18 Aprile 2017, ore 18:14
HEALTHY DIETS: THE BEST IS THE DASH DIET, FOLLOWED BY ITALY’S MEDITERRANEAN DIET, SAY THE US NEWS & WORLD REPORT EXPERTS THAT RANKED THE BEST DIETS 2017 (FOR A NATION WHERE HYPERTENSION IS THE NORM)
“Eat whatever you want! The extra pounds will vanish overnight!”, is what most diets promise: zero effort, zero compromise. And, as diets come and go, they are now often trendy, but the truth is for those who really want to go on a diet, they are difficult to follow, often do not work and can sometimes even be harmful to our health. Considering this background, the magazine US News (www.usnews.com) has compiled, for the seventh consecutive year, the 2017 ranking of the best diets. Their team has analyzed 38 different diets and has given the number one spot (again, for the seventh time) the Dash Diet as the most reliable, right before the Italian Mediterranean diet (which earned 2 spots over 2016), followed by the Mind Diet.
Many may wrinkle their noses at this ranking, but it must be remembered it is geared to the health and food culture of the United States. The Dash Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) is indeed the most appropriate to counter hypertension, one of the most common diseases among Americans, as Professor Giorgio Calabrese, Professor of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and chairman of the national Committee for Food Safety Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture of the Department of Political Science Research of the International Luigi Einaudi Foundation, stated in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa (www.lastampa.it).
A panel of renowned Italian experts in nutrition, diet, obesity, food psychology, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, selected by US News, analyzed the different diets according to five criteria: ease of implementation, level of nutrients available, safety, effectiveness in losing weight and protection in relation to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The Dash Diet, which in the beginning was created to fight high blood pressure, then proved effective as a daily diet, by virtue of its balance. It simply emphasizes the foods one has always been told to eat, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and low-fat dairy products, and reduces the foods one loves (sweets and fatty and high calorie meats), all with very little salt.
The difference in points between the top two positions is one tenth: 4.1, the Dash Diet, 4.2 the Mediterranean diet.
These “are two dietary practices that basically alike in many ways. They are characterized by an abundance of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, nuts and a reduction in saturated animal fats and sugars. Declaring the winner between the two diets”, explained Professor Calabrese, “is not helpful. It is important to know, instead, that these are two balanced diets”. In the long term, however, it seems the Mediterranean diet is more beneficial, which is why, according to Professor Calabrese, in the US the Mediterranean diet will substitute the hypertension diet.
The Mind Diet, in position number 3, recommend eating preferably all those foods that are good for the brain and help to combat Alzheimer's disease, particularly green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, legumes, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. It also recommends limiting foods such as red meat, butter and margarine, cheese, sweets, fried foods, fast foods and fatty foods. It is another deja vu, i.e., principles that today are dictated more by common sense and which we find in the first and second ranked diets.
In other words, the most reliable and balanced diets are those that are varied and help keep us healthy. Losing weight becomes almost secondary and at the same time automatic, if accompanied by physical activity, like all diets recommend.
A curious fact about trends: the highly popular Vegan diet, Zone diet, Raw Food diet and Dukan diet, are respectively at positions 16, 25, 32 and 37. All four may lead to health risks, if not carried out properly, because some key nutrients are lacking, such as calcium, vitamins D and B-12 or zinc and iron in vegan and raw foodists, fiber and potassium in the Zone diet. The Dukan diet, which bans whole food groups, can be harmful to one’s health in the long term.
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