Whether you want to lose weight, gain muscle, or live a healthier, more sustainable life, one’s diet is typically the most significant consideration and stressor.
The options are endless, and it can often be overwhelming to figure out which one to choose. Do you go for low carbs or fasting? Do you count calories and macronutrients? Can you have a cheat meal? Should you try the Mediterranean diet or keto?
The stress is understandable, and the misinformation seems endless. However, there is a “best diet” for you!
What is the Best Diet?
The best diet is the one you can stick to and enjoy the most.
Of course, some rules need to be considered dependent upon your goals. Some decisions classify whether or not you’re eating healthy. Fruits and vegetables are good, while processed foods like crackers and cookies are generally not doing any favors.
The trick here is moderation, commitment, discipline, and of course – enjoyment. So, as long as you can stick to a relatively healthy diet (i.e., the 80/20 rule), you only have to find what works for you and stick to it.
Check out our guide about eating healthy on a budget!
How do Diets Work?
Every diet meant for weight loss works in the same general way: putting your body into a caloric deficit. They all remove calories in one way or another.
- The keto diet removes carb calories.
- Fasting removes calories by limiting when you can eat.
- Counting calories limits you to a set number of calories.
The real trick is finding a diet that is effective for you!
There are Many Effective Diets
The real key to any diet is sustainability. If you can’t maintain the diet you choose, you won’t see the results that diet should provide.
Our Recommended Diet
We recommend trying multiple different diets. When you try one, give it a couple of weeks to see whether or not it will work with your lifestyle and dietary needs. Then, can you keep it up long-term?
Is it Working?
If it is working for you, then pay attention to whether it provides your body’s nutrients. For example, are you getting adequate protein? Are you able to consume 2-3 cups of vegetables a day? Are you getting enough carbohydrates to fuel your brain and body? Are you consuming enough food to maintain health?
Will it Meet Your Goals?
Then after about a month, evaluate whether the diet is on track with your goals. If you aren’t headed in the right direction, but the diet is maintainable, look for ways to modify it, so you are!
For example, if your diet is healthy and sustainable, but you aren’t losing weight at the rate you want, try these:
- Add a fasting period
- Remove food that you can live without eating regularly
- Replace food with something similar and lower calorie
All of these options do little to change the diet, but they make a big difference in calorie consumption in the long term!
Best Diets to Try
If you aren’t sure where to start, here are some easy diet options that will allow you to find what works for your lifestyle:
- Intermittent Fasting
- Low Carb
- Low Fat
- Calorie Counting
- Whole Foods
Intermittent fasting limits you to eating within a set period. This option is excellent for people on the go! Most people who follow this diet limit food consumption to an eight-hour time window.
This diet has different variations (keto being one of them). If you find that you generally eat lots of bread, pasta, and other carb-heavy food, this is a good diet to try. Simply limit your carb consumption by avoiding simple sugars and carb-heavy foods to try this out.
If you eat lots of processed foods, this diet might be a good one to try. Usually, by reading labels carefully, you can start choosing food options with less dietary fats.
Calorie counting is the big brother to the last two diet options, although there are different intensities! Some people choose to count macro-nutrients to ensure they get calories from specific nutrient groups. The simplest way to try this diet is by just keeping track of calories consumed and staying under your caloric expenditure.
Eating whole foods is always the healthiest option. Out of the diet options here, it’s the most highly recommended. You follow a whole foods diet by cutting out processed options. A typical whole foods diet is meat and animal proteins, vegetables, and some fruits. The easiest way to follow this is to cook most of your meals yourself and avoid boxes and cans.
Vegetarian diets include a whole array of options from pescatarian to vegan. Typically, vegetarian diets only have fruits, veggies, and grains. However, some variations include animal products such as milk, and others include fish.
Why to Avoid Fad Diets
You might lose weight, but you will have to deal with even worse health complications.
Remember, the weight loss market is a billion-dollar industry. Unfortunately, some people and companies in the weight-loss business are just interested in making money and do not care about your health. This has led to a tremendous increase in fad diets.
This section explains the truth about fad diets and the disadvantages of using them. In addition, you will find comprehensive insight into fad diets that people sign up for, often putting their health at risk.
What Are Fad Diets?
These diets promise to offer you quick fixes, such as losing weight within a limited timeframe. However, they deprive you of essential nutrients. Unfortunately, many people who desperately need a weight loss program have fallen prey to these diets. But how do you recognize a fad diet?
The Lie Behind A Fad Diet
The pressure to lose weight can cause people to get desperate and follow misleading diets causing their health to worsen. As a follower of these diets, you not only get temporary or no results at all but also waste your money and time.
The problem is that the truth is not sexy, flashy, or fun. Companies and individuals prey on this “downfall” of healthy diets by advertising their option as something it is not.
Characteristics of Fad Diets
These diets are characterized by:
- Claiming to offer a magic weight loss strategy;
- Very convincing but also sounds too good to be true;
- Promising quick and easy fixes to help you lose weight in a short period;
- Promoting the use of certain super products or foods;
- Forbidding or prohibiting particular food groups like fats or whole grains;
- Suggesting that supplements or food can modify your body chemistry, such as altering your pH level;
- Being often very low on calories;
- Advertisement using buzz words like Fasting, Clean eating, Low Carb, Detoxification, Quick, and Body Cleansing, to mention a few;
- Offering temporary results without a proper transition plan or nutrition education;
- Providing biased and inadequate advice lacking scientific evidence;
- Often being anchored on one single testimonial or study to prove their efficacy;
- Using parlor tricks to simulate weight loss or body changes;
- Setting stringent fixed rules intended to help you lose weight.
Outcomes of The Fad Diet Promises
Many people are likely to be carried away by the aforementioned empty promises. As such, individuals who are grievously attempting to lose weight have fallen into the trap of fad diets. For them, the aftermath of using those diets can be daunting.
Disadvantages of Fad Diets
As discussed earlier, fad diets claim to offer a quick weight loss program but, in turn, deny you essential nutrients. As a result, you are likely to experience the symptoms below:
- Inadequate mineral and vitamin intake;
- Weight rebound after the diet;
- Fatigue and weakness;
- Stress of not losing weight.
Do Fad Diets Work?
For some people, yes. But not healthily or sustainably. The best diet is always going to be one that is healthy and sustainable.
Fad diets prohibit calories or certain foods, denying crucial macronutrients and micronutrients. Furthermore, these diets are physically and mentally unsustainable. They are just temporary diets that will deprive you of essential nutrients, putting your health in jeopardy. Additionally, most people who try fad diets tend to regain weight very fast, indicating that this weight loss strategy is not sustainable.
What’s the Best Diet?
The best diet is one supported by science, that is healthy and is most easily abided by the individual. A good diet typically focuses on whole food and plant-based options (this can include animal proteins!). It should also have the flexibility to be tailored to the individual.
Find a diet you enjoy, make sure that it’s a healthy lifestyle, and stick to that! A diet is simply a framework of what you can and can’t eat. It is not a jail sentence.