How to Find the Right Diet For You
Learn healthy eating tips, different diets, and eating plans, to help you live a healthy happy life.
When you hear the word diet, you probably think about weight loss. For chubby runners, this is typically the case. But, did you know there are many diet plans out there that are designed for things other than weight loss? Sounds crazy, but it’s true. There are plans to address different health goals like reducing inflammation, cleansing your digestive system, lowering cholesterol, supporting heart health, and so on. Eating the right foods can make a real impact on your overall health.
To help overcome confusion, we’ve broken down some of the most popular diets so you can be sure you have all the information you need.
What is Keto all about?
The ketogenic or keto diet is super trendy right now. Any diet that gives you the thumbs up on bacon and cream cheese is worth checking out. And, it’s high-fat, low-carb, and claims to be a quick way to lose body fat while still enjoying the stuff you love. It has some similarities with other low-carb diets, like The South Beach or Atkins.
Keto and ketosis
The key to success is getting your body into ketosis, which tells your body to burn fat for energy over sugar. Most chubby runners know the joy of carbs, so pushing your body to use a new fuel source may take time.
Highlights of Keto
The ketogenic diet prescribes the following macronutrient breakdown:
- 75% Fat, which includes things like extra virgin olive oil, avacados, omega-3 whole eggs and coconut oil
- 20% Protein, from grass-fed red meat, cage-free organic chicken, salmon, cheeses, and nuts
- 5% Carbohydrate, including leafy greens, tomatoes, and peppers
Doing so trains your body to burn fat more effectively and helps with weight loss, overall health, and performance.
For more information on the keto diet read The Complete Keto Diet Guide.
Learn more about vegans.
The vegan diet is a way of living that attempts to exclude all animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy as a stand against exploitation and cruelty. This applies to food, clothing, or any other purpose.
People who choose to be vegan do so for things that range from ethics to environmental concerns to improved health.
Vegan eating has become very popular as more and more people have decided to go vegan for ethical, environmental, or health reasons.
There are numerous health benefits to vegan eating, including weight loss and improved blood sugar control, but there is an increased risk of nutrient deficiencies.
Benefits of a vegan lifestyle
There are some documented health benefits of vegan eating. They range from heart health to lowering insulin levels to weight loss.
Veganism linked to lower blood sugar levels
Several studies found that vegans benefit from the following:
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Higher insulin sensitivity
- Up to a 78% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than non-vegans
This could be explained by the higher fiber consumption, which may slow the blood sugar response.
Vegan diet and heart health
Vegan eating may help keep your heart healthy. Some studies report vegans may have up to a 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure and a 42% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Final thoughts on a vegan diet
Individuals may choose veganism for ethical, environmental, or health reasons. When done right, it can be easy to follow and may provide various health benefits.
As with any eating method, these benefits only appear if you are consistent and build your diet around nutrient-rich plant foods rather than heavily processed ones. Vegans, especially those who are unable to meet their daily nutrient requirements through eating alone, should consider supplements.
For more information on the Vegan diet read The Vegan Diet: A Definitive Guide for Beginners.
Mediterranean Diet Basics
While there is not a right way to do the Mediterranean, there are guidelines. It’s broken down into how often you eat certain things.
Eat plentifully, vegetables, fruits, nuts/seeds, legumes, potatoes, whole grains, bread, herbs, spices, fish, seafood, and extra virgin olive oil.
Eat sparingly, poultry, eggs, cheese, and yogurt. Red meat is to be eaten rarely. And added sugars, processed meat, refined flours and grains, processed oils, and other highly processed foods should be avoided altogether.
What you can eat eat on Mediterranean Diet
It is high in healthy plant foods and low in animal foods. Eating fish and seafood is recommended at least twice a week.
The Mediterranean lifestyle also involves regular physical activity, sharing meals with other people, and enjoying life. Whole, single-ingredient foods are the key to good health.
Here’s a list of Mediterranean foods you can eat:
- Vegetables. Tomatoes, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers
- Fruits. Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, berries, grapes, dates, figs, melons, peaches
- Nuts and seeds. Almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
- Legumes. Beans, peas, lentils, pulses, peanuts, chickpeas
- Tubers. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, yams
- Whole grains. Whole oats, brown rice, rye, barley, corn, buckwheat, whole wheat, whole-grain bread and pasta.
- Fish and seafood. Salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, mackerel, shrimp, oysters, clams, crab
- Poultry. Chicken, duck, turkey
- Eggs. Chicken, quail and duck eggs.
- Dairy. Cheese, yogurt, Greek yogurt
- Herbs and spices. Garlic, basil, mint, rosemary, sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, pepper, etc.
- Healthy Fats. Extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocados and avocado oil.
For more information, check out the Mediterranean Diet Beginner’s Guide.
