Now generally I am not a big fan of the word diet because it has all these negative connotations, but let’s just use the word as it is defined for a moment which is “the food that one habitually eats”.
It is important to know what the diet includes and get details of it before purchasing as I discussed in the last video. It is quite easy to do a quick good search and check out what is included in those diets and you can find out first whether it is something you think you want to try.
When it comes to food habit choices in losing weight there are lots of options. And it can get really confusing as everyone has an opinion – different professionals, friends, different bloggers and different studies. To just mention a few we have
- Vegan whole food plant-based diets
- High carb, low fat like – like the Ornish diet
- Low carb, high fat – like the ketogenic diet
- High protein, low carb/ diets like the paleo diet
Argh! It gets so confusing!
The good news is multiple studies have actually compared these diets and shown overall these all work to some degree, and I will come back to these each in more detail.
In fact anyone who goes from a standard modern diet high in processed food and low in vegetable and fruit to pretty much any “diet” that recommends reducing processed food and increasing real food like vegetables will make you feel better. That’s great right, it means you can have flexibility in your approach and we can stop fighting and let go of the ideology. You can do the diet that you find works best for your personal biology but also your lifestyle, your family and your income.
From my experience some styles of eating may work better than others for specific body types so if you see a friend lose loads of weight on a certain diet and you cant – don’t worry, don’t judge yourself as a failure, don’t compare yourself, the reason you this happened is really simple – you are different and hence need a different approach.
However, overall there are a few principles that almost all of these diets share:
- Taking away low-quality food and putting in high-quality food
- Pretty much all diets emphasize reductions in refined foods – refined carbohydrates, processed meats, and foods high in sodium and trans fat; moderation in unprocessed red meats, poultry, eggs, and milk; and high intakes of fruits, nuts, fish, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, beans, herbs and spices. So here we can see a spectrum of great foods to poor foods. Some prefer no animal products.
- Some fasts, like juice fasts, people feel great because they are simply cutting out these low-quality foods.
- The quantity – Whether it is high carb or low carb or fasting 2 days a week – almost all diets recommended reducing your daily calories by 500-750/day or weekly calories by ~3500, which is ~30% fever calories. So we are aiming for ~1000-1500 calories a day on average. This can be consistently 1200 calories a day or 800 calories one day and 1200 calories the next.
- Diet alone does not predict weight loss. So what does? Adherence does. The style of eating that works is the style you can enjoy and embrace in the long term. Maybe that will mean having 3-4 types of eating that you rotate, or just following general principles above.