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Produce stars in Best Diet rankings 

Mediterranean diet

The classic line is always that the gyms will be packed in January as people start their New Year’s resolutions. 

While increasing strength, stamina, and tone are an important part of overall health, diet is probably more crucial. 

This week, U.S. News & World Report released its 2024 rankings of Best Diets, and fruits and vegetables emerge as the star.

Headshot of Greg Johnson, Produce Blue Book's Director of media development.
Greg Johnson, Vice President of Media

For the seventh straight year, the Mediterranean diet claims the top spot as Best Overall Diet. No. 2 is the DASH diet, and No. 3 is the MIND diet, which is a combination of Mediterranean and DASH, with focus on brain health. 

There’s no single Mediterranean diet, but it’s characterized as one that embraces a wide variety of foods. It stresses eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, herbs, and spices daily. Seafood is good a few times a week, and poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt are OK in moderation. Red meat and sugar are to be eaten only for special occasions. And red wine is allowed in moderation, naturally.

The rankings describe DASH as one where “you’ll fill up on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. You can also enjoy moderate amounts of fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts. Foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats and full-fat dairy products, are strictly limited or, better yet, avoided altogether.”

The MIND diet, which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, takes DASH and Mediterranean and targets the foods in each that specifically improve brain health to potentially lower your risk of mental decline.

It specifically calls for participants to eat seven 1-cup servings of leafy green vegetables weekly; eat five ½-cup servings of berries weekly; and include whole grains and other vegetables daily. 

These three diets are considered the top three best diets overall, and all three rely heavily on fruit and vegetable consumption. 

U.S. News also has rankings for other diet goals, such as Best Fast Weight-Loss Diet, which are topped by Keto and Atkins, which are low-carb, high-protein, and high-fat diets, and fruits and vegetables don’t factor in as well. 

But the Best Weight-Loss Diet is topped by WeightWatchers (WW), which uses a point system for all foods and gives a user a daily point limit. WW is more about eating behavior change.

There are more than 200 zero-point foods, such as fruit and non-starchy vegetables, which means a user can eat an unlimited amount. 

That’s actually a good way to sum up the highest ranking and most effective diets.  

Americans can and should eat an unlimited about of fruits and vegetables. 

But awareness has never been the problem.  

Motivation and incentives are the great codes to unlock. 


Greg Johnson is Vice President of Media for Blue Book Services