Year’s best, trendi­est di­ets re­vealed

Mediter­ranean diet still the gold stan­dard

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - NEWS - Re­becca King

De­pend­ing on who you talk to, di­et­ing is life-chang­ing, ter­ri­ble for you, op­ti­mistic, mis­guided, will keep you alive or put you in an early grave.

Then there’s all that lingo that comes with mas­ter­ing the bi­o­log­i­cal the­o­ries be­hind di­et­ing, like ke­to­sis and alkaline and lectin — phrases that make you feel like you’re in a sci­ence class rather than just try­ing to shed a few pounds or live a health­ier life.

Have no fear, be­cause we’ve got a sim­pli­fied guide for you about the trendi­est di­ets of the new year — that self­con­scious time when ev­ery­one’s reeval­u­at­ing their life­style.

U.S. News and World Re­port has re­leased its an­nual rank­ings of the Best Di­ets for 2019, re­veal­ing the Mediter­ranean diet was the best over­all choice.

Each diet de­scrip­tion be­low is a rat­ing of its ef­fec­tive­ness, based on U.S. News and World Re­port rank­ings. We’ve in­cluded their find­ings, based on in­put from a panel of health ex­perts, on weight loss and health­i­ness for each diet. While do­ing this study they took into ac­count the diet be­ing “rel­a­tively easy to fol­low, nu­tri­tious, safe, ef­fec­tive for weight loss and pro­tec­tive against di­a­betes and heart dis­ease.”

Here are the diet trends you’re likely to see ref­er­enced in celebrity In­sta­gram captions this year.

Ke­to­genic

Per­haps the big­gest fad that’s rid­ing its wave of pop­u­lar­ity right into 2019 is the Ke­to­genic, or “Keto,” diet. Celebs like Kourt­ney Kar­dashian, Al Ro­ker and Vinny Guadagnino (who af­fec­tion­ately went by the nick­name “Keto Guido” on the new sea­sons of “Jer­sey Shore”) have pop­u­lar­ized the diet. Ke­to­genic di­ets are low on carbs and high on fat, which puts the body in a state of ke­to­sis. Ke­to­sis is a meta­bolic state that hap­pens when your body doesn’t have enough car­bo­hy­drates for your cells to burn for en­ergy. So, in­stead, it burns fat. The Keto diet is very ef­fec­tive at slim­ming your waist­line, but does cause huge changes to your body that aren’t al­ways pos­i­tive. U.S. News & World Re­port says that chang­ing the way your body is fu­eled from carbs to fat can lead to leg cramps, de­hy­dra­tion, brain fog, dizzi­ness and more.

U.S. News & World Re­port: 3.1/5 Weight Loss | 1.5/5 Healthy

Pa­leo

The phi­los­o­phy of this diet is in the name. The Pa­leo diet en­cour­ages peo­ple to eat foods that would have been avail­able to our Pa­le­olithic an­ces­tors. In case you need to brush up on your high school sci­ence, the Pa­le­olithic era started 2.5 mil­lion years ago. Ba­si­cally, with this diet you’re look­ing at meals that could ei­ther be hunted or gath­ered — lean meats, fish, veg­eta­bles, nuts and seeds. And, be­cause farm­ing hadn’t been de­vel­oped yet in the Pa­le­olithic era, Pa­leo di­eters are ex­pected to cut out foods that be­came pop­u­lar­ized through farm­ing like dairy prod­ucts, legumes and grains, as well. Those who fol­low the Pa­leo diet be­lieve that mod­ern eat­ing habits don’t suit our pre­his­toric ge­netic makeup, so we should re­turn to Stone Age-ap­proved meals.

U.S. News & World Re­port: 2.5/5 Weight Loss | 2.7/5 Healthy

Alkaline Diet

Acid is the en­emy of the Alkaline diet . The thought be­hind this diet is to cut out foods that cause your body to pro­duce acid – in­clud­ing meat, wheat, re­fined sugar, pro­cessed foods, dairy, eggs, canned food, pack­aged snacks, caf­feine and al­co­hol. You may be think­ing: what else is there to eat? The Alkaline diet ap­proves of most fruits and veg­eta­bles, nuts, legumes, soy­beans and tofu. These are foods that are alkaline — in other words have a pH value of 7, which is neu­tral, or above. Foods with a pH value be­low 7 are acidic, and there­fore a no-go. That said, there is no solid sci­ence to sup­port that reg­u­lat­ing the pH val­ues of your food will change the over­all pH bal­ance of your body. It will do that nat­u­rally. How­ever, in gen­eral, eat­ing a lot of fruits and veg­gies and avoid­ing pro­cessed foods will make you lose weight.

U.S. News & World Re­port: 2.1/5 Weight Loss | 3.0/5 Healthy

Whole30

A pop­u­lar diet that spurred a New York Times best­selling book, Whole30 en­cour­ages peo­ple to eat foods with as few in­gre­di­ents as pos­si­ble, and all those in­gre­di­ents should be sub­stances you know and can pro­nounce. The pro­gram’s web­site claims that if you com­pletely avoid foods such as al­co­hol, any­thing with added sugar, legumes, dairy and more, for 30 days, you will “elim­i­nate cravings, re­store a healthy me­tab­o­lism, heal the di­ges­tive tract, re­duce sys­temic in­flam­ma­tion, and dis­cover how these foods are truly im­pact­ing how you look, how you feel, and your qual­ity of life.” This pro­gram also ad­vo­cates not step­ping on a scale, to make the diet more about health than weight loss.

U.S. News & World Re­port: 2.4/5 on Weight Loss | 2.4/5 on Healthy

Mediter­ranean

The Mediter­ranean diet ad­vo­cates heart-healthy foods that are typ­i­cally eaten in the Mediter­ranean. The diet guides peo­ple to eat plenty of plants and foods that are low on “bad” choles­terol, such as legumes, nuts, wheat, fruits and veg­gies. For ex­am­ple, in this diet, you re­place but­ter with healthy fats like olive oil, salt with herbs and spices, and red meat with fish and poul­try. Plus, it to­tally en­cour­ages a glass of red wine ev­ery now and then. In essence, you’re not avoid­ing fats and carbs, you’re just choos­ing the health­ier ver­sions.

U.S. News & World Re­port: 3.0/5 on Weight loss | 4.9/5 on Healthy

GETTY IM­AGES

A healthy diet doesn’t re­quire a com­plete life change. In­stead, make smarter choices more of­ten when shop­ping, cook­ing and eat­ing.

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