For the eighth straight year, U.S. News & World Report has named the DASH diet the best overall diet for a healthy lifestyle. But this year, DASH is tied for the top spot with the Mediterranean diet The two diets were also tied for No. 1 in the Best Diet for Healthy Eating category.
The report, which ranked 40 diets on everything from weight loss to managing diabetes and heart disease, gave high marks to plans that emphasized nutritional completeness and were safe and easy to follow. This year, U.S. News ranked two new diets: the Keto diet and Nutritarian diet. The Keto diet — a low-carb, high-fat plan — was tied for last. The plant-focused Nutritarian diet, created by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, tied for No. 15 for Best Diet Overall.
The Mediterranean diet also earned the top spot in the Easiest To Follow, Best Diet for Diabetes and Best Plant-Based Diet categories.
Named for the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea whose residents live longer and are healthier than most Americans, the diet is high in fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes, seafood and olive oil, but low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat.
"We continue to see more and more robust research suggesting its benefits for weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention and diabetes prevention and control," Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health at U.S. News & World Report told NPR.
In addition to sharing the overall spot, DASH was tops in the Best Heart-Healthy Diet category. DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) was originally created to help patients lower blood pressure without medication. To that end, it encourages a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy, and less on processed sugars, red meat and other saturated fats.
Other diets ranking well included the Flexitarian (mostly vegetarian, to lower disease risk) and Weight Watchers (for short- and long-term weight loss). Hitting the bottom of the rankings were the Keto, Dukan, Whole30, Body Reset and Atkins diets, which experts faulted for both their restrictive nature, difficulty to follow, and lack of studies to back up claims.
Editor's note: This story has been updated since it was originally published in January 2015.