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For the third straight year, The Mediterranean Diet tops U.S. News and World Report’s list of best overall diets for 2020, and just in time for the new year diet blitz when millions of Americans are plotting their course for a healthier year ahead.

The Mediterranean Diet Plan, which emphasizes plenty of lean meats like fish along with fresh vegetables, vitamin-rich nuts and beans, and healthy oils, has long been a darling of the nutritionist set, lauded for its diversity and balance. The diet finished first in Best Overall Diet but also topped a number of other sub-categories within the report including Best Diet for Healthy Eating, Best Diet for Diabetes, Best Plant-Based Diet (though it is not fully vegetarian), and Easiest Diet to Follow.

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The DASH Diet, one rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods and promoted by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, finished second overall, tied with the Flexitarian Diet, which stresses more vegetables and vegetarian food, with meat and other animal byproducts consumed in strict moderation.

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Other categories included Best Commercial Diet in which Weight Watchers took the top spot followed by Jenny Craig. Best Diet for Weight Loss was snagged by the Health Management Resources Program—or The HMR Diet—which focuses on medical supervision and targeted meal replacement via low-calorie shakes, meals, nutrition bars, and multigrain cereal.


According to the report, U.S. News convened an expert panel of the country’s top nutritionists, dietary consultants, and physicians specializing in diabetes, heart health, and weight loss. Through an in-depth survey, 25 panelists scored 35 diets in seven areas, including ease of compliance, likelihood of losing significant weight in the short and long term, and effectiveness against cardiovascular disease and diabetes. For further details on how the rankings were calculated, see the complete methodology here.

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Noticeably missing from the top results was the uber-popular Keto Diet—a strict low carb, high fat/protein diet, which has captured the attention of millions of Americans over the past several years but has been criticized for its long-term risk to heart health. Keto finished 34th out of the 35 total diets considered. 

See the winners for each diet category below and click on the links for a complete list of the winners.

Best Diets Overall

  1. Mediterranean Diet
  2. DASH Diet (tie)
  3. Flexitarian Diet (tie)

Best Commercial Diets

  1. WW (Weight Watchers)
  2. Jenny Craig
  3. Nutritarian Diet

Best Weight-Loss Diets

  1. WW (Weight Watchers)
  2. Volumetrics (tie)
  3. Vegan Diet (tie)

Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets

  1. HMR Diet
  2. Optavia Diet
  3. WW (Weight Watchers) (tie)
  4. Atkins (tie)
  5. Ketogenic Diet (tie)
  6. Jenny Craig (tie)

Best Diets For Healthy Eating

  1. Mediterranean Diet (tie)
  2. DASH Diet (tie)
  3. Flexitarian Diet

Easiest Diets to Follow

  1. Mediterranean Diet
  2. Flexitarian Diet
  3. WW (Weight Watchers) (tie)
  4. MIND Diet (tie)

Best Diets For Diabetes

  1. Mediterranean Diet
  2. DASH Diet (tie)
  3. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
  4. Mayo Clinic Diet (tie)
  5. Vegan Diet (tie)

Best Heart-Healthy Diets

  1. Ornish Diet
  2. Mediterranean Diet
  3. DASH Diet

Best Plant-Based Diets

  1. Mediterranean Diet
  2. Flexitarian Diet
  3. Ornish Diet (tie)
  4. Vegetarian Diet (tie)
  5. Nordic Diet (tie)

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

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