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The Best Diets Of 2020 Have Been Named, And They're Surprisingly Doable

As the top three "best" diets are revealed, it appears 2020 may finally mark the end of dangerous fad dieting.

For countless Australians, the start of a new year provides us the kick up the bum we need to take a serious look at our unhealthy habits.

And while the glimmering promises of a crash diet may capture our attention, it's long term lifestyle changes we really need to adopt.

The 'U.S. News & World Report' have released their annual rankings, detailing the very best diets under a number of categories. And in this year's ranking, longevity reigned supreme.

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Let's face it, when it comes to eating healthily most of us have the right intention ... it's just when it comes to following through with it, well, we kind of drop the ball.

Three different diets were crowned in the 'Best Diets Overall' category:

  1. Mediterranean Diet
  2. DASH Diet
  3. The Flexitarian Diet

To cut through the buzz words and make sense of it all, 10 daily spoke to dietitian and nutritionist Susie Burrell about the benefits and limitations of the three "best" diets.

The Mediterranean Diet was crowned the best overall. Image: Getty

The Mediterranean Diet

Sadly, it's not all lasagne and souvlaki by the beach. But it is one of the more delicious diets.

Based off the eating practices of those in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea (folks known for their long lifespans), this diet places a great emphasis on fresh produce, as opposed to anything sugary or saturated.

It's more of an eating plan than a diet per se, but that's the magic of it.

The Mediterranean diet pyramid supports an abundance of fruits, veggies and nuts, fish and seafood a couple of times a week, poultry and dairy in moderation. It even allows for some wiggle room for a glass of red wine here and there.

Often the appeal of fad diets is their ability to tell you exactly what you can and can't eat. This is ineffective in the long run, but it does allow for clarity.

According to Susie Burrell, however, The Mediterranean Diet is more regimented than that little dash of red wine would have you think.

"The Mediterranean diet is quite distinct. It's seven to 10 serves of fresh fruit and vegetables, it's three to four serves of good fats. It's two to three serves of lean proteins. So it is actually quite prescriptive," Burrell said.

"As soon as there is that greater focus on fresh fruit and veggies, naturally there's less room for the other foods."

The DASH Diet

DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) is a diet that comes recommended by the American National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

It's all about those token 'good things' we've known about since primary school, like veggies and fruits but also asks we cap our sodium intake. Beginners can ingest up to 2,300 milligrams a day, reducing that down to 1,500 milligrams once your body is responding well.

The DASH diet is focused on blood pressure. Image: Getty

"The DASH diet was based on a big dietary study that happened all around the world, but it really was focused on reducing blood pressure," Burrell explained.

DASH is very similar to Mediterranean, but with a greater focus on diary and legumes.

"You can't really go wrong with it. Specifically, Mediterranean is linked to heart disease reduction and longer lifespans, as opposed to DASH which is purely focused on reducing blood pressure."

The Flexitarian Diet

Minimising meat consumption is becoming increasingly more appealing to many Australians. And the 'Felixitarian Diet' is widely considered an effective way to achieve this, especially for those who don't want to say goodbye to meat forever.

However, Susie Burrell warns that, despite it's name, many Flexitarians oddly employ the 'all or nothing' approach.

The Flexitarian diet is all about healthy swaps. Image: Getty

"You get people who are saying, 'I'm really strict on my plant-based, vegan diet four days, but then I binge on weekends on crap'. I think it's that polarising view of what is meant by 'flexible', versus a structured plan that is specific about what it prescribes."

People need to know what the targets are for optimal health or for weight control.

The Flexitarian diet champions, of course, fruits, veggies and whole grains. And also encourages intakes of "new meat" -- non-meat proteins like beans, eggs or peas.

The 2020 ranking advocates for thoughtful, long-term lifestyle overhauls, as opposed to get-thin-quick schemes. But when all is said and done, the "best" diet out there is whichever diet works best for you.

Featured Image: Getty