U.S. News enlisted the help of a panel of food and health experts to rank 40 diets on a variety of measures, like how easy it is to follow, the diet’s ability to help a person lose weight in the short and long term, safety and more. The company then converted the expert’s rankings into scores that allowed them to determine the top diets. Beyond best overall diet, the experts also ranked the best diets for weight loss, healthy eating and more.
The voices that carry the farthest over the sea of diet recommendations are those of iconoclasts—those who promise the most for the least, and do so with certainty. Amid the clamor, Dr. David Katz is emerging as an iconoclast on the side of reason. At least, that’s how he describes himself. From his throne at Yale University's Prevention Research Center, where he is a practicing physician and researcher, said sea of popular diet media is the institution against which he rebels. It’s not that nutrition science is corrupt, just that the empty promises of memetic, of-the-moment diet crazes are themselves junk food. To Katz they are more than annoying and confusing; they are dangerous injustice.
Blend a banana, strawberries, and blueberries into a frothy smoothie, and you’ve got a delicious drink. Make your own, so you can control the ingredients: skim milk (or an alternative, like almond milk) and fresh or frozen fruit are all you need. Restaurant smoothies may include ice cream, honey, or other sweeteners that boost the calorie count sky-high.
“If you are looking to speed up weight loss, adding 30 minutes of cardio three times per week will certainly help burn calories and body fat,” says Amie Hoff, Certified Fitness Professional in New York City. Short on time? Hoff suggests a HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout. “The idea is to push your body hard for a short burst with a period of recovery. I like to have people start with a 10 to 15 second sprint (run, bike, jump rope, run stairs or anything that gets your heart rate up) and then back off for 30 seconds to recover. As you get stronger, you will increase the sprint time and decrease the recovery period. A 15 minute HIIT session can be equivalent to a regular 30 minute cardio workout.”
Plain and simple: We just don't feel full by liquid calories in quite the same way as we do real food. Drinking a juice or caramel coffee drink, for instance, won't make you feel full the way eating a bowl of veggie- and protein-packed stir-fry will. So monitor your intake of juice, soda, sweetened coffee and tea, and alcoholic beverages. If you consume each of those beverages during the day, you'll have taken in at least 800 extra calories by nighttime — and you'll still be hungry. (Incidentally, alcohol may suppress the metabolism of fat, making it tougher for you to burn those calories.) Some other ways to skip sugar? Check 'em out here.
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“It’s important to consider your goals and health issues when it comes to diet,” says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN, and CEO of The NY Nutrition Group. For example, she would recommend a low-FODMAP diet for someone concerned with gastrointestinal issues. But it wouldn’t be the right fit for someone looking to lose weight, who would be better off with the DASH diet or Volumetrics, she explains.
In a study of over 120,000 healthy women and men spanning 20 years, researchers determined that weight change was most strongly associated with the intake of potato chips, potatoes, sugar-sweetened beverages, and both processed and unprocessed red meats. The researchers concluded that consumption of processed foods higher in starches, refined grains, fats, and sugars can increase weight gain.
It’s easy to see the front of a package and get lured in by misleading claims, particularly those that say they’re “free-from” something, says Taub-Dix. She points out that gluten-free foods may also be high in sugar, salt, calories, and fat and contain less fiber—and thus be weight-promoting. Reading the nutrition label will give you the real truth for what you’re buying.
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