WWB WATCH: New Year, New Diet? Read this First…The Best 2018 Diets are Ranked and the Top Two May Be the Wisest for All

Jan 11, 2018 by


Its a New Year and many of us are starting a new leaf and a new diet! An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and Americans spend $33 billion each year on weight loss products. At World Wise Beauty, I have been sharing wisdom on healthy diets from experts and doctors from around the world. Much of what I gleaned from the experts over time about diet is essentially common sense. We bypass the fad diets here at World Wise Beauty and focus on living life well. I love to quote Marion Nestle, a well respected Nutritionist and author of many books like “What to Eat” and Food Politics.


“Nutrition advice could not be easier to understand. Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits,

                                                                    balance calories and don’t eat too much junk food.”

~Marion Nestle


Sounds fairly easy and pretty wise, but for many people, losing weight and keeping it off is challenging.  A lot of it has to do with our habits, our fast food culture, and lifestyle. We are all unique bio-individuals and for many complicated reasons we may have lost our way when it comes to healthy eating habits. We turn to diets to give us structure and regimen. Sometimes trendy diets sound appealing because they are so rigid and definitive. Unfortunately those same trendy diets eliminate entire food groups and this in itself is generally not healthy or wise. The good news is, the two diets that tied in first place overall as the best diets, are also the top two for those with conditions like Diabetes and Hypertension. What makes both the diets ranked highest superior to others, may be the flexibility they offer so many people. The Dash and Mediterranean Diet tied for the number one spot on the report produced by U.S News & World Report. “Here is a quick at a glance definition of the top 2 diets and you can find a complete Diet list from the report below this post.

                                                              #1 Diets 2018

DASH Diet: The DASH diet eating plan is a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, low fat or nonfat dairy. It also includes mostly whole grains; lean meats, fish and poultry; nuts and beans. It is high fiber and low to moderate in fat. It is a plan that follows US guidelines for sodium content, along with vitamins and minerals. In addition to lowering blood pressure, the DASH eating plan lowers cholesterol and makes it easy to lose weight. It is a healthy way of eating, designed to be flexible enough to meet the lifestyle and food preferences of most people. It can be considered to be an Americanized version of the Mediterranean diet, with a few more specific guidelines. It discourages refined and processed foods, which are mostly empty calories.

Mediterranean Diet is based on a diet shared by many regions along the the Mediterranean sea ( think countries like Greece, Italy, France, Turkey, Morocco, and Spain). Each of these regions eats differently, but they share many of the same principles. One of them is Olive Oil and it’s a very important example. You can learn more about the power of Olive oil in a Q&A I did with Dr. Simon Poole for the Healthy Epicurean department at World Wise Beauty . He is an internationally respected expert on the Mediterranean diet and also wrote a book called ‘The Olive Oil Diet’ which will be released this March in the U.S. The Mediterranean diet is full of veggies, beans, nuts legumes, whole grains, lots of spices, fish and seafood and moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, cheese and yogurt. Oh and a little red wine to wash it all down!

Personally I’m a big fan of the Mediterranean Diet, because not only is it tasty, but I believe it is anchored to important cultural values that matter to people of all races. Valuing friends and family, living simple and sustainably are two major values paramount to a healthy society and culture. I like the 5 Basics the founder of “The Mediterranean Dish’ outlined here and you can also learn more about the Mediterranean Diet and mindset from Maria Benardis, author of ‘My Greek Family Table’.

Both Dr. Simon Poole and Maria Benardis shared their wisdom on the Mediterranean Diet at a recent Rise of Wise event in Princeton, NJ. Check out their inspiring talks below in video. We also featured three other high profile authors and experts in wellness culture. It was a wonderful day filled with wellness wisdom…

 Rise of Wise presents.mov

Whatever diet you select, it should be ideally one that works for your personal body and health condition, and it should be scientifically evidence based. There is no one perfect diet for everyone but there is a perfect diet for you. Get to know your body and genetic profile so you can make wise decisions for your personal wellness program. Weight loss is just one goal for a diet, but health, happiness and longevity are the important and valuable benefits of a good diet. Live, life well, and take time to enjoy your food!




2018 U.S. News Best Diets Rankings

Full lists available here.

