The Mediterranean diet is the “Best Diet Overall” of 2020, according to U.S. News & World Report, which for the past 10 years has enlisted a panel of health experts in such fields as nutrition, weight management, diabetes, food psychology, and public health to evaluate popular diet plans (35 this year), judging their nutritional completeness, effectiveness, ease of use, potential risks, and other attributes.
There is no single “Mediterranean diet” across such culinarily diverse countries as Greece, Spain, and Italy. But the traditional diets in this region are typically rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, herbs, and olive oil, with moderate amounts of fish and red wine and some dairy, eggs, and poultry, but infrequent red meat and sweets (thus making it low in saturated fat and added sugars).
The diet—which has been linked to a range of health benefits including reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes—was deemed to be nutritionally sound, diverse in foods and flavors, and affordable. It was also ranked the #1 Best Plant-Based Diet, Best Diabetes Diet, Best Diet for Healthy Eating (tied with DASH), and Easiest Diet to Follow.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.
Also see Mediterranean vs. Vegetarian Diets.