6 Of The Most Popular Diets of 2014 — I’m Surprised #6 Made The List!

Posted by GreaterGoodness

twentiesskills1So, you’ve decided to get healthy by cleaning up your diet. But wait…what does “eating right” actually mean? Focus on high fat, low carb foods? Eat like a caveman? Go gluten-free?

There are countless options out there, and Google, Yahoo and U.S. News recently released lists of the leaders of the pack. Here are brief synopses of the six diets that appeared all three lists. According to the U.S. News website, “To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease.”


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) created this diet, so it has to be decent right? Designed to help lower blood pressure, DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.

What to eat:

  • Load up on grains and veggies. These give you lots of fiber, calcium, protein, and potassium — all of which fight off or reduce blood pressure.
  • Eat lean protein like poultry and fish in moderation, which are heart-healthy and low-fat choices.
  • Eat plenty of fruits.
  • Incorporate low-fat or fat-free dairy products for calcium and protein.
  • Ditch the salt! Flavor your food with fresh herbs, spices, lemon juice or lemon zest, etc.

Additional info:

  • No phases.
  • Overall calorie restrictions based on gender, age, and activity level.
  • Limit red meat, sweets, and added fats.
  • Plenty of resources available for shopping and cooking ideas.
  • Dash has been shown to be a promising diet for controlling and preventing diabetes.
  • This diet isn’t necessarily for losing weight, but rather for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With that in mind, you still may lose weight, depending on your previous eating habits and if you add in exercise as well.
  • U.S. News ranked this diet as #1.

Mediterranean Diet

People who live in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea supposedly live longer and have lower rates of cancer and heart disease. The secret? An active lifestyle and a diet that is low in sugar, saturated fats, and red meat. Their food pyramid emphasizes grains, fruits, and veggies the most, taking up about 50% of your daily intake.

What to eat:

  • Chow down on lots of veggies.
  • Use good fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados.
  • Eat whole grains. Traditional Mediterranean grains include bulgur, barley, farro and brown rice.
  • Prepare poultry or seafood twice a week, with a slightly higher emphasis on seafood. Incorporate tuna and salmon, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, or shellfish like mussels and oysters.
  • Eat dairy like greek yogurt and some cheeses.
  • Moderate wine consumption is acceptable.
  • Have a sweet craving? Reach for fresh fruit.

Additional info:

  • No phases.
  • Overall calorie restrictions based on gender, age, and activity level.
  • Limit saturated and trans fat, sugary drinks, and sweets.
  • Limit red meat consumption to a couple times a month.
  • Plenty of resources available for shopping and cooking ideas.
  • Can help prevent or control diabetes.
  • On this diet, it’s crucial to follow an active lifestyle to reap the most benefits!
  • Women on this diet may live longer than those who aren’t.
  • U.S. News ranked this diet as #3.

Atkins Diet

In Atkins, you rely on fatty, protein-heavy meals while avoiding carbs. You go through four phases and can pick a diet plan based on how much weight you want to lose. Atkins 20, their original method, begins with 20 grams of carbohydrates a day, and is catered to people who have more than 40 pounds to lose. Atkins 40 begins with 40 grams of carbohydrates a day, and is for those who have less than 40 pounds to lose. For this list, we’ll stick with the traditional Atkins breakdown. You stand to lose 5 pounds in the first week, and one to two pounds a week after that.

Phase 1, or the Induction phase (20-25g daily net carbs):

  • Load up on healthy fats, protein-rich meat, shellfish, poultry, and eggs, as well as most cheeses and low-carb “foundation” vegetables.
  • In this phase, you’re aiming to “flip the body’s metabolic switch” from burning carbs to burning fat (called ketosis).
  • Phase 1 lasts a minimum of two weeks, but if you’re looking for more substantial weight loss, you can stay in it until you’re 15 pounds from your goal weight.

Phase 2 (25-50g daily net carbs):

  • Increase your carb intake by 5 grams per week — counting carbs is key.
  • Add in melons, berries, or cherries; whole milk greek yogurt, ricotta, or cottage cheese; legumes, and tomato juice.

Phase 3 (50-80g net carbs):

  • Continue to increase your carb intake by 5 grams per week.
  • Add in additional fruits, starchy vegetables, and some whole grains.

Phase 4 (80-100g net carbs):

  • You might not make it all the way to 100 grams. Once you stop losing weight, that means you’ve found your balance. From there, stick with the eating habits that you’ve cultivated to maintain your weight.

Additional info:

  • Counting carbs at every meal is essential to the success of this diet.
  • Plenty of resources available for shopping and cooking.
  • Atkins focuses on limiting carbs at every meal rather than just daily intake, so saving up your carbs to splurge on a plate of pasta and breadsticks at dinner isn’t recommended.
  • U.S. News ranked this diet as #32.

Eco-Atkins (#24) is a vegan or vegetarian relative of Atkins that replaces protein-heavy meats with protein-heavy beans and legumes.

Paleo Diet

Eat like our ancestors on the Paleo Diet. They relied on hunting and gathering skills only, so this means no processed foods or farmed foods. This diet is high in protein and fat, and low in carbs. Because of its emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables, the Paleo Diet is rich in fiber and potassium.


  • Load up on protein like grass-fed red meats and poultry, seafood, and shellfish.
  • Gobble up plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, making for a high-fiber diet.
  • Gather up nuts and seeds.
  • Enjoy eating healthy fats from natural oils like olive, avocado, and coconut oils.
  • Rely on fresh spices, herbs, and lemon zest to flavor food.

Additional info:

  • No dairy products of any kind, like milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  • No refined carbs or sugars like bread, pasta, or whole grains.
  • No processed foods, including salt.
  • No refined vegetable oils.
  • Plenty of resources available for shopping and cooking.
  • Not a lot of studies have been done, so heart benefits and diabetes benefits are unknown.
  • U.S. News ranked this diet as #34 (the worst on their list)!

Click “Next Page” to see the last two on the list!

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