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How to find the best diet... for you

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

Are you trying to figure how to eat to feel and perform your best, but are confused by so many different opinions about food and nutrition? Read on to learn what you can do to figure out which style of eating might be best for you.


The best diet depends on you. Long story short - there is no diet that is perfect for everyone and there are lots of different eating patterns that can be healthy. However, there may be a best diet for you and that will be the one that is in line with your personal goals, lifestyle and preferences.


Get the basics right. Paleo, keto, plant-based, low carb, intermittent fasting or just good old fashioned healthy eating advice – proponents of these nutrition approaches all claim to help you optimise your health, lose weight etc. They can’t all be right so which one will really give you the results you’re looking for? The answer may be not so much about trying to understand which one is superior, but looking for what they all have in common.


Despite having so many apparent differences, many of these diets share a similar focus of eating lots of nutritious ‘whole’ foods with loads of vegetables and enough protein, drinking plenty of water, eating fewer highly processed treats and fast food, and making sure you don’t eat more than your body needs.


(Hint: if a diet doesn’t at least get these principles right - like the Lemonade Diet or the Carnivore Diet - I'd steer well clear.)


Know thyself. Once you’ve got a handle on the basics, the other features of a diet really depend on what will work for you. Prefer to have carbs to fuel your active day? Maybe a high fat/low carb diet isn’t the best place to start. Not usually hungry in the morning? Some form of intermittent fasting might actually be the thing you can stick to.


Adherence (sticking to the plan) and enjoyment are so important but often not given enough attention. Even the most “perfect” diet plan is useless if you can’t stick to it. Recent research is starting to show us that, for weight loss, being able to stick to a certain diet may be more important than the type of diet itself.


Friends enjoying a healthy meal

Channel your inner Bruce Lee. You may need to try a few different things to figure out what works for you. Actor and martial arts philosopher Bruce Lee once said: “Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is essentially your own.”


Instead of chucking in the towel completely if something isn’t quite going as planned, think “how can I better adapt this to suit my lifestyle?” and “what one change can I make this week to improve my health?”.


Get advice from an expert. If you’re thinking about making big changes like dramatically reducing your calories or restricting any nutrients or food groups, these are probably more of a short-term solution and are best done under the guidance of a registered nutritionist or dietitian.


These guys are the real deal when it comes to nutrition and can help you navigate your way through the maze that is healthy eating, to help keep you healthy and happy for the long term.



*In this blog, I use the term 'diet' to mean the types of foods you usually eat. You don't need to be on a restrictive nutrition plan or "on a diet" to eat well and feel great.



This blog is intended for information purposes only. Speak to a registered nutritionist or dietitian for nutrition advice tailored for your specific needs.



References


Cena H, Calder PC (2020) Defining a healthy diet: evidence for the role of contemporary dietary patterns in health and disease. Nutrients 12, 334; doi:10.3390/nu12020334.


Gibson AA, Sainsbury A (2017) Strategies to improve adherence to dietary weight loss interventions in research and real world settings. Behav Sci 7(3):44 doi: 10.3390/bs7030044


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