Unfortunately, one of the worst ones happens to be the most popular. Read on to see which diets are worth exploring and which you should skip this year.

Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D.
January 02, 2020
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Every year in January, U.S. News & World Report comes out with their list of the best diets, ranked by experts and divided into categories like best overall diet, best for diabetes and best for short-term weight loss.

Of course, when it comes to diet, there isn't a one-size-fits-all approach. Some aspects of these diets are going to work for you and some won't—regardless of what the experts say. However, they did pull together experts in nutrition, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease to rate diets on weight-loss (both short- and long-term), safety, how easy they are to follow and reducing your risk of chronic disease.

Now in its tenth year, U.S. News & World Report ranked 35 diets to help people make more informed decisions about how to eat—especially when it comes to diets you should skip. Here are some of the best and worst diets of the year.

The top diet of 2020, according to experts

Drumroll, please. The Mediterranean Diet comes in at number one for the third year in a row! There's a reason this is the diet all health experts can agree on. The Mediterranean Diet has been linked with longevity, better gut health, lower risk of heart disease and more. How do you eat this way? Think about focusing on vegtables, fruits, whole grains, seafood and healthy fats (with a glass of red wine here and there), while limiting processed foods and added sugars (see more tips for how to get started eating a Mediterranean Diet).

It also was voted number one as Best Diet for Healthy Eating, Easiest Diet to Follow, Best Diet for Diabetes and Best Plant-Based Diet. That's a lot of accolades for the humble Mediterranean Diet—and lots of reasons to give this eating style a go. Another reminder—even though it's called a "diet"—it's really just a healthy eating pattern that allows for lots of flexibility. It's very sustainable, which is part of the reason it ranks so high.

Rounding out the best overall diet list are:

2. The Flexitarian Diet: Think of this as plant-based eating for people who aren't ready to commit to a full vegetarian or vegan diet. All the benefits, without all the restriction.

3. DASH Diet: DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It sounds fancy, but it's really a simple diet that focused on lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, healthy fats and proteins and reduces processed foods and too much added salt. Try our 7-Day Dash Diet Meal Plan.

The worst diets of 2020, according to experts

The 3 diets rounding out the bottom of the list are:

35. Dukan Diet

34. Ketogenic Diet

33. Whole30 Diet

These three diets were voted too restrictive and unsustainable long term. They all cut out entire food groups (see everything you can and can't eat on the keto diet), which means it's harder to get all the nutrients you need. The ketogenic diet continues to be very popular—probably because while it's not considered a healthy diet overall, it was voted number 3 in the fast weight-loss diet category. While it's true you'll probably lose weight on one of these diets, they won't be the ones keeping you healthy and nourished year after year.

Here's a complete list of the categories and winners

  • Best Diet Overall: Mediterranean Diet.
  • Best Weight-Loss Diet: WW (Weight Watchers)
  • Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet: HMR Diet
  • Best Diet for Healthy Eating: Mediterranean Diet
  • Easiest Diet to Follow: Mediterranean Diet
  • Best Diet for Diabetes: Mediterranean Diet
  • Best Heart-Healthy Diet: Ornish Diet
  • Best Commercial Diet: WW (Weight Watchers)
  • Best Plant-Based Diet: Mediterranean Diet

So, which diet should you follow this January?

All the top diets have a few things in common. They're flexible (meaning no huge list of foods you can't eat), they focus on whole foods like fruits and vegetables and have you reduce your processed foods and added sugars. Even if you don't jump on the Mediterranean Diet bandwagon, you can still adopt a lot of the healthy-eating principles of the diet (try these 8 ways to improve your health from the Mediterranean Diet). As the diet craziness settles down and regular life resumes, hopefully you've picked a plan that you can stick with—one that includes all your favorite foods, but maybe a few more vegetables too.