The Healthiest Diets Backed by Science

A person eating a healthy meal

If you’re looking for the most recommended diets out there, it’s always a sure bet to turn to science. Doing so will not only help you live a healthier lifestyle, but you’ll also ensure the dietary patterns you’re following are proven and effective.

So what’s the healthiest diet in the world according to science? There are several choices out there.

You have diets restricting certain foods, while there are others with a more flexible system. In this article, we’ll look at four of the most recommended diets that can help you manage weight and maintain a healthy body composition.

Let’s get into it. 

Best scientifically proven diets

avocado and chicken salad with fruits on the side

1. DASH Diet

The DASH diet stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. As the name suggests, it’s used to prevent and manage hypertension that could lead to heart attacks, which is why it’s considered one of the healthiest diets in the world

Unlike other fad diets out there, the DASH diet is highly recommended by experts for people who are hypertensive. It mostly focuses on:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-fat dairy food
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes
  • Fish 
  • Poultry

You can also consume fats and red meats, but only in moderation for the DASH diet to truly be effective. There are also two versions of this eating pattern, which are categorized by the amount of sodium you’re allowed to consume. 

  • Standard DASH Diet – this variation allows you to eat 2,300 mg of sodium a day
  • Low-sodium DASH Diet – this version limits your sodium intake to 1,500 mg a day

While both variations are incredibly beneficial, the low-sodium DASH diet offers more benefits for people with high blood pressure. There are even studies proving that it’s as effective as taking hypertensive medications

This is the claim of Stephen Juraschek, an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Boston, and the study’s first author. He and his fellow researchers found that the effects of the DASH diet are more pronounced in people with higher blood pressure.

Juraschek went on to explain that the yielded results add more proof that the eating pattern is equal – or even greater than – antihypertensive medications for people who are already at risk. He added that the DASH diet should be a first-line treatment option for groups who are already in this high-risk category. 

pan-seared fish and vegetables”

2. Mediterranean Diet 

Similar to the DASH diet, the Mediterranean diet is designed to prevent heart disease. It can also reduce one’s risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes, and premature death. 

To get started, incorporate these foods into your meals:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Legumes
  • Potatoes
  • Whole grains
  • Bread
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Fish
  • Seafood 
  • Extra virgin olive oil

You can also eat eggs, cheese, and poultry but only in moderation. Additionally, if you’re craving red meat, the Mediterranean diet also allows it but only on rare occasions. 

Meanwhile, these are the foods you’ll need to avoid:

  • Processed meat – hotdogs, ham, sausages, smoked meat
  • Added sugar – sodas, ice cream
  • Refine grains – white rice, white bread, oatmeal
  • Trans fats – pies, cookies, pizza, margarine
  • Refined oil – peanut, canola oil, soybean oil

Keep in mind that these recommendations aren’t set in stone. This is mostly because the Mediterranean diet has different variations.  

Thus, try to see which version works for you and stick to it. Just remember to avoid the aforementioned foods to reap the benefits of this proven diet.

tofu and vegetables

3. WW Diet

WW diet, otherwise known as the Weight Watcher diet, is one of the most recommended diets out there. This isn’t surprising considering some of its ambassadors are high-profile celebrities like Kate Hudson and Oprah Winfrey. 

But don’t let its popularity fool you into thinking this is a fad diet. While further research is still needed to prove the efficacy of this eating pattern, there are studies out there supporting the WW Diet.  

What makes it quite interesting is that no food is off-limits. Instead, it uses a point system – called SmartPoints – to assign different values for different foods. The healthier the food, the lower its assigned points are. 

There are even some foods that have zero points, meaning you can consume this type of food without going over your respective limit. Some of these foods include:

  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Tofu
  • Fish
  • Skinless chicken

The main focus on the WW diet is weight management and maintaining a healthy weight once you reach it. The idea here is portion control, emphasizing limitation instead of complete restriction.

Also, while you are free to eat whatever you want, WW recommends avoiding foods high in sugar and saturated fats. These include:

  • Sugary beverages
  • Processed meats
  • Cakes
  • Candies
  • Cookies

As to how you can join this movement, you can visit their site here. The price will vary depending on your selected service, with the monthly fee ranging from $19.95 to $54.95.

fruits and vegetables on a plate

4. Mayo Clinic Diet

The Mayo Clinic diet is another weight management program designed and created by medical professionals over at Mayo Clinic. Its main goal is to shift your dietary habits from unhealthy to healthy food choices. 

This is a bit similar to the WW diet in that it only recommends food rather than restricts it. The recommendations are divided into a pyramid category, with the most ideal placed at the bottom.

These include fruits and vegetables combined with moderate physical activity. At the top are unhealthy foods like processed food and sweets. 

It also has two main parts:

  • Lose it – this is a short-term phase where you can lose six to 10 pounds in just two weeks.
  • Live it – this is the long-term phase where you could lose a steady one to two pounds per week until you reach your goal.   

Find the Best Diet for You

There is no one-size-fits-all diet out there as this lifestyle change depends heavily on habits and personal preferences. If you wish to know what’s the best diet for you, try all of them and see which one sticks. 

For any of these diets to be effective, it’s important to control your portions. With SmartPlate, you can make sure that whether you’re on the DASH or Mediterranean diet, you’re eating just the right amount of food to meet your caloric needs. 

For more dietary tips and healthy lifestyle advice, visit the SmartPlate blog

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