Best Diets of 2021

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BEST RANKED DIETS OF 2021!

Best Diets, Best Diets of 2021, Best Diets of 2022, Top Diet Trends

At some point in our lives, we all diet or change our lifestyle in one way or another. Some of us change for personal reasons due to a change in our beliefs, the want to lose/gain weight, due to health reasons recommended by a doctor, and/or just because we want to feel better physically and mentally. And with 2022 already here, the “New Year, New You” mantra is also upon us again! Whatever your reason, let's dive into the best diets of 2021!

According to the U.S. News World and Report, the top 3 best (most popular) diets of the year ranked as follows: The Mediterranean Diet which has been ranked #1 for 3 years running! And tied for 2nd place is the DASH and Flexitarian Diets. If you are not aware of what these diets are or the listed benefits (as I was also curious myself), here’s a short rundown of each:

MEDITERRANEAN DIET

How and/or where did this diet come about?

This is not necessarily a diet plan for weight loss as some see it as, but more of a style of eating that evolved naturally centuries ago in the Mediterranean Cities of Ikaria, Greece and Sardina, Italy - to areas in which it’s said people live longer and have a lower rate of diseases.

What are the basic guidelines and/or restrictions?

It’s not as restrictive as most diets and is instead rich in fresh, whole foods and low in red meat and processed foods. Fill half of your plate with fruit and vegetables, and then devote one each of the remaining two quarters to lean proteins (go to in this diet is fish, but other proteins okay still) and whole grains. Aim to add a serving of low-fat or nonfat dairy, like milk or yogurt, to the side of each meal.

What may be the benefits of eating this way?

Other than obvious weight loss benefits, it is said that this is a heart healthy diet and it also may improve type 2 diabetes management. Doctors have also given kudos to this diet in aiding to lower the likelihood of some cancers, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Mediterranean Diet

DASH DIET

How and/or where did this diet come about?

It stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”. This was developed specifically to help people lower high blood pressure. The DASH diet involves making dietary changes that are manageable and flexible for each individual - mainly in those with high blood pressure and those at risk and/or dealing with heart disease.

What are the basic guidelines and/or restrictions?

The food options recommended closely follow the eating plan recommended in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate,  which focuses on whole foods, such as fresh fruit and veggies, fat-free or low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean cuts of meats, fish, and poultry. This means cutting back or completely eliminating processed foods, and limiting red meat. The Standard DASH diet plan also limits sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams per day - less if your doctor recommends it.

What may be the benefits of eating this way?

This is a great plan for people who have high blood pressure, who have a family history of heart disease, and or/ who are at risk or currently managing type 2 diabetes.

Dash Diet

FLEXITARIAN DIET

How and/or where did this diet come about?

This diet is just as you may think it sounds - flexible vegetarian diet. The thought of reaping the benefits of a surplus of fresh vegetables and fruits while still also enjoying the occasional steak, chicken or fish if you choose. It was also ranked as one of the easiest diets to follow as it is just that, flexible.

What are the basic guidelines and/or restrictions?

It goes off the basic guidelines of eating plant based with only excluding sometimes animal proteins. It is recommended to start out with two vegetarian days a week (no more than 26oz of meat total in the remaining 5 days) and working up to 3-4 vegetarian days a week (no more than 18oz of meat total in the remaining 3-4 days).

What may be the benefits of eating this way?

This way of eating may reduce insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes - also known as a diabetes friendly diet. Can also help with weight loss, lower your risk of heart disease, contribute to a longer life, it’s easy to follow, it’s a money saver, keeps you fuller longer and you are better nourished with all of the fresh fruits and vegetables you are consuming, and even reduces your carbon footprint.  

Flexitarian Diet

Notice a common denominator in the benefits of each as to why these diets were chosen as the best for 2021?? If you didn’t notice, each of the above diets have benefits in reducing the likelihood of, but more importantly the effects if you unfortunately already have it, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. If you are a Type 2 diabetic, you are at a higher risk for heart disease than someone who doesn’t. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. - approximately 647,000 deaths a year! A simple change in your lifestyle could save your life and give you years to enjoy what’s left!

Among the 3 diets listed above, there is still a laundry list of other diets and ways of eating out there that I could go on for days about. For personal reasons over the past 15 plus years, I have tried calorie counting, macro counting, low carb, restrictive dieting, intermittent fasting, and intuitive eating. Sounds like a lot to put my body through but honestly I just tried different things for weight loss, muscle gain, my physical health and mental well being.

