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There Is No ‘Best’ Diet

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Photo: Yulia Furman (Shutterstock)

U.S. News has once again ranked all the diets, with the groundbreaking result that…they are all different ways to eat food. Amazing. Their website does provide a nice comparison of the various diets’ pros and cons, but the whole concept of declaring one diet better than another is broken to begin with.

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As we’ve seen with the “Dirty Dozen” produce rankings, a ranking assumes that each thing is competing against the others, and that those at the top of the list are better than those at the bottom. With vegetables as with diets, there are a whole bunch that are just fine, and you don’t need to pit them against each other any more than you need to choose which of your children is your favorite. 

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Then there’s the question of what a “diet” really is, anyway; as a word of the English language, diet can mean many different things. If somebody is “going on a diet,” we understand that they are trying to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. If instead we read that “the diet of wild lemurs varies among species,” we understand the word to mean a description of the totality of things a lemur typically eats.

The 51 diets in the U.S. News database form a bizarre mix. Some are vague approaches to eating, like volumetrics; some are commercial products intended to help people lose weight, like Noom or Weight Watchers; still others are science-unsupported crash diets. Putting these disparate items into a lineup is not really helping anyone. U.S. News seemed to understand this on some level, since they only ranked the “best” 35, leaving a pool of particularly bad options—like the Master Cleanse, which I’m not sure fits any definition of a diet, to be honest—off the main list.

I could puzzle over the rankings themselves for days. For example, Atkins and keto are listed as two separate things (they’re arguably not), and both rank below a raw food diet that the list describes as “all but impossible to follow.” Like the paper’s wildly popular college rankings, the diet rankings seem to exist to give us something new to worry and argue about, rather than to help people eat healthier or lose weight.

How to actually choose a diet

First, if you’re looking to lose weight, recognize that all weight-loss diets work the same goddamn way: they give you a framework to eat fewer calories than you burn. The “best” diet to do that is whichever one you find easiest to stick with.

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Some people feel great on a keto diet; some find intermittent fasting convenient; some would rather eat low-fat and vegan. It doesn’t really matter, so long as the calorie deficit isn’t too extreme and you’re not depriving yourself of important nutrients like fiber, vitamins, or protein.

Whether you’re trying to change your body weight or not, the basics of a healthy diet are pretty straightforward: lots of fruits and vegetables, enough protein, not too much sugar. If you have specific health concerns that you’ve discussed with a doctor, make sure to account for those. (For example, the DASH “diet” is a list of guidelines you can follow if you need to lower your blood pressure. It involves eating less sodium and more potassium, among other things.) If you’re willing to pay for help, you’re better off consulting a dietitian than buying into the latest expensive weight-loss product.

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So are you looking to eat more healthy, lose weight, or both? Find an approach to eating that meets your goals and that you can stick with. If you want some structure, it’s fine to buy a book that gives you recipes and a fancy name for the diet. The top-ranked diet, the Mediterranean diet, is fine. But the #29-ranked paleo diet, despite its silly premise (that cavemen made lots of fake pizzas from almond flour and coconut oil, if I understand correctly), might do the job just as well.

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Charge Your Phone Wirelessly With 50% off a Multifunctional LED Lamp

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Best Tech DealsBest Tech DealsThe best tech deals from around the web, updated daily.

White Wireless Charge Lamp | $18 | Amazon | Clip coupon + code ABC88699
Black Wireless Charger Lamp | $20 | Amazon | Promo code ABC88699

When you’re ready to turn in for the night, you don’t want to forget to charge your phone— especially if your mobile device doubles as your alarm clock.

With this wireless charger lamp, you can make this crucial step of your nightly routine even easier by just setting your phone on the wireless charging pad and… well, that’s all there is to it!

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Other functions include multiple lighting modes as well as a sleep timer option for auto shut-off of the light after 30 or 60 minutes.

This lamp can be yours in white for $18 if you clip the coupon on Amazon (it’s below the original $40 price) and add promo code ABC88699 at checkout.

You can snag the black version for $20 using the same code—no coupon though, sorry.

Don’t sleep on this deal! Who knows how long stock or the coupon code will last?

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Keep That Hotdish Hot With 65% Off a Luncia Casserole Carrier, Only $11 With Promo Code

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Luncia Double-Decker Dish Carrier | $11 | Amazon | Promo code SDDU9S7F

It has been a long time since the days we could safely have a potluck or other gatherings, but we have a fantastic deal perfect for once those times return. These double-decker Luncia dish carriers can be had for 65% off when you add promo code SDDU9S7F at checkout and clip the coupon on the site (it’s just below the price). These holders fit 9″x 13″ sized baking dishes.

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That means you can insulate and keep two dishes of food warm for only $11 instead of $30. What’s more, your Luncia carrier will arrive by Christmas if you order today as a Prime member.

Just add promo code SDDU9S7F and clip the 5% off coupon to bring the price down to $11 for the blue or the grey option.

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Grab this offer while it’s still around!


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Conquer Your Pup’s Dander and Fur With $700 Off a Cobalt or Charcoal Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum

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Best Home DealsBest Home DealsThe best home, kitchen, smart home, and automotive deals from around the web, updated daily.

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Cobalt) | $200 | Best Buy

Bobsweep PetHair Plus Robot Vacuum & Mop (Charcoal) | $200 | Best Buy

Allergies can be bad enough as the seasons change. Don’t let pet hair and dander add to that by vacuuming it up early and often. That chore is easier said than done— unless you have a robot vacuum to do the work for you. This lovely bright cobalt Bobsweep PetHair Plus robot vacuum and mop, only $200 today at Best Buy seems like an ideal option. That’s a whopping $700 off, by the way.

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You can get the same deal for the charcoal version of the robot vac, too. This model is not only specially made for picking up pet hair, it self docks and charges when it’s finished with the work.

It also comes with a mop attachment, so it can take care of those kitchen floors for you as well. Grab it while it’s still available for this fantastic price!

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