05/01/2018 13:28 SAST | Updated 05/01/2018 15:14 SAST

The Top 5 Best Diets To Try In 2018 -- According To Experts

The Mediterranean and DASH diets tied for first spot.

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Attempting new diets seems like something that will be part of our lives for a very long time –– but with lists and lists of diets on the market, finding the most effective one for you can be tricky.

It turns out, some diets are way better than others.

The U.S. News and World Report evaluated 40 of them, oncluding input from health experts. "To be top rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weightloss, and protective against diabetes and heart disease," the report stipulated.

Here are the top five diets -- which actually number seven, because two diets were tied in both the first and fifth spots:

1. Mediterranean Diet

This diet gets its name from the eating habits of people living in Mediterranean countries, who are believed to live longer and suffer fewer ailments than, for example, Americans.

Its meal plan is high in fruits and vegetables –– as well as healthy fatty foods like fish, nuts and olive oil –– and low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat.

1. DASH Diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet was designed to fight high blood pressure.

It's characterised by a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, while limiting fatty foods and foods high in saturated fat. People on this diet are also encouraged to cut back on salt.

3. Flexitarian Diet

Flexitarian marries two words -- flexible and vegetarian. People who follow this diet do not have to eliminate meat completely to reap the health benefits, but are encouraged to be vegetarian most of the time.

READ: Top 5 Celebrity-Inspired Diets You Should Avoid In 2018

4. Weight Watchers

The new programme from the veteran weightloss business, launched in 2015 and made popular by celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Jennifer Hudson, assigns every food and beverage a SmartPoints value, based on its nutrition. Higher levels of saturated fat and sugar increase the point value, while higher levels of protein bring the point value down. Choices that fill you up the longest "cost" the least, and nutritionally dense foods cost less than empty calories.

5. MIND Diet

This Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet combines both the Mediterranean and DASH diets. It was designed to lower the risk of mental decline. The emphasis is on eating from 10 "brain-healthy" food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine.

Meanwhile, MIND adherents avoid foods from the five "unhealthy" groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.

5. TLC Diet

Tied in fifth place, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) diet was created to cut high cholesterol. The key to this diet is cutting back sharply on fat –– especially saturated fat, which increases cholesterol –– and eating more fibre.