Best Diets Overall 
1. DASH Diet (tie)
1. Mediterranean Diet (tie)
3. Flexitarian Diet

Best Commercial Diets 
1. Weight Watchers
2. Jenny Craig
3. Flat Belly Diet (tie)
3. Nutritarian Diet (tie)

Best Weight-Loss Diets
1. Weight Watchers
2. Volumetrics
3. Jenny Craig (tie)
3. Vegan Diet (tie)

Best Fast Weight-Loss Diets 
1. HMR Diet (tie)
1. Weight Watchers (tie)
3. Biggest Loser Diet (tie)
3. Medifast (tie)
3. SlimFast (tie)
3. Volumetrics (tie)

Best Diets For Healthy Eating
1. DASH Diet (tie)
1. Mediterranean diet (tie)
3. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
3. TLC Diet (tie)

Easiest Diets to Follow
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
2. Weight Watchers (tie)

Best Diets for Diabetes
1. Mediterranean
2. DASH Diet
3. Flexitarian Diet (tie)
3. Mayo Clinic Diet (tie)
3. Vegan Diet (tie)
3. Volumetrics (tie)
3. Weight Watchers (tie)

Best Heart-Healthy Diets
1. DASH diet
2. Mediterranean Diet (tie)
2. Ornish Diet (tie)

Best Plant-Based Diets
1. Mediterranean Diet
2. Flexitarian Diet
3. Ornish Diet












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WWB Wise Guru Series: Nobel Prize in Medicine went to Research on Circadian Rhythms. WWB Joins the Sleep Doctor, Dr. Michael Breus, for a Q&A to Discuss Why it Matters to Us…

Oct 11, 2017 by




Laura Opening- Welcome back Dr. Breus. For all those who haven’t read your book ‘The Power of When’, here is a chance for them to learn more about your important work and pick up your book. Before we get to your ground breaking research, we first have to acknowledge the Nobel Peace Prize award in Physiology or Medicine that went to three doctors who have discovered molecular mechanisms controlling the circadian rhythm. Now when we just say this, many will wonder, well why would that matter to me?

At World Wise Beauty I try to present important research, medical science and wellness wisdom in real context. The first question I always ask is, ‘Why does it matter?’ But before we get to this, let’s start first with a simple question. What did this Nobel Prize winning research specifically unveil for us from a scientific perspective that is so ‘eye opening’? No pun intended!


Dr. Breus: The basics behind the research showed that in fruit flies (who actually have very similar circadian rhythms as humans) the researchers were able to isolate the gene that controls our daily biological clock. This gene encodes a protein that accumulates in a cell during the evening and degrades during the daytime. This clock regulates behavior, weight loss, hormones levels, sleep and body temperature. Understanding this mechanism helps us all understand why we experience jet lag, how our internal biological clocks affect disease, our hormones, and literally everything we do. As you may remember in my new book, ‘ The Power of When’ this is EXACTLY what I have been writing about.

Laura Q- Yes you did, and hopefully more people will discover your work with this post! Now that we understand how our genes control our daily biological clock, what does that really mean if we are all different bio-individuals?

Dr. Breus: Actually we are more similar than you might think. The genetic studies that are going on in Sleep Research are on “common species” areas.

Lauroly Q– Why do circadian rhythms matter and why does understanding our unique biological clocks matter to our health?
Dr. Breus: So here is where it gets so fascinating, when I was in school, we learned that basically there was one central biological clock for time passage ( aging) and there were a few others that controlled hormone regulation, etc. Now we have found over 100 different control centers in the body. They each send information to each other. I think of it like grand central station in New York City. There are trains coming from all over the place to one central location. If one train is late, it could mess up all of the other trains going in or out. So the timing of these clocks actually controls our health, completely. These systems have a regularity to them or a rhythm. They become predictable, and more efficient. This is how the immune system, metabolic system, sleep system, all systems function.

Lauroly Q-  There is our answer. Sleep is a real regulator to everything in our ‘ biological system’. Should we all be in sync with sunrise and sunset for optimal health?

