WASHINGTON — The reign continues for the Mediterranean Diet. For the fifth straight year the diet, which emphasizes fruit, vegetables, olive oil, fish and other healthy food, was ranked the No. 1 best diet overall by U.S. News, which released its best diet rankings for 2022 on Jan. 4. The Mediterranean Diet also was named the best diet for healthy eating, the best diet for diabetes, the best plant-based diet and the easiest diet to follow. The Mediterranean Diet and the Ornish Diet tied for best heart-healthy diet.

The DASH Diet and the Flexitarian Diet tied for the No. 2 best diet overall. The Flexitarian Diet tied with WW (Weight Watchers) and Volumetrics for best weight loss diet. WW also tied for No. 1 best diet plans with the Mayo Clinic Diet. Atkins was rated the best fast-weight loss diet.

Consumers increasingly are choosing diets that offer built-in community such as WW, according to U.S. News. Members of the Noom Diet, which ranked as the fourth best diet program, are assigned a coach and placed in a support group.  The keto diet generated a lot of food news in 2021, and Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md., found 20% of consumers report following the keto diet at least sometimes. Yet the keto diet finished No. 37 in the best diets overall rankings from US News.

“The influence of diet on health across the life span cannot be overstated, especially amidst the COVID-19 pandemic where diet quality can impact outcomes,” said David Katz, MD, president of True Health Initiative and former director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. “While the themes of eating well for long- and short-term health are well-established, there are many variants that allow for ‘personalizing’ the benefits of great nutrition, and there is no better source for the careful curating of those options than the U.S. News Best Diets report.”

Editors and reporters for U.S. News selected 40 diets for the annual rankings and then investigated medical journals, government reports and other resources to create profiles of the 40 diets. A panel of 27 experts in diet, nutrition, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and heart disease reviewed the profiles, did their own fact-finding and rated each diet.