Before you embark on Whole30, read this …
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'Tis the season to set some resolutions! (By the way, you can set resolutions that add more good to your life rather than restrict major elements, such as carbs or sugar.)  And if your resolution has to do with eating healthier—consistently one of the top five resolutions each year—listen up: The best and worst diets of the year have just been revealed. Each January, U.S. News & World Report comes out with their list of the best diets, ranked by medical experts and divided into categories like best overall diet, best for heart health and best for weight loss. Now in its 12th year, U.S. News & World Report ranked 40 diets to help people make more informed choices about what deserves real estate on their plate.

A panel of 27 nationally recognized experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease reviewed the review brand's profiles of each diet, added their own fact-finding about the programs and rated each of the 40 diets in seven categories:

  • How easy it is to follow
  • Its ability to produce short-term weight loss
  • Its ability to produce long-term weight loss
  • Its nutritional completeness
  • Its safety
  • Its potential for preventing and managing diabetes
  • Its potential for preventing and managing heart disease

These expert ratings were converted into scores, which were used to determine the best diets in all nine categories (more on each below).

So which cuisine reigns supreme?

Before we dive in, here's a walk down memory lane of previous U.S. News & World Report ratings:

A collection of food items that are part of the Mediterranean diet on a designed background
Credit: Adobe Stock / aamulya

The Top Diet of 2022

For the fifth year in a row, the Mediterranean diet earns the trophy as "Best Diet Overall." Ranked highly for its long-term sustainability (meaning you likely won't feel too restricted to stick with this for a lifetime), this eating plan also earned top ranks as the Best Diet for Healthy Eating, the Easiest Diet to Follow, the Best Diet for Diabetes, the Best Heart-Healthy Diet and the Best Plant-Based Diet. (Might we also add, one of the best diets for the brain to help prevent dementia?)

So how do you get started? Focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood and healthy fats, with a glass of red wine here or there (if you choose to drink alcohol). Limit processed foods and added sugars, sprinkle in some daily movement and time with loved ones.

In a tie for the second-best diet of 2022, you'll find the blood pressure-lowering DASH diet and the "meat on the side" Flexitarian diet. In fourth is the dementia-reducing MIND diet, and in a tie for the fifth position? The TLC diet (an abbreviation for "Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes," a diet created by the National Institute of Health's National Cholesterol Education Program), the new Mayo Clinic diet, produce-focused Volumetrics and WW (formerly Weight Watchers).

The Worst Diets of 2022, According to Experts

The Dukan diet, which spiked in popularity after Kate Middleton and her mom reportedly followed it prior to the royal wedding, landed in last place at #40 alongside the GAPS diet, a gut-health-focused elimination diet.

In a tie for #38 are two forms of ultra-low-carb diets: the Keto diet and a Modified Keto diet. (The "modified" version suggests users aim for 50% to 65% fat rather than the typical keto level of 70% to 75% fat.)

Due to all of their rules and restrictions, the Whole30 diet and inflammation-minded AIP (Autoimmune Protocol) diet tied for #36.

All of the Best Diet Categories and Winners

  • Best Diet Plan: Mayo Clinic diet
  • Best Weight-Loss Diet: Tie between the Flexitarian diet, Volumetrics diet and WW (formerly Weight Watchers)
  • Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet: Atkins
  • Best Diet for Healthy Eating: Mediterranean diet
  • Easiest Diet to Follow: Mediterranean diet
  • Best Diet for Diabetes: Mediterranean diet
  • Best Heart-Healthy Diet: Mediterranean diet
  • Best Plant-Based Diet: Mediterranean diet

So, Which Diet Should You Follow?

All the best diets of 2022 have a few things in common:

  • They're flexible, meaning there's not a massive list of "off-limits" foods
  • They focus on whole foods, including fruits and vegetables
  • They suggest reducing consumption of processed foods and added sugars

While the Mediterranean diet was selected as the gold medalist again this year, you need not stick to every tenet to score some major body benefits. Adding an extra serving of antioxidant fruit to lunch or eating one extra portion of heart-healthy fish doesn't have to be part of any particular "plan"—it's just a wise (and delicious!) habit. (But in case you could use some more convincing that the best diet is worthy of the #1 slot, consider these 8 ways to improve your health from the Mediterranean diet.)

As the January excitement wears off, hopefully you've picked an eating strategy that you can stick with. According to our on-staff dietitians, your best eating plan for the new year is one that includes all of your favorite foods—and maybe a few more vegetables too.