Need a new diet this new year? Here’s how to pick one and stick with it – USA TODAY

With every new year comes the annual tradition of making resolutions. One of the most popular goals most of us strive is to either lose weight or live healthier.

On Wednesday, “U.S. News and World Report” revealed its Best Diets for 2019, discovering the Mediterranean diet — which focuses on fruits and veggies, healthy fats, whole grains and lean meat — is the best of the bunch.

However, there are plenty of options for mixing up your menu, and it really comes down to what you want.

“No one diet is right for every single person,” said Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health with U.S. News.

Here are some tips for how to pick the right diet, and stick with it:

Aim for ‘optimal eating’

Dr. David L. Katz, founder/president of the True Health initiative and one of several experts who aided U.S. News in their Best Diet rankings, said most healthy diets focus on minimally processed foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds.

“If you get that right, whether you do it pescatarian, flexitarian, Mediterranean, vegetarian or vegan, it probably doesn’t matter very much,” he said.

More: Mediterranean is the best way to eat in 2019, according to new diet rankings

More: Landmark Mediterranean diet study was flawed. Authors retract paper published in NEJM

Make your health a priority

Unless there’s an urgent health need requiring you to lose weight quickly, Katz advises shopping diets for your health. Diets promoting rapid weight loss work, but they might not be good for your long-term health, he said.

“Focus on finding health and let losing weight happen, as opposed to choosing what’s the fastest way to lose weight whether or not it may help me find health,” said Katz.

Focus on small changes at first

Angie Murad, a wellness dietitian with the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, said the key to choosing a diet is making sure it’s sustainable. One way to do that is introducing subtle changes — such as replacing unhealthy foods for healthier ones — to your diet instead of all at once.

“When it comes to eating, making a lot of changes at once — and big changes — are a lot to sustain,” she said.

Make sure you’re building muscle, too

It’s more than what you put into your body. Murad said the calories you burn are important, too, emphasizing physical activity to go with any diet you choose. 

“When you build muscle, that’s like the powerhouse of your body,” said Murad. “When you build that muscle, that is what is going to help burn calories.”

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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