Dr. Breus: Yes, but it is really unrealistic to think that we can do it correctly. Remember that we have at least 4 different chronotypes, so there are some of us, who are more prone to late evenings and others who are morning people. As a side note, there was a great study on insomnia, where they took insomniacs out into the woods camping for 2 weeks. By the end of the study, everyone’s sleep had significantly improved. It was likely due to the sun exposure, and a reduction of EMF exposure talk about in sync with he sun!
Lauroly Q- In your book you identify many different types in the context of sleep needs.  Does the circadian ‘sync’ vary from person to person?
Dr. Breus: It does vary based on Chronotype. Lions (early risers), Bears (in-betweeners), Wolves (late nighters) and Dolphins (poor sleepers). If you want to know your type go to www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com and get it for free.
Lauroly Q–  So does this mean that some people are just genetically wired to be night owls?
Dr. Breus: Absolutely. I am. Interestingly enough you can even get this tested at 23 and Me, due to the genetic nature of chronotypes. It is based on the PER3 or Period 3 gene and its length. It effects sleep drive and timing.

Lauroly Q- While we are different genetically, is there still some unifying wellness wisdom when it comes to sleep that all human beings need to listen to?

Dr. Breus: Yes, consistency is the key. Most specifically in your wake up time, keep the same for weekdays and weekends, everything gets better, assuming you are sleeping by your chronotype.
Lauroly Q- The first thing I think of when it comes to circadian rhythms, is cultures living in the Northern Lights part of the world. How does the abundance of light exposure and then the significant decrease of light effect their circadian rhythms?
Dr. Breus: There are a lot of issues with sleep in these areas of the world. Sunlight appears to play a significant role in the human biology, from Vitamin D production to being the re-start button for the brain each morning.
Lauroly Q-Have their genes adapted over time living in these areas?
Dr. Breus: To a certain degree, yes. But I doubt that anyone is completely unaffected.
Lauroly Q- We know there is more depression associated with the decrease of light. I suppose even if you don’t live in these areas, but are vulnerable to depression, getting sunshine would be important. This correlates with the Vitamin D hormone that activates when we are exposed to the sun and then chemically regulates our serotonin synthesis. As we know, serotonin is one of the happy chemicals in our system. Take it from here Dr. Breus, I’m just trying to connect all the dots!

Dr. Breus: Light therapy is used in both depressive diagnoses and some sleep disorders. In depression the light helps re-set the persons circadian rhythms, which sends all of the other systems back in sync. This appears to play a role in the recovery from depression. While it is not the whole reason, it does seem to have a significant effect.

Laura Closing- Thank you for sharing your expertise with us Dr. Breus. Now that we are learning more about our biological clocks and our connection to nature, we can begin to see how everything is interdependent in wellness. As Plato so wisely said “The Part can Never be Well, unless the Whole is Well.” I encourage everyone to read ‘The Power of When’ and learn more about your own body’s internal clock. Sleeping will become a healthy habit, just like a good diet and exercise is.

Dr. Breus Closing: Thank you so much for having me, and if people want to learn more they can check out my website www.thesleepdoctor.com or learn your chronotype at www.thepowerofwhenquiz.com

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30 Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Cuisines–A Q&A with Author and Expert Sandra Gordon

Sep 12, 2013 by

This substantive book is on my top ten list of health and nutrition books. The author Sandra Gordon is one of the most sought-after and highly respected food, nutrition, health and fitness writers in the industry and she teamed up with a distinguished doctor/professor, Dr. Steven Jonas, specializing in the field of public health and preventive medicine to write it.  Be impressed…

Sandra has written literally hundreds of articles on diet, weight loss, health, general nutrition and fitness and has become one of the leading consumer journalists on the relationship between food and various diseases including cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease. Her articles have been featured in leading consumer magazines such as PreventionMoreSelf,  Redbook,  Shape, and now she has graciously agreed to come chat with World Wise Beauty the fresh and new digital destination for celebrating ideals for wellness culture.  

So, have a cup of tea and do a little arm-chair traveling with me as I chat with Sandra about the 30 Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Cuisines and pick up a few healthy global eating tips.

