Health

The raw food diet has been ranked as the worst for 2023, according to experts

The raw food diet has been ranked as the worst for 2023, according to experts

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  • Experts gathered by US News & World Report suggest that the raw food diet is the worst way to eat for 2023.
  • They said the diet was too restrictive and not based on evidence and could be missing essential nutrients.
  • Healthy diets are flexible and easy to maintain over time and emphasize whole foods and plants.

The annual diet rankings from US News & World Report named the raw food diet as the worst overall diet plan for 2023.

The diet includes only foods that are not cooked, such as fruits and vegetables, sprouted grains and beans, and sometimes animal products such as raw fish or unprocessed dairy products. It ranked bottom in several categories from ketogenic dietor keto for short, which has climbed slightly up the rankings.

Every year US News & World Report convenes health and nutrition experts to rank popular diets based on factors such as their overall health status, how easy they are to follow, and their potential for weight loss and disease prevention. This year, they reviewed 24 diets.

Experts ranked the raw food diet lowest overall because it has no evidence of benefit of cutting out cooked foods, that is extremely restrictiveand can make you hungry because raw foods are generally lower in calories and protein than cooked food.

As a result, it is difficult to maintain over time. While short-term diets can produce temporary results, often for weight loss, long-term healthy diets involve eating strategies you can stick with, said Gretel Schueller, managing health editor at US News.

“At the end of the day, it’s about how long can I stay at it, can I do it for the long term,” Schueller told Insider. “You might look good for a few months, but eventually you’ll be right back where you started.”

Experts say too many restrictions can backfire on the diet

Although diets that have strict rules or exclude certain food groups may seem effective, they can be difficult to maintain and the benefits will not last if you give up within a few weeks.

“The moment you’re too restrictive or feel deprived, you’re going to jump and you’re not going to stick with it long term,” Schueller said.

The panel of experts noted that other low-ranking diets were also overly strict or difficult to follow long-term, or cut out potentially nutritious food groups.

Other poor results are commercial diets, including the low-carb Atkins diet, as well as SlimFast and Optavia, which include highly processed shakes, bars and supplements used to replace whole foods.

In contrast, the top-rated Mediterranean diet and other highly rated plans include variety, don’t exclude food groups, and are easier to adapt to fit different lifestyles.

“The diets that rise to the top are the ones we’ve known for years that take a common sense approach to healthy eating, include whole foods and are flexible,” Schuler said.

The keto diet ranked slightly higher this year

While for several years it was ranks the worst diet on Healthy Eating, the high-fat, low-carb keto diet took first place for rapid weight loss and 20th overall this year.

Evidence appeared in the last few years, suggesting that keto and low-carb diets can help people manage their weight and blood sugar and can be structured in a way that includes more nutrient-dense foods and healthy fats.

“We see that it has the potential to be done in a healthy way when it’s done right,” Schuler said. “Ask yourself what people are replacing carbs with. If the answer is healthy, that matters.”

Experts ranked the keto diet last for heart health. They previously raised concerns that the diet was high in Saturated fats, which some studies have linked to heart health concerns. Cutting out carbs can also mean eliminating nutrient-dense foods like fruits, some vegetables, and whole grains—part of the reason experts still rank keto in the bottom five this year.

But it doesn’t have to be the stereotypical”dirty keto” a diet full of butter, burgers and cheese, Dr. Mark Cucuzzella, a professor at West Virginia University School of Medicine who studies low-carb diets, previously told Insider.

He said examples of healthier keto-friendly foods include fat sources like olive oil, protein like fish, low-carb fruits like berries and lots of leafy greens for nutrients.

Correction: January 3, 2023 — An earlier version of this story’s headline misstated the position of the keto diet in the latest US News & World Report rankings. Although it climbed from the bottom spot it was in in 2022, experts didn’t rank it as the second least healthy diet for 2023.


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