Diets, diet books, diet supplements, etc. are literally everywhere we look. We were just in a tiny town in North Carolina and I noticed right on Main Street, with maybe 20 or 30 store fronts, a weight loss center promoting cosmetic improvements and cellulite reduction. They had pretty convincing before and after pictures with a claim saying “Lose weight without dieting!”
We are bombarded with these messages everywhere we turn. Weight loss is an industry and people selling their wares and looking to make a quick buck off people’s desire to once and for all lose that extra weight can muddy the waters and make it all that much more confusing.
Clients often come to me utterly confused about which diet to follow. If you read one good article or book about a certain diet or plan you are likely to find another article or book refuting just what the previous author said. In this age of information overload, advice on what to eat is everywhere, but is it good advice based on science or is it someone’s opinion or based on a desire to sell you something?
That’s where the motivation for my series on the best diets came from. The plans I chose over the past weeks are the ones I recommend as a nutrition expert and are based on real, research-based information. Nutrition recommendations can seem conflicting, but when you boil it down and ignore all the opinion based noise the message is clear. Figuring out what you should eat can seem confusing and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.
The plans that I reviewed were:
- Plant-based diet
- Mediterranean diet
- Anti-inflammatory diet
- Volumetrics diet
- DASH diet.
Each of these plans has many health benefits including lowering cholesterol, reducing risk of heart disease, lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of type 2 diabetes, lowering inflammation, helping you manage your weight, lowering overall cancer rates, and reducing your risk for getting Alzheimer's disease.
Hopefully you noticed quite a bit of similarity and overlap in their ultimate recommendations:
- More leafy green and non-starchy vegetables in a variety of colors
- More fruit
- More whole grains, fewer refined grains
- Fewer sugar sweetened drinks
- More real food, less processed food from a box or bag
- More nuts, beans and peas, and fish – like salmon and tuna
- Move more – both in everyday activities and exercise
When we finally get ready to make a change we tend to dive right in to “diet mode” making drastic, often times unsustainable, changes in our eating and exercise regimen. The tips at the end of each of the plan reviews are your guide for making small changes to incorporating whatever plan floats your boat and both improving your health and promoting weight loss.
If you are looking for a fail-proof way to get healthier and lose weight, these should be your go-to plans. Pick one or a couple that ring true to you and choose one small change to start to incorporate this week. When you have that one down move on to the next small change. It may seem insignificant but slow and steady really does win the race in regards to making changes in your eating and exercise habits.