Star ratings reflect scores of 1 to 5 assigned to the Mediterranean diet in eight categories by nutritionists, specialists in diabetes and heart disease, and other diet experts on a ratings panel assembled by U.S. News. (See our Best Diets methodology.) Its nutritional profile, safety, and worth as a heart-health diet generated its highest marks. Plus, it ranked first in our newest category: plant-based diets. As a diet for weight loss, however, it got less-favorable marks from the experts. Overall, it scored nearly 4 stars, earning it third place overall among our 29 ranked diets. Below, ratings in all categories and how the experts’ opinions broke down.
Short-Term Weight Loss
While many experts noted that the Mediterranean diet wasn’t designed for losing weight, they thought it works fairly well as a plan for quick weight loss. Still, it came out toward the bottom on this measure when compared to other diets.
Long-Term Weight Loss
The experts doled out 2s, 3s, and 4s in roughly equal measure when grading the Mediterranean diet on its potential for long-term weight loss, resulting in a middle-of-the-road rating. But no diet did an outstanding job.
Easy to Follow
Experts noted that some Americans might have trouble adapting to and sticking with a plan that requires parting with their favorite processed foods and sugary drinks. The diet itself isn’t that complicated, however; hence the relatively good score and top ranking.
The Mediterranean diet closely conforms to the federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines. Many experts described it as a healthful, nutritionally sound approach to eating. It’s one of a few diets to beat in this category, with a rating just under 4½ stars.
It’s hard to imagine dieters could be risking their health on a Mediterranean diet, according to experts’ scores, and it received its highest score in this category.
Generating mostly 3s and some 4s from our experts, the Mediterranean diet is a good option for preventing or controlling diabetes. Some research has shown that diabetics on a Mediterranean diet may improve their levels of hemoglobin A1C, a measure of blood sugar over time.
For Heart Health
Backed by research showing decreased risk for heart disease because of reduced blood pressure and “bad” LDL cholesterol, the Mediterranean diet found approval from the expert panel on the heart-health measure with a 4-star rating.
Last updated by Kurtis Hiatt | September 23, 2013
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