Keto Named the Least-Healthy Diet of the Year. How Did the Vegan Diet Rank? 

The ketogenic diet—a weight-loss diet that is traditionally high in animal protein—has been named the least-healthy diet of the year by a panel of diet and nutrition experts in the US News and World Report annual diet rankings. The experts rated 40 diets on a range of levels, including weight loss, nutrition, safety, and their ability to prevent and manage heart disease and diabetes. After scoring each diet, the experts constructed nine Best Diet categories, including Best Weight Loss Diets, Best Heart Healthy Diets, and Best Diets Overall. 

In the Best Diets for Healthy Eating category, keto ranked lowest—and very close to the bottom of the list in all other categories except Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets. In addition to being “extremely incomplete” in nutrition and “the hardest of the extremely hard” in terms of ease of following, experts had particular concerns about the keto diet’s high saturated fat content. “Any diet that recommends snacking on bacon can’t be taken seriously as a health-promoting way to eat,” one expert said. Another pointed out that the keto diet is “nutritionally unbalanced and likely difficult for most people to stick with long-term, which means that any weight loss will likely be regained.”

The keto diet also ranked lowest because it poses health risks, particularly for people with certain medical conditions. People who have kidney or liver conditions, or are pregnant or nursing, underweight, or have heart disease should avoid the diet, the experts warned.

“With its combination of unusually high fat plus remarkably low carb content, experts had enough reservations to place the keto diet way down in [the nutrition] category. Experts expressed particular concern for people with liver or kidney conditions, who should avoid it altogether,” the ranking noted. “The jury is still out [on] whether keto offers more potential health risks or benefits for people with heart conditions or diabetes. With the variety of keto versions and food choices, and different methods for cycling in and out of the diet, hormonal and other changes can vary widely.”

Keto diet ranks worst. Is a plant-based diet best?


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