Best Overall Diets for 2024

January 14, 2024 in Leslie's Featured Content

Best Overall Diets for 2024

If you’ve started January with good intentions to improve your diet, consider modelling it after the Mediterranean diet, an eating style that emphasizes a daily intake of whole plant foods.

For the seventh year in a row, the gold standard diet pattern scored top spot for U.S. News “Best Diets Overall” 2024, beating out 29 different diet plans.

The Mediterranean diet also earned first place in six other categories: best diets for diabetes, best heart-healthy diets, easiest diets to follow, best diets for bone and joint health, best family-friendly diets and best diets for healthy eating.

It wasn’t the only well-performing diet, though. Here’s what to know to help you choose a healthy eating plan that works best for you.

2024 best overall diet rankings

Now its 14th year, U.S. News and World Report reveals its reviews and ratings for the “Best Diets in January.

To determine the 2024 rankings, a panel of 43 leading experts – including doctors, dietitians and nutrition and weight loss researchers – carefully evaluated 30 diets across 11 categories.

For the “Best Diets Overall” category, the panelists judged nutritional completeness, health risks and benefits, long-term sustainability and evidence for the diet’s effectiveness.

Runner up to the Mediterranean diet was the DASH diet, an eating plan well-known for its blood-pressure-lowering properties. (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.)

The MIND diet, a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets which also includes specific foods for brain health, earned third place for best overall diet.

Also among the top 10 best overall diets for 2024 were the Mayo Clinic diet, flexitarian diet, WeightWatchers (WW), the volumetrics diet and Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory diet.

Among the losers

The Raw Food diet took last place for best overall diet. This plan recommends eating foods haven’t been cooked, processed, microwaved, irradiated, genetically engineered or exposed to pesticides or herbicides. 

Herbalife Nutrition (ranked 29 overall), the Dukan diet (ranked 28), SlimFast (ranked 27), Atkins (ranked 26), and the keto diet (ranked 25 overall) were also poor performers.

These low-scoring diets lost points for their restrictiveness and difficulty to follow long term. Nutritional inadequacy was another concern.

Best diets for weight loss

For the “Best Weight Loss Diets” category, top marks were given to diet plans that promoted a safe rate of weight loss (1 to 2 pounds a week) and helped maintain weight loss for the long term.

WeightWatchers, the Mediterranean diet and the volumetrics diet were awarded first, second and third place, respectively. 

The volumetrics diet categorizes foods based on their caloric density. Followers are encouraged to choose foods that are low in calories and nutrient-dense (e.g., non-starchy vegetables, fruit, non-fat dairy, brothy-based soups, lean proteins).

Nutrisystem, the Zone diet, the Dukan diet, Herbalife Nutrition and the Raw Food diet scored in the bottom five of the best diets for weight loss category.

Finding an eating plan that’s right for you

There’s no one-size-fits-all diet that works for everyone.  There are, however, some common themes that can help guide your choice of a healthy eating plan.

The top ranked diets for 2024 are nutritionally complete and include a wide variety of foods, with a focus on whole and minimally processed foods.

They emphasize vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats while limiting added sugars and saturated fats. And they’re evidence-based.

It’s well-established that such an eating pattern helps guard against several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypertension and certain cancers.

Among the top 10 best overall diets, nine of them also ranked in the top 10 for “Easiest Diets to Follow” and “Best Family-Friendly Diets”.

That’s important. If you’re considering a certain diet, ask if you can see yourself eating that way for the long term.

If your goal is successful weight loss, a short-term approach or an overly complicated or restrictive plan won’t help you keep the pounds off.

Ask, too, if the plan  promotes a way of eating that’s good for your kids. If it's not healthy for them, it probably isn’t for you. 

To determine which healthy eating plan is best for you, also factor in your health goals, lifestyle and cultural food preferences.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.