Experts Trim the Fat on 2018’s Best Diets

BY Courtney Huckabay

Each year, U.S. News asks a panel of nutritionists, dietary consultants and doctors who specialize in diabetes, heart health and weight loss to score dozens of diets in nine categories — including ease of adherence, best for heart health and diabetes, and best for fast weight loss. There is also a category for best plant-​based diets, according to an NPR article.

"For the first time this year, a panel of experts convened annually by U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Mediterranean diet as No. 1 in its Best Overall Diet category," Allison Aubrey reports. "The DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet tied for the top spot. The Mediterranean diet also earned the top spot in the Easiest To Follow category. "We continue to see more and more robust research suggesting its benefits for weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention and diabetes prevention and control," says Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health at U.S. News & World Report."

Dieticians can promote these rankings to entice new and lapsed clients. The new AudienceSCAN study reported 42% of Americans set personal goals to lose weight this year.

"Other top contenders in the easy-​to-​follow category include the commercial weight-​loss plan Weight Watchers and the Flexitarian diet, which is a flexible, mostly vegetarian approach to eating."

"Two diets are new to the list this year. The Ketogenic (or "Keto") diet is a very low-​carb, high-​fat approach to weight loss. It's not a new idea. It has been used as an approach to prevent seizures in children with epilepsy for decades."

Nutritionists can promote these diets through direct mail. The latest AudienceSCAN survey revealed 36% of Weight Loss Seekers took action based on the ads/​coupons in their mailboxes from the past month.

"As the Harvard Health Blog explains, once our bodies have used up all the sugars we've consumed, our bodies can switch over to using stored fat as a source of energy — which can aid weight loss. This usually happens "over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day," explains Dr. Marcelo Campos in a Harvard Health Blog post."

"Despite its popularity, the Keto diet comes in last place in the U.S. News ranking. "Our experts agree the low-​carb plan isn't a healthy way to lose weight. It can be extreme — and hard to stick to," says Haupt of U.S. News."

Weight loss centers can inform consumers of the healthy diet choices through television (over-​the-​air, online, mobile or tablet). The most recent AudienceSCAN study showed 60.5% of Weight Loss Seekers took action ater watching TV spots during the past year.

"The other diet new to the U.S. News ranking is the Nutritarian diet, which is ranked No. 15 in the Best Diets Overall category. It was created by family physician Joel Fuhrman. The plant-​centered diet emphasizes foods that are nutrient dense, such as kale and other leafy greens. Its emphasis is on avoiding disease-​causing foods."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall or with the SalesFuel API.