If it’s January, it must be diet season, the time when seemingly everyone you know puts themselves on a path to healthier, more balanced eating and seemingly every media outlet is offering its “New Year, New You” advice. It’s also a great time for nutrition experts to evaluate the diets and eating patterns that best help people achieve their personal goals – whether that goal is to lose weight, address a specific health issue or generally improve wellbeing. Several nutrition experts have been tapped to rank leading diet plans for US News & World Report’s annual Best Diets issue.

Topping their list of best overall diets for the seventh year in a row was the DASH diet, which was created by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute as a diet to lower blood pressure. For US News, the experts rated the DASH diet not only best overall but also placed it at the top of their lists for diabetes, healthy eating and heart health.

The DASH eating plan hews closely to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with a recommended dietary pattern of fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, and nuts. It also recommends reducing sodium, added sugars, red meats, saturated fat, trans fat, and dietary cholesterol while consuming foods containing nutrients that are linked to lower blood pressure, such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein, and fiber.

Among the dairy products the DASH diet recommends is fat-free or low-fat yogurt. In a large prospective study, consumption of yogurt was associated with a more balanced diet. According to this study, yogurt consumers are not only likely to have higher potassium intakes, but are less likely to have inadequate intakes of vitamins B2 and B12, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.1

Overall, US News concludes that the best diets are safe, nutritious, easy to follow, effective and sustainable for a long period of time. That last criterion is particularly important since, as the report acknowledges, is the best diet is truly the one that works best for you.

Happy New Year!


Miguel Freitas, PhD

Vice President of Scientific Affairs, The Dannon Company

1. Wang H, Livingston K, Fox CS, Meigs JB, Jacques PF. Yogurt consumption is associated with better diet quality and metabolic profile in American men and
women. Nutr Res. 2013;33:18–26.

Fermented Foods among
Top 2017 Trends

If there’s anything that’s as sure a thing as the Times Square ball drop, it’s the 2017 trend predictions that proliferate in the news in late December and early January. Global Food Forums compiled trends lists from the leading market research companies in the food industry and some common themes emerged. These include personalized nutrition, clean labels, efforts to reduce food waste, more ways to offer convenience, and the replacement of sweet flavors for savory flavors in various dayparts. A survey of 1,700 registered dietitians, meanwhile, named fermented foods like yogurt to the list of the top 10 superfoods for 2017.

Pump Up American Heart
Month Activities

February is American Heart Month and health-related organizations are putting their plans in place. The Office of Disease Prevention and Promotion has posted a toolkit with information about heart disease, recommendations for events and activities, sample tweets, newsletter content, and resources for learning more about heart disease.

OYED has some terrific resources that can help those who have put following a healthy eating pattern on their 2017 resolution list. Check out our fact sheet on the components of a healthy eating pattern. Another excellent resource is the MyPlate Daily Checklist, which shows people their daily targets for each food group