2024 Diet Rankings: The Best and Worst Diets, according to U.S. News & World Report

2024 Diet Rankings: The Best and Worst Diets

As we embrace a new year, the timeless resolution of healthier eating often tops our lists. January is not just a month; it’s a fresh start, a chance to set the tone for the rest of the year. With the spotlight on 2024’s diet trends, let’s dissect the best and the worst, providing a balanced view on each.

The Gold Standard: Mediterranean Diet

Consistently topping the charts, the Mediterranean diet is more than a diet; it’s a sustainable lifestyle. Emphasizing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, it’s perfect for those looking to start the year on a positive note. Its flexibility and focus on overall well-being make it an ideal choice for long-term health goals.

The Solid Choices

  • The DASH Diet: Designed to combat high blood pressure, this diet promotes heart health with a focus on portion size and nutrient-rich foods. However, it requires a careful eye on sodium intake, which might be challenging for some.
  • The MIND Diet: A hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diets, it targets brain health. While the research backing its effectiveness is promising, it demands commitment to dietary changes that might be overwhelming initially.
  • The Flexitarian Diet: This plant-based diet allows occasional meat and fish, offering a balanced approach. It’s ideal for those easing into vegetarianism, though it requires careful planning to ensure adequate protein intake.
  • The Nordic Diet: Similar to the Mediterranean diet, it emphasizes whole grains, fatty fish, and root vegetables. The challenge lies in sourcing specific regional ingredients, which might be impractical for some.

Diets to Approach with Caution

  • The Raw Food Diet: While it promotes consumption of unprocessed foods, it’s extremely restrictive and can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
  • Herbalife Nutrition: This commercial diet relies heavily on supplements and meal replacements. It’s often criticized for being unsustainable and potentially costly.
  • The Dukan Diet: A high-protein, low-carb approach, it promises quick weight loss but is criticized for being overly restrictive and lacking in nutritional balance.
  • The Keto Diet: Known for its high-fat, low-carb regimen, it can lead to quick weight loss. However, it’s often hard to maintain and may lead to nutrient deficiencies.

The Takeaway

Embarking on a diet in January sets a precedent for the year. While the Mediterranean diet remains a beacon of balance and sustainability, it’s important to remember that the best diet is one that aligns with your lifestyle and nutritional needs. Whether it’s the heart-healthy DASH diet, the brain-boosting MIND diet, or the flexibility of the Flexitarian approach, the key is in finding a diet that you can adhere to without feeling deprived. As you navigate the array of diets 2024 has to offer, remember that the journey to health is not a one-size-fits-all. It’s about making informed choices that resonate with your personal health goals and lifestyle preferences.


Helping Teenage Children with Mental Health in the Post-Covid World

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many unexpected changes to every aspect of our lives, from education to work, and socializing. For parents with teenage children, this has been especially challenging. The pandemic has had an enormous impact on teenagers’ mental health, leaving them feeling very anxious, stressed, and depressed. While this has been a trying time for every parent, there are some ways that you can help your teenage children to cope with their mental health issues. After the Covid pandemic, many parents are asking “What are the best ways to help their teenage children with mental health?”

The Effects of the Pandemic on Teenagers’ Mental Health

The pandemic has had an enormous impact on teenagers’ mental health. From school closures to lockdowns, teenagers’ daily lives have been upended, leaving them feeling uncertain about their future. Remote learning, limited activities, and a lack of social interaction have left teenagers feeling isolated and lonely.

Teenagers may also be experiencing anxiety and stress due to uncertainty about their academic future, their social life, and their health. It can be challenging for parents to navigate this stressful time, but it is important to take the time to be there for your teenager. Encouraging an open and honest dialogue about their fears can go a long way in helping them cope.

Identifying Mental Health Issues in Teenagers

It is crucial to be aware of the signs of mental health issues in teenagers. If you notice that your teenager is frequently irritable, sad, or anxious, it may be a sign of depression. Other signs include sleep disturbances, changes in appetite, and a general loss of interest in activities that are typically enjoyable for them.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to seek professional help. Speak to your child’s pediatrician or a mental health professional who will be able to provide guidance on how to manage these symptoms.

Creating a Support System

One of the most important things parents can do to help their teenage children with mental health is to create a strong support system. Encouraging healthy social relationships can help teenagers feel connected, thereby reducing their feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Parents can also consider involving the family in activities like walking the dog or hiking, which can help reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being. Another way to support your teenager is to encourage them to pursue hobbies or interests that they enjoy.

Encouraging Healthy Habits

Encouraging healthy habits like regular exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep can significantly improve teenage mental health. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve mood, and reduce anxiety in teenagers.

Similarly, ensuring that your teenager is eating a balanced diet can have a positive impact on their overall well-being. Getting enough sleep is also essential for improving teenage mental health.

Understanding and Reducing Stress Triggers

Finally, it helps to understand and reduce stress triggers that can make teenagers’ mental health worse. Identifying stress triggers for your teenager can help you manage them better. For example, if your teenager gets anxious about tests or exams, try to find ways to support them, such as creating a quiet environment for them to study in.

The pandemic has had an enormous impact on teenagers’ mental health, leaving them feeling anxious, stressed, and depressed. There are many challenges that parents face with their teenagers in this post-covid world. Parents must learn to help their teenage children with mental health. Encouraging open and honest dialogue, creating a support system, encouraging healthy habits, and understanding and reducing stress triggers are some of the ways you can help your teenager cope with post-pandemic mental health challenges. With support and care, parents can help their teenagers navigate this challenging time and improve their overall mental well-being.


