Confirmed: This Is the Only Popular Diet That Actually Works

Sophie Miura

In an age when diets are as trendy and transient as the latest Swedish buzzword, it can be hard to discern between sustainable plans and short-lived fads. According to Lauren Kelly, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Kelly Wellness, making this distinction is crucial. "A fad diet is something that doesn't have real concrete evidence of success," she says. "A sustainable healthy eating plan is something with research backing it showing there have been long-term benefits to following."

While a slew of new diets emerges each year, Kelly cautions against experimenting with unsubstantiated plans. "One of the most common repercussions is the depletion of important nutrients that we need to function at our best," she explains. "Also, if we make large dietary changes, we can alter our gut flora, [which] is crucial for our digestive system and immune health."

So how do you know which diets are credible and which to avoid? "Overhauling your lifestyle to fit a diet is likely not going to result in as much success as finding a diet that fits into your current lifestyle best," she advises. Here, Kelly gives an honest, informed review of the most talked-about diets so you can find the best option for your lifestyle.

It's time to set the record straight: These are the best (and worst) diets to kick-start your spring health routine.

Mediterranean Diet

Philosophy:

The Mediterranean diet replicates the traditional eating plan followed by people who live in countries along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, like Greece and Italy. It embraces foods that are naturally abundant and has few restrictions.

Hero foods:

"The Mediterranean diet emphasizes a plant-based diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts and seeds, as well as extra-virgin olive oil and a few weekly servings of fatty fish and eggs," Kelly explains. Few foods are off-limits, but the diet is free of processed products and "is limited in dairy (particularly cheese such as parmesan and mozzarella), red meat, and sweets."

Verdict: 10/10

This is one of the best diets you can follow, says Kelly. "There's a great deal of research to support the Mediterranean diet," she says. Research shows it can be "effective in improving heart health and reduce the risk for stroke, heart attack, and dying from heart disease. It's also shown promise in reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and aiding in weight loss."

The takeaway: "There really are no major downfalls in regards to this diet, as long as we keep the portions in the recommended servings," says Kelly. Limit your nut intake to two cups per day, and indulge in wine in moderation.

Have you tried any of these diets? Would you recommend them?

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