The million dollar question – what is the best diet? Now, I so wish I could write this and outline the best diet for everyone, but I am not that closed minded in my knowledge or opinion. The answer is there isn’t one, as we are all different. If we had the same body shapes, exercise levels, likes and dislikes and lifestyles, perhaps finding the perfect diet may be easier, but that is not the case.
There are many diets available and so many of them have health benefits and great results. However, that doesn’t mean they are best for everyone. No doubt you have heard people talk about keto, vegan, paleo, HFLC, Mediterranean, plant based etc.. the list is endless. A number of these diets have many merits to them and some have quality research to support their effectiveness. Still though, they may not be the best option for everyone.
We all have varying specific needs and likes. Some people have greater carbohydrate tolerance, some exercise a lot and need lots of calories. However, others have illnesses and disease and need to avoid specific nutrients. Added to this there is specific likes, dislikes, beliefs, religious cultures and the ability or desire to stick to a specific eating plan.
What Diet Then?
So, the best diet is the one that you will stick to that will improve your health. A marathon runner who requires high levels of carbohydrates will not likely suit an individual who is pre-diabetic and sedentary. Similarly, a keto diet could be rather difficult for someone who likes to engage in a vegetarian style of eating. It isn’t that any of these diets are ‘bad’ as such, just not suited to the individual.
So, what are some of the key things to include in a healthy diet?
- Moderation – try to avoid excessive amounts of any specific food. Even too much Kale can be unhealthy
- Water – make sure to stay hydrated as this benefits health in so many ways. The recommendation is at least 8 glasses per day.
- Have protein – preferably over the day with each meal as protein plays many roles in the body and assists with healthy cellular function. Protein can be plant based or from animal sources. However plant based proteins aren’t complete in their essential amino acid profile and need to be paired with other protein based foods.
- Eat lots of different coloured fruits and vegetables – as this is where we obtain many micro nutrients and phytonutrients.
- Have healthy fats – fat plays many roles in the body. Healthier fat types typically consist of oils from nuts, coconuts and olives. Avocado is also considered a healthy fat source.
- Grains and rice – try to avoid overly processed forms and aim for wholegrain sources if you choose to add these to your diet.
- Diary – avoid added sugars and extra flavoring if possible if you choose to consume dairy.
- Having the occasional treat and items that are outside your typical diet is fine, unless you have a strict diet for medical reasons. Being too strict can often bring any diet plan unstuck.
- Refined sugars – try to avoid consuming too many refined sugars as these can impact our blood glucose levels and insulin response if consumed on a regular ongoing basis.
- Take time to find out what foods make you feel good in terms of energy, mental wellbeing and gut health.
The above can be worked into any type of ‘diet’. The important part of any eating style is to create one that is sustainable and not have you feeling like you’re deprived or on a short term health kick.
So, unfortunately there isn’t any one best diet, but there is a diet that is best for you.
If you’re needing help creating a healthy lifestyle suited to your needs you may find my 6 Week Online Program Back to Basics Bootcamp useful as it helps you identify what is best for you. You can learn more about it here.