- Experts brought together by US News & World Report suggest that the worst diet for 2023 is the raw food diet.
- They said the diet was extremely restrictive and not evidence-based and may lack essential nutrients.
- Healthy diets are flexible and easy to maintain over time and emphasize whole foods and herbs.
U.S. News & World Report’s annual diet rankings determined that the raw food diet is the worst overall nutrition plan for 2023.
The diet includes only fruits and vegetables, uncooked foods such as sprouted grains and beans, and sometimes animal products such as raw fish or unprocessed dairy products. It ranked low in several categories from the ketogenic diet, or keto for short, which rose slightly in the rankings.
U.S. News & World Report brings together health and nutrition experts each year, ranking popular diets on factors such as their overall health, how easy they are to follow, and their potential for weight loss and disease prevention. They reviewed 24 diets this year.
Experts ranked the raw food diet lowest overall because there’s no evidence of benefits from cutting out cooked foods, it’s extremely limiting and can make you hungry, because raw foods tend to be lower in calories and protein than prepared foods.
As a result, it is difficult to maintain over time. Gretel Schueller, executive editor of health at US News, includes eating strategies that can help you maintain healthy diets over the long term, although short-term diets can often lead to temporary results for weight loss.
“At the end of the day, how long can I stay on this subject, can I do it long term?” Schueller told Insider. “You may look good for a few months, but eventually you’re back where you started.”
Experts say restricting too much can backfire a diet plan
While diets with strict guidelines or cutting out certain food groups may seem effective, they can be difficult to maintain and the benefits won’t last long if you quit within a few weeks.
“The moment you become overly restrictive or feel deprived, you jump in and you don’t stick with it in the long run,” Schueller said.
The panel of experts also noted that other low-grade diets are also excessively strict or difficult to follow long-term, or potentially cut out nutritious food groups.
Other poor performers were the low-carb Atkins diet and commercial diets that included highly processed shakes, bars, and whole-food replacement supplements such as SlimFast and Optavia.
In contrast, the premium Mediterranean diet and other highly rated plans contain variety, do not exclude food groups, and are easier to adjust to suit different lifestyles.
“Top-of-the-line diets are diets we’ve known for years that use a common sense approach to healthy eating, combine whole foods, and are flexible.” Said.
The keto diet ranked a little higher this year
While it has been ranked as the worst diet for healthy eating for several years, the high-fat, low-carb keto diet has been ranked first for rapid weight loss, and this year it’s ranked 20th overall.
In the last few years, evidence has emerged to suggest that keto and low-carb diets can help people manage their weight and blood sugar, and can be structured to include more nutrient-dense foods and healthy fats.
“We see that when done properly, it has the potential to be done in a healthy way,” Schueller said. Said. “Ask yourself what people replace carbs with. If that’s the healthy answer, that’s all the difference.”
Experts ranked the keto diet for heart health last. They have previously expressed concerns that the diet is high in saturated fat, with some research being linked to heart health concerns. Cutting carbs may also mean eliminating nutrient-rich foods like fruit, some vegetables, and whole grains — part of why experts still rank keto in the top five this year.
A professor of low-carb diets at West Virginia University School of Medicine, Dr. But this doesn’t have to be the stereotypical “dirty keto” diet filled with butter, burgers, and cheese, Mark Cucuzzella told Insider.
Examples of healthier keto-friendly foods include sources of fat like olive oil, protein like fish, low-carb fruits like berries, and plenty of leafy greens for nutrients.
Correction: January 3, 2023 – An earlier version of the title of this story misrepresented the keto diet’s position in the latest US News & World Report rankings. While it has skyrocketed from the bottom it was in 2022, experts didn’t rate it as the second least healthy diet for 2023.