Adnan Zai Discusses Work-Life Balance

Adnan Zai, Advisor to Berkeley Capital located in Beachwood, has an intense job that has him working at all hours of the day and night, spanning two continents. But he also realizes that there is more to life than just work. From meditation to exercise, spending quality time with his three children to reading, he makes it a point to live a balanced life. We sat down with him recently to discuss the notion of work-life balance and what that looks like in this modern world.

Mary Kraven: As the old saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” If there is one positive that the pandemic left us with, it is the notion of the need for better work-life balance. When workers were sent home to work in March 2020, they realized that it was nice to throw in a load of laundry at lunch, or to cut out the stressful morning commute, in order to have more time for their families.  You have a high-powered, stressful job. What exactly do you think people mean when they talk about work-life balance?

Adnan Zai: Well there is no perfect work-life balance, and the notion will be different for everyone. At its core, work-life balance means that your career doesn’t consume you, but that you have time for family and friends, as well as self-care and the pursuit of projects and interests that you care about. This is something that Europeans have always done better with, but the pandemic pushed the envelope in America and showed more employees what work-life balance could be like.

Mary Kraven: According to the BBC, “In 2021, data from a survey of more than 9,000 UK workers showed 65% of job seekers prioritized work-life balance over pay and benefits. It’s similar in the US: of 4,000 respondents to the FlexJobs 2022 Career Pulse Survey, 63% said they’d choose work-life balance over better pay.” Why do you think this is so important to employees?

Adnan Zai: There is just so much more to life than work, and with the growth in social media, employees can see what they are missing out on. The YOLO generation is changing the game with their mantra of “You only live once.” At the end of the day, you can be replaced at your job, but you cannot make up for lost time with family and friends.

Mary Kraven: That is a very true statement. When did people first talk about work-life balance?

Adnan Zai: Well in the early days of the 20th century workers worked horrible hours under terrible conditions and unions fought for the eight-hour workday. This was the beginning. Things were moving along well for a while, but then we all got a phone in our hands, and work-life balance took a turn for the worse.

Mary Kraven: Yes, that is a very good point. The phones keep us connected 24/7. Ioana Lupu, associate professor of accounting and management at Paris’ ESSEC Business School, says “It happened at first when they all got Blackberries. Before, of course, you could get a phone call, but most of the time you couldn’t necessarily access your work files or anything, so it was more difficult to take work home. Now people were reachable at all times – during the holidays, during weekends with the family.”

She goes on to say that the happiest professionals she speaks to manage to “compartmentalize, to disconnect, to switch off without guilt from work”.

Adnan Zai: Exactly. Now people can work from anywhere at all hours of the day and night. This is certainly not conducive to a work-life balance. And I agree that you need to compartmentalize and truly take time for yourself outside of the office to be happy and productive.

Mary Kraven: Ensuring that workers have work-life balance is better for the business as well. If workers are satisfied, they will work harder, be less prone to burnout, and create better products and happier customers.

Chris Chancey, career expert and CEO of Amplio Recruiting said, “Employers who are committed to providing environments that support work-life balance for their employees can save on costs, experience fewer cases of absenteeism, and enjoy a more loyal and productive workforce,” said Chancey. When employees offer flexible work schedules or other perks like telecommuting, employees often can experience a better work-life balance.

Hank Jackson, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management, seconds that notion, saying “As we look ahead, it is clear that in order to remain competitive, employers must find ways to offer flexible work options if they want to attract and retain top talent.”

Adnan Zai: Yes, that is a win-win situation for the employee and employer. Flexible work options are good for business and good for the employees. Flexibility can pay off for employers in the long run.

Mary Kraven: This issue of work-life balance is far-reaching. It was a major player in the Great Resignation, and more than 50 million people left their jobs in 2022 in the U.S. alone. Data from Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index Annual Report showed more than half of Millennial and Gen Z workers who quit cited either lack of work-life balance or lack of flexibility as the reason.

Adnan Zai: People are waking up to the idea that life is short, and work is not everything. There is definitely a shift in thinking.

Mary Kraven: You mentioned earlier that Europeans appreciate work-life balance even more. Can you elaborate on that?

Adnan Zai: Let’s look at France as an example. Rather than the 40-hour work week in America, they favor a 35-hour work week. Additionally, they get 5 weeks of vacation and they take it, unlike here where people feel guilty when they use PTO. This past April, President Emmanuel Macron tried to change the minimum retirement age from 62 to 64, and the French revolted. The trains stopped running, the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower closed, the garbage collectors stopped working, and there was chaos in the streets, with protestors starting fires and thousands of police called in.

Mary Kraven: Yes it certainly sounds like they take their time off seriously. It seems like U.S. employees may be moving toward this notion as well. Can you give us some advice as to some ways that employees can seek more work-life balance?

Adnan Zai: Every worker needs to take control of his or her own well-being. No employer is going to do that for them. To this end, set your own goals and work hard to meet them. Be willing to take breaks, which will make you more efficient as a worker. When you are at home, choose to unplug, or to create specific time frames for your phone, rather than being on all day or endlessly scrolling or plugged into work.

Another part of the equation that people sometimes forget is that they need to take care of themselves. Eat right, get enough sleep, and choose some form of exercise to move your body. This will ensure your overall well-being, and make you a better employee.

Mary Kraven: Thank you so much for your insights, Adnan Zai. We hope the coming week is filled with work-life balance for you!