dieticians, and heart health and weight loss specialists.

This year they ranked 41 popular diets under a series of categories, including best overall diet, best for weight-loss, best for fast weight-loss plan, best for diabetes, healthy eating, a healthy heart, the best plant-based regimes and the easiest to follow.

Best diets overall (also the winners for healthy eating)

Best diets overall (also the winners for healthy eating)

1. Mediterranean diet

2. DASH diet

3. Flexitarian diet

The criteria for the “best overall” category was that the diet must be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protect against diabetes and heart disease.

The Mediterranean diet was crowned best overall for the second year in a row by the report. This plan involves eating a diet rich in fish, nuts, olive oil, fresh fruit and veg, while lowering your intake of red meat, refined sugar and saturated fat. The diet has been linked to better heart health, cancer prevention and even a lower risk of depression.

The second overall winner was the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet which until this year had held the top spot for eight consecutive years (in 2018 it drew with the Mediterranean). The DASH diet is aimed at preventing high blood pressure (hypertension) and involves reducing your sodium intake while eating plenty of foods rich in minerals like potassium and calcium, which can help normalise blood pressure, such as fruit, veg, wholegrains and lean protein. It also involves eating less saturated fat, red meat and full-fat dairy, as well as tropical oils (like coconut oil) and sugar.

The Flexitarian diet, where you eat mainly plant-based foods but do not cut out meat altogether, which an estimated 22 million Brits are understood to currently identify as, came in as the third best eating regime overall. A move towards flexitarianism, by cutting down the consumption of meat could help us limit climate change and pollution and achieve a sustainable future, according to researchers from the University of Oxford.

The report included the Nordic diet, a plant-based diet which focuses on foods found in Scandinavia, for the first time this year, it was ranked the third best plant-based diet.

Meanwhile, the Keto – a low-carb, high-fat diet – was named one of the second best diet for fast weight-loss, moving up from 13th position in 2018, but did not rank among the top three in any of the other categories.