Truly Herself,

Lauroly Opening – Welcome to World Wise Beauty Sandra. I am excited about featuring your book “30 Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Cuisines” co-authored with Dr. Steven Jonas, Professor of Preventative Medicine at Stony Brook University in New York. The book may be couple of years old but it’s an excellent health and nutrition book blending ground breaking nutritional research with information about the culinary histories and traditions of a number of major countries and regions around the world. The book is filled with culinary wisdom and could help people reduce their chances of developing a number of major diet-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. There have been many books covering the subject of diet and longevity since your book was published but I still find your book to be one of the best  to connect nutrition with health and longevity.  Plus it also includes fabulous globally inspired recipes! My personal favorite is Seafood Soup with Rouille from France. Let’s get started with learning how you and Dr. Jonas got together to write this book. 

Sandra Gordon: “30 Secrets” was an idea I came up with after writing a piece for Woman’s Day, called “The World’s Best Eating Tips.” I loved the idea of going around the world in a book, reporting on the healthiest eating habits, take-home tips that Americans could easily import into their repertoire. I wrote a book proposal—my first—and then got a literary agent (Linda Konner in New York City). It was Linda who connected me with Dr. Jonas, who is a professor of public health. Dr. Jonas did a great job of reading what I wrote and putting his mark of approval on it. When John Wiley expressed interest in “30 Secrets,” which was my first book deal, I was working fulltime in NYC as a health writer in the marketing department for a health insurance company. I also happened to be pregnant with my first child. My husband and I had just bought our first house too. I quit my job to write the book, in my new house in the suburbs. It was a race against time. Would I get the book done before the baby came? That’s all I focused on, so much so that I didn’t go shopping for new-baby gear until about a week before my due date. As it turns out, my daughter was two weeks late and the doctor wasn’t waiting any longer. I think I had willed my baby to stay in, and she took my cues too seriously. I ended up having plenty of time to complete the book. With baby #2, I wrote book #2 when I was pregnant too, “The Aging Eye,” for Harvard Medical School. I began to see a pattern. If I want to get another book deal, do I have to get pregnant again? All told, that was my last baby, but not my last book, fortunately.

Lauroly Q-  A busy woman you were–birthing babies and books! Your book “30 Secrets” was timely in the year 2000 because it was right about that time period we Americans started to get hooked on “magic bullet” foods and ingredients. Mediterranean diets in particular became a global fascination as more scientific research piled up about the culture’s longevity and low rates of heart disease compared to the rest of the world. You and Dr. Jonas synthesized cultural research and nutritional science in an easy to read book about the “world’s healthiest cuisines”. What did you personally come away learning after writing this book with Dr. Jonas?

Sandra Gordon: Since writing the book, my eating habits have really gone global. I cook a lot, which is not very American, and I’m a big recipe person. I love to go Mediterranean one night, Japanese the next. We recently had two teens stay with us from Russia for three weeks, which required cooking big dinners nightly. Interestingly, the girls expected home cooking because few people can afford to go out to eat in Russia. During their stay, I realized how much my meals are a mishmash of cultures. Aside from peanut butter, which I made the Russians try (they had to hold their nose and chase the peanut butter bites they took with water); none of my meals were “American,” whatever that means. Finally, on the last day, the Russians requested an “American lunch.” Knowing they were going to be flying home for 11 hours, we went to Five Guys for burgers and fries, so they could fuel up for their flight. Incidentally, they thought Five Guys was much better than McDonald’s, which they had gone to during their free time.

Lauroly Q-In some ways it’s sad that the American cultural experience is to eat at a fast food chain but you are right we really are a blending of cultures, so what truly is American? Dr. Jonas  is careful not to glorify “super foods” but encourages us to incorporate a variety of them into a well- rounded diet. Very wise advice but when you learn more about diets around the world you  come to appreciate how various cultures survived over time because of nature’s bounty and compensation. Can you illustrate a few cultural examples of this?


