January’s flying by, but 2015 is still new enough to keep the predictions coming. The latest list, to hit the streets, is provided by U.S. News & World Report ranking the top 35 diets for the upcoming year. Decided on by a group of doctors and experts, this list quickly developed a theme that was no surprise to us – Eat More Plants!
Plants, Plants and more Plants!
From the #1 diet DASH to the top heart-healthy diet Ornish, diets with an emphasis on fruits, veggies, nuts and grains are the healthiest. U.S. News & World Report said it best:
Research suggests plant-based diets help keep cholesterol and blood pressure in check and heart disease at bay. That’s in large part because plant protein is higher in fiber than animal protein, with less fat and no cholesterol.
The Flexitarian Diet came in at number six with its ease of use and healthy food choices, focused on fruits, veggies, whole grains and plant-based proteins. The stats supporting this vegetarian-based diet are impressive:
Flexitarians weigh 15 percent less than their more carnivorous counterparts; have a lower rate of heart disease, diabetes and cancer; and live an average of 3.6 years longer.
Pass on the Red Meat
Red meat wasn’t present in any of the top diets. In fact, the TLC Diet (ranked number two) “strongly discouraged” people from eating red meat based on its high levels of saturated fat. When animal products were suggested, they focused on low-fat options.
Though many people are concerned with protein intake, most diets promoted plant-based foods and proteins.
None of the top three diets were strictly plant-based, but they were all plant-reliant, making it clear that an increase in plant consumption leads to better health. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines echoed this as Americans are getting too little fiber, potassium, calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.
The reports had some interesting thoughts in regard to the popular Paleo Diet.
Experts took issue with the diet on every measure. Regardless of the goal – weight loss, heart health or finding a diet that’s easy to follow – most experts concluded that it would be better for dieters to look elsewhere. “A true Paleo diet might be a great option: very lean, pure meats, lots of wild plants,” said one expert – quickly adding, however, that duplicating such a regimen in modern times would be difficult.