Nutrition

US News & World Report

  • The keto diet was ranked the worst diet for healthy eating by US News and World Report. 
  • The high-fat, low-carb plan was deemed too restrictive; evidence suggests it may have some benefits. 
  • Experts say diets that eliminate food groups are risky, including the popular Dukan diet and Whole30. 

The high-fat, low-carb


keto diet

was named the worst for healthy eating in 2022, according to the annual diet rankings from US News & World Report.

Every year, US News & World Report convenes a panel of health and nutrition experts to rank popular diets based on factors like overall healthiness, how easy they are to follow, and potential for


weight loss

and disease prevention. 

The keto diet works by cutting carbs almost entirely, prompting the body to enter a metabolic state called “ketosis” in which it burns fat for energy instead of glucose from carbs, its preferred fuel source. Dieters eat less than 30 grams per day (often measured as net carbs, or total carbohydrates minus fiber), and consume hefty portions of dietary fats, which make up about 70% of the diet. 

Dieters who follow keto say low-carb is a viable strategy for losing weight, boosting energy, and improving health. Some evidence suggests it can be beneficial for some people and is as effective as low-fat for weight loss

But nutrition experts have expressed concern that keto, and other diets that cut out food groups such as the Dukan diet and Whole30, can lead to excessive restriction and nutritional imbalances, and are difficult to follow long-term.

Experts don’t recommend restrictive diets like keto that cut out whole food groups or ban certain foods

Low-carb diets like keto aren’t for everyone. Cardiologists have warned against versions of keto that are heavy with saturated fats like red meat, butter, and bacon, all of which are linked to higher risk of


heart disease

.

Cutting carbs also restricts healthy, nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, starchy vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Eliminating a variety of foods can cause you to miss out on important nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 

While it’s possible to incorporate more balanced forms of keto with leafy greens, berries, and non-starchy veggies, it’s “extremely rigid and difficult to achieve,” registered dietitian Robin Foroutan previously told Insider.

“You can’t really eat vegetables on a 10% carb diet. Any diet low in veggies is not one I’d recommend,” she said.

Other restrictive diets also scored poorly

Nutrition pros also gave poor marks to the Dukan diet, an eating plan with four phases and a complicated set of rules for what you can eat. Reviewers said it was too restrictive, with little evidence of benefits and potential risk from eating too much protein and not enough vegetables.

Similarly, the experts didn’t recommend diets like GAPS or the Whole30 that cut out foods like grains, dairy, or legumes.

Research suggests keto can aid in weight loss and help control blood sugar 

While experts are wary to recommend keto for most people, evidence suggests the diet can help some lose weight, manage their blood sugar, and in some cases may help lead to diabetes remission

Anecdotally, keto advocates say the diet boosts energy and staves off hunger, even as you lose weight. Evidence suggests eating more fat in your diet isn’t necessarily harmful and can help with satiety

However, strict, short-term diets raise the risk of yo-yo dieting, or falling into periods of restriction and bingeing, and can lead to disordered eating. 

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