Sandra Gordon: It seems like every culture has gone through periods of famine because of war or other reasons, which made them resourceful food wise. That’s why they eat all parts of the animal in France, for example. In the past, food was scarce and the culinary compensation that resulted became part of their food tradition. The Mediterranean regions known for their health and longevity, such as Crete, were based on subsistence farming. Traditional Cretans were poor, but their gardens yielded tomatoes, greens like purslane, parsley, garlic, olives/olive oil and fish from the adjacent sea. I think the traditional Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest out there, and studies continue to prove it. Fortunately, it’s an eating pattern that’s pretty easily to import. My idea of super foods is based in the Mediterranean: yogurt, olive oil, all fruits and vegetables, including onions and garlic, fish and a little wine too (white or red). At my house, we also eat grains like bulgur because my husband in Armenian and that’s his comfort food.

Lauroly Q-It is interesting to note that the world’s healthiest cuisines are often corrupted once they have been imported to America. Chinese food is a good example. Can you share more about “westernization” and the unhealthy effects on some global cuisines?


Sandra Gordon: It’s true–what we consider to be Chinese food—egg rolls, sweet and sour pork, chow mein, chop suey, barbecued spare ribs, for example–aren’t part of the traditional Chinese diet. They were invented for Americans by the Chinese who emigrated here. Traditional Chinese food is a stir fry, with very little meat and lots of inexpensive rice. I think it’s fine to eat American Chinese food every once in a while, as long as you know that’s what you’re eating, and not try to tell yourself, “It’s Chinese, so it’s healthy.” On a similar note, the westernization of cuisines is a widespread problem, especially in cities across the globe. As people have less time and more money, they turn to quick fixes like fast food, which are becoming more increasingly available. Then again, I’m surprised by how much some global traditions are holding fast and how the American diet isn’t infiltrating everything. The concept of home cooking in Russia, for example, is what the 1970s were in the U.S. When you cook at home, you can eat healthier because you’re in control. Yet, Russia is a whole-milk kind of culture. Non-fat milk is not the norm. So the diet isn’t as healthy as it could be in terms of saturated fat and they have high rates of heart disease to prove it.

Lauroly Q- I found the information on West Africa in your book to be eye-opening. It puts the importance of a plant-based diet at the forefront of nutritional health and science and we are just beginning to embrace this ideology now in 2013. The smallest country of Africa is Gambia and they have the lowest incidence of cancer in the world–even lower than Japan and especially when it comes to breast cancer. What is their secret and what should we be learning from this knowledge today?


Sandra Gordon: Since writing “30 Secrets,” we’ve learned even more about a plant-based diet–that it’s even more important for heart disease protection than cancer protection. One of the things we’ve also learned is that staying slim throughout your life can reduce the risk of cancer. After writing “30 Secrets,” I had a friend who worked for a relief organization in The Gambia, which gave me a different perspective on the cancer prevention aspects of the diet. When she came home after a year, her parents didn’t recognize her at the airport because she was so skinny. She said that it was so hot there that she just didn’t feel like eating much, and really, there wasn’t that much to eat, in terms of variety. Peanuts, yams; yams, peanuts. According to a major report by the American Institute for Cancer Research, staying lean throughout your life, with a body mass index (BMI) in the range of 21 to 23, is one of the most important things you can do to stay cancer-free. And that’s because any weight gain after age 18 (excluding pregnancy) is mostly fat. Excess body fat produces hormones and releases inflammatory factors into the blood stream that can influence cell growth, upping the risk of cancer of the esophagus, colon, rectum, endometrium, gallbladder, liver, pancreas, and kidneys.

Weight gain after menopause is particularly lethal. It increases the risk of breast cancer by 8 to 13 percent with every 11 pound tacked onto your frame. Some of the risk associated with weight gain sticks around even if you purge the pounds. But if you’ve gained and lost even just 10 pounds of it, you’re better off than if the weight never left. So maybe it’s the fact that The Gambians don’t have an obesity epidemic that’s saving them from cancer. In any event, no matter what and how you eat, try to do what you can to keep your weight in check. And go global—the Mediterranean diet, especially, is a model for filling up on fewer, though quality, calories.

Lauroly Closing: Thanks so much for joining me Sandra. I hope we have inspired a number of readers to discover your book “30 Secrets of the World’s Healthiest Cuisines” and learn about the benefits of embracing a rich, and varied healthy global diet. We look forward to more work from you as you often write and report on health and wellness in various magazines and publications. Hope you come visit us again!

To learn more about Sandra’s latest published ventures visit her website here.

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