Experts Ranked the Best and Worst Diets & a Popular One Came in Near-Last

Diets are no new thing. At different points in history, we've seen positively absurd trends, like consuming vinegar in excess and purposely infecting yourself with tapeworm. Nowadays, people actually believe that starving your body of an essential macronutrient is the secret to slimming down, that their magical brains can cope with the resulting fatigue, irritability, and social exclusion that comes with this dietary exclusion. This diet is called the Ketogenic diet, and it just ranked second to last on the U.S. News and World Report's new diet ranking, which was just released for the 10th year in a row. 

Keto! Everybody's doing it, but few people actually know what it is, and if they do know what it is, they are concerningly misinformed about the side effects and longterm consequences. It's important to turn to a professional when you make health decisions, not ever-oily YouTube personality Fitness Franky, who swears that a little obsession and extremism goes a long way. 

"The hallmarks of a 'best' diet include balance, maintainability, palatability, family-friendliness, sustainability, along with healthfulness," Yale University Prevention Research Center Founding Director Dr. David Katz told CNN. He was one of 25 judges on the U.S. News and World Report panel. "The Mediterranean diet gets checkmarks in all of those boxes." 

And so the Mediterranean diet, which, according to the study, has an "emphasis on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy fare," gets the No. 1 slot in the ranking. Of the 35 diets included in the study, here are the best and worst:

The best diets 
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. DASH Diet
3. Flexitarian Diet
4. Weight Watchers Diet
5. Mayo Clinic Diet
6. Volumetrics Diet
7. TLC Diet
8. Nordic Diet
9. Ornish Diet
10. Vegetarian Diet

The worst diets
1. Dukan Diet
2. Keto Diet
3. Whole30 Diet
4. Atkins Diet
5. Raw Food Diet
6. Paleo Diet
7. The Fast Diet
8. Optavia Diet
9. HMR Program
10. Slimfast Diet

If you want a description of each, you can check them out here, but it's not really necessary to read through them all because the overarching themes of both categories are apparent. The best diets focus on adding more health foods to the mix (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy), while the worst diets require extreme meal micromanagement, such as the elimination of entire food categories (primarily anything with carbs), fasting, incorporation of "meal replacements" (Slimfast), and other forms of extremism that will make you waste more energy than is necessary on reaching your health goals.

"If there was a diet or a pill or something that really was this miracle diet weight-loss thing that lasted and was healthy for you, we wouldn't have all these different diets all the time," Libby, a registered dietician, previously told Thrillist. She asked us if she could remain relatively anonymous due to the onslaught of hate mail she receives for speaking out against the keto diet. "There wouldn't be health complications, there wouldn't be so much controversy about it and the first time that you'd be learning about it wouldn't be on a 3pm talk show."

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Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.