I gave each one a shot for at least 6+ months to see the pros and cons of each. Doing these at different times of my life depending on my goals and for at least 6+ months at a time. This gave my body time to adjust in a healthy way and see what truly worked best for me -  I always spoke to a doctor along the way to make sure I was not harming myself in any way. Finding what works best for you is just that - figuring out what works best for your body and lifestyle through true research and trial/error methods.

There is just so much to choose from though, it can be overwhelming to say the least! Below I have compiled a list of some of the other types of dietary/nutrition plans that are out there and a basic “what is it” of what each of them are basically about. I encourage you to also do your own research of course as with the benefits of each, there also may be downsides that you need to be aware of. And for those of which you may want to try out for yourself, I again encourage you to do your own research and to remember to always speak with your doctor before starting any lifestyle change - especially those with any medical concerns.

Food Journal 

Other types of diets/nutrition plans from Nutritioned.org depending on your goals:

  • Calorie Counting - utilizing a calorie calculator online such as the one on healthline to figure out how many calories to eat in a day for weight loss, maintenance or weight gain.
  • Macro Counting - similar to calorie counting in using a calculator but for finding out the amount of each macronutrient (proteins, carbs, fats) to eat in a day for your goals. Again used for weight loss, maintenance or weight gain.
  • Low Carb - this diet limits carbohydrates in the form of grains, starchy vegetables and fruits. Focusing more on high protein and fat. Unlike the keto diet, you do consume carbs but no more than 100-150 grams depending on your current weight. Some use for weight loss, to improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, etc.
  • Intermittent Fasting - this is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of fasting and eating. The most typical plan is you fast for 16 hours and eat within an 8 hour window. For example, someone’s calorie intake target is 1600 calories per day and they eat that all between 11:00am and 7:00pm while fasting from 7:00pm until 11:00am the next day. Can help with weight loss, reduce the effects of Type 2 diabetes and may improve heart and brain health, reduces oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, etc. 
  • Intuitive Eating - means that you make peace with all types of foods and stop looking at it as good or bad, but instead listen to your body and your instincts and eat what feels right for you. This can completely change your behavior on how you look at food, which for some of us can be triggering. Changing your relationship with food can in turn increase your health benefits such as weight loss, weight gain and overall anxiety about eating in general when you don’t put so much stress and focus of your life on what you are consuming.
  • Whole30 - a way of eating that puts your focus on how your body responds to food as a whole, basically a reset of your body for 30 days eliminating certain foods that can be problematic for your health and fitness goals. This focuses on eating more whole foods. People who have completed the 30 days have noted improvements in energy, sleep, mood, focus, digestion, pain and even athletic performance.
  • Paleo Diet - more natural way of eating, one that almost abandons all intake of sugar with the exception of some fruit. Also includes grass-fed meats. The main benefit is this trains your body to use fat as its main fuel source.
  • Blood Type Diet - some doctors have started research on this to see if it actually is helpful to some people. It basically match’s people’s dietary needs based off of blood typing. For example, type O blood types are recommended to eat lots of food high in protein.
  • Vegan diet - this is a form of the vegetarian diet but also eliminates all animal products. For some it minimizes the overall risk of coronary heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure. However, those who choose this way of eating must also find a way to add in more sources of protein and Vitamin B-12 in their diets.
  • South Beach Diet - based on the premise of changing overall health habits. Certain carbs are completely avoided but not rid of altogether. This is more for educational purposes on which carbs are considered “good carbs”.
  • Raw Food Diet - eliminates the intake of any foods that have been pasteurized or produced with any kind of synthetics or additives. This is intended to increase energy, decrease inflammation, while also lowering the number of carcinogens in your diet as a whole.

There are probably so many more out there as the nutrition world is ever changing. If you found a new one that I have not listed, I’d love to hear more about it! Either comment below or email me, Kerry Boothby, and I’d love to dive more into what you have found! 

Over the next few weeks we will dive more into each of the dietary meal choices that Eat Well has to offer you as well as different ways we help you in achieving your specific goals! So be sure to check back over the next few weeks to find posts about Whole30, Keto and more!

 

 

 

 

 

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