Every year millions of us start diets, whether it’s for health-related reasons, part of a fitness routine, or just wanting to eat healthier. With a range of different diets available, it might be wise to find out which are the best, and which ones to ignore! If you’re wanting to keep up with the Joneses, then maybe see which diets incorporate the latest food trends too.

The top three diets for 2020 are the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) diet, and the Flexitarian diet. At the other end of the scale is the Keto diet.

The Mediterranean Diet, which is rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains,  and lean protein like fish and chicken, with the occasional piece of red meat. It boasts a bevvy of science-backed health benefits, is always a big winner due to the fact it is eminently sensible.

It is historically proven to be beneficial and has long been a gold standard in terms of proven results for both weight management and health outcomes. Because the Mediterranean Diet has been a way of life in that region of the world for so long, there is a lot of data about its impact on weight control and chronic disease risk.

The Mediterranean-inspired DASH diet, which recommends fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy products, while reducing salt, red meat, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. It is very similar to the Mediterranean diet but recommends cutting out two more things: full cream (in favour of low-fat dairy products) and alcoholic beverages.

The Flexitarian diet is basically for those people who would like to go vegetarian or vegan but can’t fathom the idea of never eating meat again. The diet encourages a mostly plant-based diet while allowing meat and other animal products in moderation — maybe a couple of times per month.

This is more of a lifestyle than a “diet,” as there are no clear-cut rules or numbers to follow. Instead, there are guidelines, similar to the Mediterranean Diet. Eat mostly fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains. Focus on plant-based proteins. Eat fewer processed foods. Limit added sugar and sweets.

Dieticians also advise against snacking and takeouts, and 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise per week such as walking, yoga, gardening or Pilates.

One of the most popular diets of 2019, the Keto diet, amassed a cult following with its get-slim-quick promises. The high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet was conceived about 100 years ago as a treatment for epilepsy sufferers and has also been used to treat other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, depression, and anxiety.

Keto is not without controversy though. In addition to being difficult to maintain, keto also has the potential to create negative health outcomes, including nutrient deficiencies, and alter the gut microbiome in ways that may increase inflammation and impact immunity and mental health. 

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