From keto to fruitarian and everything in between, it can be hard to know what diet will work best. Many resources and recommendations on the latest nutrition craze always promise to be “the last diet you’ll ever need.” But what diet should you choose and how can you know what will work? Learn about selecting the best diet for your body and how to stick with it.
How do I choose the best diet?
The first step to selecting the best diet is to talk with a doctor. Many people may have vitamin or nutrition deficiencies or other health problems that will require specific eating plans. Your doctor may perform blood work and ask questions about your lifestyle before recommending a particular diet or needed supplements. It is also important to tell your doctor about any diet or fitness plans you are already considering so that your doctor can evaluate them for safety and effectiveness. Many fad diets, including the South Beach Diet, Macrobiotic Diet, Zone Diet, Atkins, Paleo, and Raw Food, can sound intriguing but may not be the best fit for your unique body. A good healthcare provider can provide all the information needed to implement a healthy diet successfully. There may even be other services such as nutritionists, fitness classes, or therapy for weight loss that can also be beneficial towards successfully implementing a healthy diet.
How do I start a healthy diet?
If you don’t have access to a healthcare provider or have any nutritional deficiencies, it is possible to start a healthy diet independently. The most important thing to remember is that any diet that is too restrictive or promises quick weight loss may be hard to maintain for a lifetime. These diets tend to produce a “yo-yo effect” where participants initially lose a large amount of weight but then find the diet hard to adhere to for a long time. As soon as they begin eating normally again, they regain the weight, and the cycle starts over. The best diet should feel like a gradual lifestyle change and not a strict punishment; this will help to incorporate healthy eating habits that become normalized instead of making every meal feel like a struggle.
What should my daily diet consist of?
The are two main things to consider when narrowing in on a diet plan are the number of calories consumed each day and the quality of food and ingredients consumed each day.
Daily Caloric Needs
Drastically cutting caloric intake will typically result in weight loss for anyone; however, this is not sustainable in the long run. Humans need to eat calories to stay alive, and each person may require more or less based on their specific body composition and lifestyle. The number of calories required each day is called the “Total Daily Energy Expenditure.” The TDEE takes into account how many calories a person is using to function regularly based on metabolic rate, activity level, and the thermic effect of food. A doctor can help determine the specific range of calories needed, or you can use an online TDEE nutritional calculator to get an estimate. Understanding your TDEE will help you determine how many calories you should be consuming through your diet each day to maintain optimal health and function.
High-Quality Versus Low-Quality Foods
It's important to remember that not all calories are created equal. There is an increased benefit of fiber and nutrients from eating whole natural foods such as fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. While the caloric value of some of these foods may be the same as a cookie or specialty coffee drink, these options typically contain chemicals, additives, and preservatives that aren’t healthy to consume every day. It’s not sustainable to never indulge in processed foods; however, they should be a limited portion of any healthy diet. If you struggle with not cooking and preparing nutritious meals, try visiting your local library for fun recipe books or meal plans. Your doctor can also suggest some websites or blogs that may be helpful too.
Ultimately, the best diet is one that is sustainable, full of variety, prioritizes whole, healthy foods, and stays within the caloric needs of your specific body. After you meet these requirements, you can tailor any healthy diet to your taste preferences or lifestyle.