How To Determine Which Eating Program Is Right For You

YAHOO-Y, the hard part is done! After making the decision that you’re going to work towards the goal of losing weight, the next step comes in deciding which diet program you will use.

Before we get into the ‘meat’ (<<haha, like the pun??) of it, I want to say how much I dislike the word “diet”, as I think it’s used out of context, more often than not.  But, because we are talking about the trends in diets out there, I’ll roll with it.  Ultimately, when you find something that works for you, it becomes more of a healthy eating lifestyle, not a diet, which to me, seems so short term.

I like how my buddy, Tony Horton talks about a healthy eating plan.  It’s not one-size fits all.

With hundreds of different diets (unfortunately too many of them are FADS and flat out dangerous) out there to choose from, this can definitely be overwhelming without a doubt.

So how do you know which diet is best suited for your own body? Having a firm understanding of what various diets about along with the pros and cons they offer is your best defense against making a wrong decision.

I just thought I’d touch on a few of the most popular “diets” that I get the most questions on:

LOW CARB DIETS

This diet is incessant.  Just never goes ahead.  Gets a lot of hype.  Rightly so.  But, let's dissect it and see what it actually means.

First of all, to me, low carb diets really mean there are little to no grains consumed, and starchy carbs (potatoes, beans/legumes) are also kept to a minimum.

Now, low carb diets are great for those who deal with hunger, as while following this as a diet, it naturally tends to reduce your hunger levels.  Why?  Because when consuming less carbohydrates, one is increasing their proteins and fats, that are the most satisfying nutrients, while carbs tend to increase your appetite.

For this reason, if you want hunger control, this is your diet. But, in the same breath, portion control certainly has to be exercised as well.  Especially when it comes to the consumption of excess proteins and fats.

The drawback to low carb diets on the other hand is that some people find they have very little energy on them and furthermore, they can cause the metabolism to slow over time.

With proper carb timing around the workout period and periodic carb-cycling to restore the metabolic rate, both of these problems can be overcome.

PALEO DIETS

Another diet that you might be hearing quite a bit about right now, especially if you are into CrossFit, is the Paleo approach.  This diet plan eliminates grains and most starch-based foods from the plan (similar to the Low Carb Diet above), so instead you’re only eating lean proteins, nuts, seeds, oils, along with a high amount of fruits and vegetables.

While this diet isn’t designed to be ‘low carb’, it often ends up that way simply due to the food choices that you’ll be making (emphasis on "lean" protein).

The good thing about this diet is that it is one that definitely promotes optimal health and can help to control hunger as well.

The bad thing is that those who are doing a high volume of intense physical exercise may struggle to take in enough carbohydrate calories to keep their energy up.  Getting your carbohydrates only from fruits and vegetables does make this tricky.

VEGAN OR PLANT-BASED DIETS

Finally, the last type of diet that we’ll cover today is the vegan diet.  Veganism is a type of vegetarian plan that involves the elimination of all animal products are consumed.  Vegans typically abstain from using hair products, make-up, as well as clothing made from or using animals.

Plant-based diets are similar to veganism, as in that it focuses on natural whole foods and rejects animal-based and processed foods.

Diet full of fruits and vegetables will be rich in vitamins and antioxidants and like with any diet plan, in order to be done correctly, attention must be given to ensure proper levels of protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and other nutrients are balanced in your meals.

So there you have a just brief run-down of a few of the main diets that I encounter, out there today.  Again, there are so many other diets that people dabble in (Weight Watchers, Zone Diet, Atkins, etc), that are for a whole other blog post…maybe!

I think a healthy eating lifestyle is just that…a LIFESTYLE, not a fad or trend.  My best advice, educate yourself about you choices and you can make an informed decision.

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