US News promotes its biased diet rankings… again


Another new year; another deeply flawed ranking of best diets released by U.S. News & World Reports.

It’s a predictable annual tradition now in its 10th year. Cue the New Year’s noisemakers. But there’s nothing new to see. They used the same skewed, unscientific process, the same stacked expert panel, and got the same old results.

Again, they rank the Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, the “Flexitarian” diets as the top three diets for “health and lifestyle goals.”

The keto diet, as always, ranked almost dead last (34 out 35). In their expert panel’s estimation, it’s among the very worst for health, as well as “extreme or rigid” and “difficult to sustain.”

Astoundingly, even expensive, highly processed meal replacement programs like SlimFast (#24), HMR (#26) and Optavia (#28) rank higher, overall, than whole foods minimally processed keto. Sigh.

Keto did, however, tie for third (with the Atkins diet, Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers) as the best short-term “fast weight loss diet,” coming after the commercial meal replacement bars, shakes and cereals of HMR and Optavia. Double sigh.

U.S. News & World Reports’ 35 best diets overall

Naturally, other new outlets and publications are reporting on this annual ranking as if it’s ordained by an impeccable source, almost gleeful that the highly popular (and successful) keto diet ranks so low. There is no skepticism; no questions are asked.

But, as always, questions, criticisms, and counter-arguments are warranted. We have written about this in depth in January 2019 and January 2018.

As Diet Doctor founder and CEO Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt noted in 2018:

“They base their rankings on the opinions of certain selected experts, who have been saying basically the exact same thing for decades. Decades that have seen the worst obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics in the history of the world.”

Low-carb advocates Nina Teicholz and Gary Taubes in 2018 wrote a powerful evidence-based op-ed for the Los Angeles Times about how wrong the rankings (always) are. They pointed out the dearth of evidence for the top diets chosen, the stacked expert panel, the status-quo group-think, and the deliberate disregard of the growing body of research that shows the keto diet is safe and effective for weight loss and a wide variety of health conditions.

In a series of tweets this past week, Nina Teicholz outlined again the flaws of the US News annual rankings. She highlighted the weak, out-dated evidence; the expert panel’s lack of scientific diversity and the well-known agendas of some key panel members; and the total neglect of the now more than 100 low-carb research trials that show “good evidence for blood pressure reduction, improved cardiovascular risk factors, and most importantly, the reversal of T2 diabetes.”

Dear reader, doesn’t all of this make you frustrated and bewildered? Doesn’t it make you sad, even angry, for all the people who might benefit from trying a keto diet but will be confused, discouraged, or even frightened because of these flawed but highly publicized rankings?

Many won’t realize that keto eating actually has a lot in common with the top 10 diets they select. All favor minimally processed, whole foods. All recommend adequate protein. All reject added sugar and ultra-processed, hyper-palatable foods, especially with the combo of fat and sugar. Keto just adds the extra steps of allowing a range of fats and removing all the high-carb foods that rapidly digest to sugar. These are the extra steps that many people need to adequately manage and sustain healthy blood sugar and weight.

Many also don’t realize that you can actually do a low-carb, keto Mediterranean diet or vegetarian diet, and even a low-carb vegan diet. Nor do they understand that a keto diet is not just meat, eggs, cheese, and bacon, but features ample amounts of leafy greens, salads, above-ground vegetables, nuts, seeds, and even berries on occasion.

In the endless diet wars, another unifying factor we can all agree on is that the best diet for any person is the one he or she enjoys eating, feels great on, gets good results with, and can happily maintain long term.

Is keto too restrictive, replete with unpleasant side effects, and impossible to sustain? We don’t think so. And we have thousands of Diet Doctor members and followers who can attest to the delicious and satisfying meals, the marked reduction in hunger and cravings, and the often-remarkable improvements in their weight, blood sugar, symptoms, and energy.

We don’t presume that every single person will thrive on the keto diet. But you only know if you try.

But how will people find out if the keto diet is right for them if self-appointed gatekeepers like U.S.News & World Report keeps putting out their flawed rankings?

It is up to everyone who has benefited from keto to get the word out. Tell your friends, family, and colleagues. Send them to our site for free, evidence-based information.

Fortunately, Diet Doctor has its free, no-risk, two-week Get Started Challenge. After two weeks, if you don’t like the food and you haven’t noticed any improvements in any health markers, weight or other symptoms, maybe the diet is not the one for you. Feel free to try other diets on the US News list. (But if you are like most of us who ultimately find and stick with keto, you already have, without success.)

If you do feel better after two weeks of eating keto, Diet Doctor is here to support and inform you with everything to make keto a sustainable change for life. The key information in our evidence-based guides is free. If you want to support Diet Doctor’s ongoing work with a low-cost membership, we give you meal plans, programs, videos, a vibrant Facebook community, and more.

In short, we give you everything you need to weigh the evidence, including your own response to the diet, to decide for yourself whether the low-carb, keto diet is right for you — without the gatekeepers of media and expert panelists telling you what to think and do.

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