UACES Facebook Are You Following a Top Rated Diet?
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Are You Following a Top Rated Diet?

What diet is best for you? The following information on these two diets may help you choose.

Nashville, Ark. – Last week, the top rated diets for healthy eating and weight loss were released. For the third year in a row, the Mediterranean Diet topped the charts as a heart-healthy, diabetes, and healthy eating diet that people can follow. A close second was the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).

            What makes these two the standout diets? According to the report, the best diets are easy to follow, nutritious, safe and effective for weight loss and preventing diabetes and heart disease.

            Eat all you want and lose weight! Pounds will melt away overnight! These claims make dieting seem easy. However, following an eating plan or diet to lose weight is challenging. The 2019 Best Diets report ranks diets on a range of levels, from their heart healthiness to their likelihood to help you lose weight.

            A panel of health experts, including nutritionists and specialists in diabetes, heart health, human behavior and weight loss, reviewed detailed studies and reports of 40 diets. The experts rated each diet in seven categories, including short- and long-term weight loss, ease of compliance, safety and nutrition.

            The DASH Diet was developed to fight high blood pressure, not as an all-purpose diet plan. It received high marks for its nutritional completeness, safety, ability to prevent or control diabetes, and its role in supporting heart health. It is widely considered a balanced dietary approach for anyone desiring to lose weight, help control high blood pressure and improve overall health.

            Nutrients like potassium, calcium, protein, and fiber are crucial to managing high blood pressure. With the DASH Diet, you do not have to track each one. Just emphasize the foods you have always been told to eat (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy), while limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy foods, tropical oils, and sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets. The diet also emphasizes replacing salt and sodium with herbs and spices.

            It is generally accepted that people in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea live longer and have lower rates of cancer and cardiovascular ailments than Americans. The not-so-surprising secret is an active lifestyle, weight control, and diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat and high in produce, nuts and other healthful foods.

The Mediterranean Diet emphasized fruits and vegetables, olive oil, fish, and other healthy foods. It is a sensible healthy approach to eating the experts recommend for a balanced diet plan.

What diet is best for you? Only you can make that decision. Look at the basis of the diet. If it recommends cutting out completely one of the food groups of MyPlate, or goes against the Dietary Guidelines, you may be putting your overall health in danger. You may lose weight on almost any diet, but consider the long-term effects. Is it a short-term program, or a behavior change? Look for those diets that give long-term results. Diets that promise quick weight-loss are not healthy for long-term.

The easiest and best way to eat healthy is to cook at home. You can control your sodium intake by experimenting with different herbs and spices in place of salt. They add flavor without adding sodium to the foods you eat.

Want to learn how to cook with herbs and spices and ways to lower your blood pressure? “Cook Your Way to a Healthier You” a two-session cooking school will be held in Nashville on February 7 & 21 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Howard County Extension Homemaker Educational Center. A registration fee of $30 will be charged to cover the cost of program supplies. This fee covers both sessions. Interested persons should register by February 1.

For more information on this class or to register, contact the Howard County Extension Service at 870-845-7517 or visit our office located on the second floor of the courthouse. Like our Family Consumer Science page on Facebook at HowardCountyExtensionfcs to learn about upcoming programs and more!

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact the Howard County Extension office as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

Recipe of the Week

Here is a great tasting recipe that uses less sodium. It is easy to prepare and is a perfect appetizer! This is one of the featured recipes that will be prepared at the “Cook Your Way to a Healthier You” cooking school.

Party Pleasing Spicy Garlic Shrimp


 *1 pound uncooked medium shrimp (41 to 50 count)

3 garlic cloves, minced

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

½ cup white wine or unsalted chicken broth


  1. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails on.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook garlic and pepper flakes in butter for 1 minute. Add shrimp, cook and stir until shrimp turn pink. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add wine to the pan; cook until liquid is reduced by half. Return shrimp to skillet; heat through.

*If using frozen, peeled deveined shrimp, skip step one.

Nutritional Information (1 each) 27 Calories, Fat 1g (Saturated Fat 1g), Cholesterol 21 mg, Sodium 26 mg, Carbohydrate 0, (Sugars 0, Fiber 0), Protein 2g.

By Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture

Media Contact: Jean Ince
County Extension Agent - Staff Chair
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
421 N. Main St, Nashville AR 71852
(870) 845-7517


The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.