Your Google search history includes, “how to lose weight”, “how to eat better”, “what to eat after a big night?” and then your internet cookies (yum…cookies) inundate your newsfeed with articles about dieting. There is a plethora of accessible information on nutrition and your preconceived notions about diets are either validated or annulled.
Let’s start with a list of the most popular diets:
- 5:2 diet It is a 500-800 calorie fast two days per week, eating in moderation for the other five. Best suited to those who like to indulge a couple of days a week
- Alkaline Diet Popularized by Elle “The Body” MacPherson, the theory is the human body is more susceptible to disease and inflammation if you ingest foods unsuitable to homeostatic pH.
- Atkins Diet #lowcarbs #nocarbs - Kim K swears by this one. It’s a high fat, high protein diet with interesting side effects.
- Blood Type Diet This diet is about eating foods suited to your blood type. This is proposed to help fight inflammation and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Miranda Kerr is an advocate.
- Flexible dieting One for the math-lete’s and those who like to eat sugar (within reason). You work within the realms of your daily intake of macronutrients (fat, protein, carbs).
- Ketogenic A diet that consists lots of healthy fats and protein and has almost no carbs. The idea is to stimulate ketogenesis where the body is ultimately turned into a fat-burning machine
- Low G.I This diet is popularized by the CSIRO. You consume foods that have a low glycemic index and thereby absorbing them slower, making you feel fuller for longer.
- Mediterranean Diet The idea is to eat more fish, seafood, healthy fats, vegetables and some red meat
- Paleo Diet Think caveman eating: nothing processed. If it can’t be hunted (minus the Easter eggs) or gathered, don’t even bother.
- Vegan Diet Not just for hippies and animal rights activists - Queen Bey swears by this. Diet is plant-based with no animal products allowed.
So which diet works best?
A quintessential diet is an eating plan that suits YOU.
First, refer to your diet as an eating plan. There is a stigma attached to the word “diet” that when you start your diet your brain immediately associates the habit as a cumbersome task.
Secondly, our relationship with food determines our success in tackling healthy eating habits. Learn that there is no such thing as “good” and “bad” food; there is only nutritious and non-nutritious food. We tend to feel guilty when we eat “the bad stuff”. DON’T! It's totally fine to lose track sometimes.
Sage advice on how to better manage your eating habits:
- Stick to the outside aisles of the supermarket.
- If it’s packaged or canned and/or doesn’t look like it came from the earth, don’t eat it.
- Focus on eating lots of vegetables, a couple of servings of fruit, include some high protein options - consume less processed carbs.
- Accept that you may need to try a variety of food types to suit your digestion – your genetics, heritage and age can influence our ability to digest certain foods effectively.
- Vitamin and mineral supplementation is important especially for vegans, those with diseases and conditions, those with a predisposition to conditions and diseases and those who have a moderate to very active lifestyle.
- There is such a thing as “good” and “bad” cholesterol. Foods containing dense triglycerides are the ones to steer clear of.
Just because your social media presents you with “A diet you MUST try”, it doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you. Like anything in life, eating healthy is a commitment. It’s about staying loyal to the goal long after the mood you said it has left you. And to keep it simple, consume an eating plan that makes you feel and perform to your best after eating it.