LIVING

Healthy Diet: 10 Food Plans That Are Actually Good For You

01/07/2014 04:18 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 08:17 EST
Nicholas Eveleigh via Getty Images

We've all heard horror stories of extreme dieting plans that limit you to drinking fluids and eating ridiculous amounts of one single food. But for the first time, we're excited about the word diet — a healthy diet that is.

News site U.S. News & World Report has put together their fourth annual list of 32 food-based diets that are actually good for our bodies. Each diet was scored on eight categories including healthiness, nutrition and safety by a panel of nutrition and health experts. Not surprisingly, the best diets for healthy eating overlapped with the best diets overall.

Some familiar ones, like the Mediterranean diet (which promises to cut heart attack and stroke risks), the vegetarian diet (which has been shown to help you live longer), and others like vegan and flexitarian diets were all on this year's list.

And while these diets all focused on eating foods that are good for us, they also stressed the importance of having full meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner, eating enough calories and consuming a variety of food, instead of limiting it to just a few. Rather than just relying on trends, these diets approach the term as a lifestyle.

This list also overlaps with Google's annual Zeitgeist of the most searched diets, including the fast diet as well as the Mediterranean diet.

So which diets should we actually look pursue? Check out the top 10 healthiest diets here and follow this link to see the rest. Also note, these diets weren't ranked from 1 to 31. Some were tied and this list, for example, had no #10 spot at all. Do you have any favourites? Let us know in the comments below:

Healthiest Diets For Your Body

#9 The Traditional Asian Diet

The Traditional Asian Diet focuses on eating low-fat and healthy foods including rice, vegetables, fresh fruit, fish and very little red meat. People who live in Asian countries tend to have lower rates of cancer, heart disease and obesity.

RATING: #9

Healthiness: 4.1

Nutrition: 3.9

Safety: 4.2

#9 The Ornish Diet

The Ornish Diet, created by Dr. Dean Ornish, follows a routine of avoiding foods heavy in saturated fats, and eating healthier foods like fish, whole grains and vegetables.

RATING: #9

Healthiness: 4.1

Nutrition: 3.8

Safety: 4.2

#8 The Flexitarian Diet

The Flexitarian Diet is a five-week diet plan that includes adding five food groups to your diet like new meats (think tofu and lentils), fruits and veggies, whole grains, dairy, and sugar and spice (think dried herbs or natural sweeteners). The diet recommends eating 1,500 calories a day.

RATING: #8

Healthiness: 4.4

Nutrition: 4.0

Safety: 4.4

#7 Jenny Craig

The Jenny Craig diet focuses on prepacked meals and recipes that help dieters get a healthy amounts of fat, protein, carbs, fibre and calcium.

RATING: #7

Healthiness: 4.3

Nutrition: 4.0

Safety: 4.4

#6 Weight Watchers

The Weight Watchers diet relies heavily on a points program and assigns most foods and meals a point value. Each point value is based on protein, carbohydrates, fats, fibre, calories, and how long it will take your body to burn it off.

RATING: #6

Healthiness: 4.4

Nutrition: 4.1

Safety: 4.6

#4 Volumetrics Diet

The Volumetrics Diet , just like its name, is based on eating low-density foods that are large in volume but small in calories. Dieters eat plenty of lean meats, fruits and veggies and non-fat dairy products.

RATING: #4

Healthiness: 4.5

Nutrition: 4.2

Safety: 4.6

#4 Mayo Clinic Diet

Created by group of health professionals, the Mayo Clinic Diet focuses on a pyramid system that lets dieters eat almost anything they want -- as long as they watch how many calories they are eating. The first part of the diet requires cutting sugars and snacking, while the second part focuses on calories and servings.

RATING: #4

Healthiness: 4.5

Nutrition: 4.3

Safety: 4.7

#3 Mediterranean Diet

Not only is the Mediterranean Diet good for heart health and ideal for people with diabetes, it heavily focuses on eating whole grains, fish, fresh fruits, vegetables, and good fats like olive oil.

RATING: #3

Healthiness: 4.6

Nutrition: 4.4

Safety: 4.8

#2 TLC Diet

Created by the National Institutes of Health’s National Cholesterol Education Program, the Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes Diet revolves around cutting out bad fats (like saturated) and eating more fibre and calcium-rich foods.

RATING: #2

Healthiness: 4.7

Nutrition: 4.6

Safety: 4.8

#1 DASH Diet

The DASH Diet was chosen as the healthiest of all diets, as this diet has a huge focus on getting nutrition from each food group and limiting your caloric intake in a day. The diet recommends eating one vegetable and fruit serving to start your meals.

RATING: #1

Healthiness: 4.8

Nutrition: 4.7

Safety: 4.9