Year in Review: The Best Diets of 2021, According to Needs


As we round out the year, here’s a look back at the best diets of 2021 overall and within specific categories based on various goals and needs.

Best overall diet

The Mediterranean Diet: This diet was voted #1 overall by the team at US News; it offers a variety of health benefits, including weight loss, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, cardiac health, and brain health. It’s nutritionally sound while providing a diverse choice of flavorful foods. As far as its drawbacks, it’s a bit pricey, although substitutions can be made to lower cost. However, it takes a bit of preparation work, and many people deal with that by cooking and storing meals in advance, or if you have more money than time, use a meal delivery service.

The Best diet for weight loss

For 2021 there’s a tie between two diets when it comes to losing weight between the Flexitarian Diet and the WW (Weight Watchers) Diet.

As the name suggests, the Flexitarian Diet provides flexibility, such as being vegetarian most of the time but still having some meat. It offers a load of tasty recipes and not only helps lose weight but improves overall health, fighting disease and improving cardiac health. The downsides are it focuses on home cooking and may not appeal to those who don’t like a lot of fruits and vegetables.

The best thing about the WW (Weight Watchers) Diet is there are no off-limit foods; it’s all about the points assigned to every food and beverage and staying within the numbers. You’re also flexible in shaping your diet. On the downside, it can be pricey.

The best diet for rapid weight loss

The winner for 2021 is the HMR Program (Health Management Resources). It works by reducing calories via meal replacement with fruits and vegetables that are used to create filling but low-calorie meals and snacks. The program also includes group coaching and online support. Meals are delivered to you. On the downside, the shakes can get boring, and eating out is limited. The diet works by eating far fewer calories than normally recommended, which is good in the short term, but a long-term weight loss plan is needed after that.

The best diet for healthy eating (significant health benefits, too)

There is a tie between the DASH Diet (also #2 overall) and the Mediterranean Diet (previously covered above).

DASH stands for dietary approaches to stop hypertension. The diet was created specifically to stop or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension). And has an emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low dairy fat. Its strengths are being nutritionally sound and heart-healthy. On the downside, it requires much preparation work and can be pricey. However, studies show it’s worth it, finding it provides 21% lower odds of unhealthy metabolic obesity regardless of age, sex, physical activity, or body mass index. A study by the American Medical Association suggested the diet is associated with reducing both systolic and diastolic blood.