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The Best (and Worst) Diets of 2020 According to Experts

Popsugar logo Popsugar 14/1/2020 Bree-Grant
a person sitting at a table with a vase of flowers: Getty / RossHelen © Getty / RossHelen Getty / RossHelen

Over time, we've become a lot more conscious of what we're putting into our bodies. As a society we're trying to move away from toxic 'diet-culture' and move towards a more body-positive, self love lifestyle. And the more aware we've become about how dangerous 'fad diets' can be for our overall health (physical and mental), the more we're choosing to shift our focus towards being fit and healthy rather than losing weight.

A big part of this is our diet. Discovering what works for you can be a huge game changer in how you chose to fuel your body. So how do you cut through all the information out there and find a 'diet' that suits you? Cue: U.S. News & World's annual review.

Each year a range of health experts, including nutritionists and specialists in diabetes, heart health, human behaviour and weight loss, analyse 35 of the most popular diet trends and give their overall health rating based on their research and expert opinions. This creates a helpful, trustworthy guide we can use to figure out what's actually a healthy, sustainable lifestyle change and what's merely a passing phase.

Here's everything you need to know about the best and worst diets in 2020.

The Best Diets of 2020 — The Mediterranean Diet

How does it work? The Mediterranean diet doesn't count calories or track your eating habits, it's more about using the Mediterranean food pyramid as a guide to the kinds of foods you should be eating.

What kinds of food can you eat? The pyramid encourages you to eat fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and flavourful herbs and spices. When it comes to protein intake, it encourages you to eat fish and seafood at least a couple of times a week; and poultry, eggs, dairy products like cheese and yogurt in moderation, while saving sweets and red meat for special occasions. And of course it wouldn't be a Mediterranean diet unless you added a splash of red wine here and there.

Expert rating: 4.8 out of 5. 

The DASH Diet

How does it work? The DASH Diet, (dietary approaches to stop hypertension), is promoted by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to do exactly what it says on the lid: stop (or prevent) hypertension, aka high blood pressure. It encourages you to eat foods that are high in blood pressure-deflating nutrients, while discouraging you from eating foods that are saturated in fat or hight in sodium.

What kinds of food can you eat? Fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy products.

Expert rating: 4.1 out of 5. 

The Flexitarian Diet

How does it work? If you're a Felxi, you're basically a vegetarian who still loves a chicken nugget after a big night out, (Hi, Me). The term was coined by dietitian Dawn Jackson Blanter who says that you don't have to eliminate meat completely to reap the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. Eating a more plant-based diet can improve overall health and lower the risk of heart diseases, diabetes and cancer.

What kinds of food can you eat? You eat a mostly plant-based diet made up of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and proteins like beans, peas and eggs.

Expert rating: 4.1 out of 5.

How does it work? The Dukan diet is a rule heavy diet that encourages you to load up on the protein and go through restricted eating phases. The phases include, "Attack, Cruise, Consolidation and Permanent Stabilisation".

What kinda foods can you eat? Depending on which phase you're in, you're restricted from eating certain foods. The first phase is "Attack" and it's where basically all you eat is protein. The second is the "Cruise" phase is where you to start incorporating some veggies back into your diet on select days. The third phase is "Consolidation", when you begin introducing other foods like grains and dairy back in, and the final phase that you enter is the "Permanent Stabilisation" phase where you begin eating all food groups again.

Expert rating: 1.9 out of 5. 

The Keto Diet

How does it work?Keto is a high-fat, low carb diet that aims to emphasise weight loss through fat burning. The diet comes with heavy carb restrictions and encourages your body to enter a state of ketosis (when your body breaks down both dietary and stored body fat into substances called ketones).

What kinds of food can you eat? Low carb veggies like spinach, kale and lettuce, along with broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers. Avoiding starchy root foods like carrots, potatoes, turnips and parsnips. You'll increase your fat intake by eating fatty meats like chicken thighs, rib-eye steaks, grass-fed ground beef, fattier fish like salmon, beef brisket or pork shoulder, and bacon.

Expert rating: 2 out of 5.

The Whole 30

How does it work? While the Whole30 is only a 30 day diet, it's a highly restricted 30 days of eating. You remove all traces of sugar, alcohol, grains, dairy and legumes, which gives the body time to heal from inflammatory foods and re-set.

What kinds of food can you eat? You're encouraged to eat only raw, whole foods for example fruits and vegetables.

Expert rating: 2.1 out of 5.

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