It’s that time of the year again: U.S. News and World Report recently released its annual best diets rankings for 2018. The problem with this rating system is that diets are rated against the USDA Food Guide pyramid as the gold standard. While the U.S. public has gotten smarter about the right way to eat for positive health outcomes, it’s clear that U.S. News & World Report and its nutrition council are relying on the dogma of the past by using the U.S. Dietary Guidelines as its baseline to rate all diets against it. The Guidelines are outdated and do not include current gold-standard science.
As a result, Atkins ranked #36 as Best Diet Overall, and tied at #7 for Best Fast Weight Loss Diets and tied at #14 for Best Weight Loss Diets, with the misleading description of “you’ll eat lots of fatty foods”. While it’s true that “sugar and simple starches like potatoes, white bread and rice are all squeezed out; protein and fat like chicken, meat and eggs are embraced”, there’s no mention of the fact that you eat more vegetables per day on Atkins than the average American does. Or that on Atkins 40 or 100, you eat a wide variety of foods, including whole grains and starchy vegetables, from the get go.
Meanwhile the DASH Diet continues to rank at #1 for Best Diet Overall, but there is a new tie for #1 with the Mediterranean Diet.
While the Mediterranean Diet is rich in vegetables, seafood, nuts and seeds, olive oil; some poultry, eggs, yogurt and cheese; and limited amounts of red meat, it’s also high in starchy vegetables, bread and pasta, which may be challenging if you’re carbohydrate intolerant.
The government-designed DASH Diet, the perpetual prom queen of the Best Diet Overall category, is based on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which, as I’ve said before, are based on flawed and inconclusive research to cut fat, with 50% of daily caloric intake coming from carbs (but without clear guidance on how to do this). Meanwhile, I’ve written about research that shows that a lower carb version of the DASH Diet has shown reductions in blood pressure, triglycerides and very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). It will be interesting to see how the DASH Diet changes if the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are updated, since there is consensus from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine Food and Nutrition Board of the Health and Medical Division that changes need to be made to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
As I’ve said before, the best-ranked diet may not be the best diet for you, because nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all approach. The best diet for you is one that fits your lifestyle and work for the long term, which means it’s possible that Atkins can be your best diet for weight loss and overall health.