The South Beach Diet
The South Beach Diet was created by Dr. Arthur Agatston, a cardiologist in the mid-1990s. Through his research in heart disease, he developed the Agatston score, which measures calcium levels in coronary arteries.
Dr. Agatston’s research included patients on the Atkins Diet that were losing belly fat vs patients on lower-fat, higher-carb diets who were not achieving the same results. He was concerned about the Atkins Diet’s high amounts of saturated fat and the restriction of high fiber foods, like whole grains and fruit. As a result, Dr. Agatston created a diet for chubby, overweight, and diabetics to lose weight easily without the increased risk of heart disease.
Summary of the South Beach Diet
South Beach is rich in low-glycemic-index (GI) carbs, lean proteins, and unsaturated fats developed by cardiologist Dr. Arthur Agatston. It’s broken into various phases or transitions with a prescribed list of foods and recipes.
How much weight can I lose on South Beach?
According to the Mayo Clinic,
“The South Beach Diet says that you’ll lose 8 – 13 pounds in the two-week period that you’re in phase 1. It also says that most of the weight will be shed from your midsection.
In phase 2, it says that you’ll likely lose 1 – 2 pounds a week.
Most people can lose weight on almost any diet, especially in the short term. Most important to weight loss is how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn off. A weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds a week is the typical recommendation. Although it may seem slow, it’s a pace that’s more likely to help you maintain your weight loss permanently.
Losing a large amount of weight rapidly could indicate that you’re losing water weight or lean tissue, rather than fat. In some situations, however, faster weight loss can be safe if it’s done in a healthy way.”
How does it work?
The South Beach Diet is broken into three different phases, Phase 1 and 2 for weight loss and the third phase for weight maintenance.
3 meals per day consisting of lean protein,
non-starchy vegetables, small amounts of healthy fat, and legumes.
3 meals per day with lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, small amounts of healthy fat, and legumes.
Add fruit and whole grains.
3 meals per day with lean protein, vegetables, healthy fats, legumes, fruit, and whole grains.
Occasional treats are ok.
Check out the info on the South Beach Diet, The South Beach Diet – A Complete How-to-Guide
Mayo Clinic Diet
The Mayo Clinic Diet is a lifestyle approach to weight loss that can help you maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.
What is the Mayo Clinic Diet?
The Mayo Clinic Diet is a long-term weight management plan developed by weight-loss experts at The Mayo Clinic. It was designed to help reshape your lifestyle by breaking old unhealthy habits and adopting healthy ones. The goal of the Mayo Clinic Diet is to make simple changes so that you can get to a healthy weight and maintain it for the rest of your life.
Summary of the Mayo Clinic Diet
The purpose of the Mayo Clinic Diet is to help you lose excess weight and to find a way of eating that’s sustainable for the rest of your life. It focuses on changing your daily routine by adding and breaking habits that can make a difference in your weight, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, not eating while you watch TV, and moving your body for 30 minutes a day.
The Mayo Clinic Diet also stresses key components of behavior change, such as finding your inner motivation to lose weight, setting achievable goals, and handling setbacks.
Who should do the Mayo Clinic Diet?
You’d choose the Mayo Clinic Diet if you:
- Need an eating plan developed by doctors
- Want to learn how to cut unhealthy lifestyle habits and gain healthy ones
- Want to improve your health and reduce your health risks by becoming more active and eating the recommended foods
- Don’t want to be precise about counting calories or grams of fat or eliminate entire groups of foods
- Want something you can do for the rest of your life and not just a quick fix
Talk to your doctor before starting any weight lossprogram, especially if you have health issues.
Read more info here, The Mayo Clinic Diet – A Weight Loss Plan For Life
Eating like cavemen.
The paleo diet is designed to resemble what caveman hunter-gatherer ancestors ate thousands of years ago. While we don’t know definitively what these ancestors’ diets consisted of, many archeologists believe their diets consisted of whole foods.
Summary of Paleo
The Paleo Diet may be considered a modern fad, consisting of foods thought by its proponents to mirror those eaten during the Paleolithic Era. By following this whole-food-based eating plan, coupled with physically active lives, hunter-gatherers had much lower rates of lifestyle diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
How much weight can you lose on Paleo in a month?
Most people see a very rapid loss of 5-10 pounds in the first week, which very is encouraging. But don’t expect it to continue on that trajectory. This weight loss is mostly water weight.
Why do you lose so much water weight on the Paleo Diet?
Every gram of glucose (carbohydrate) in your body holds on to 3-4 grams of water. When you lower carbohydrate intake, you’re losing a whole lot of water weight along with the carbs. This is the physiological effect of lowering carb consumption.
Basics of Paleo
There’s not really a correct way to eat for the way paleolithic humans did because they thrived on a variety of diets depending on what was available at the time and where they lived.
While some cavemen ate a low-carb diet high in animal foods, others probably followed a high-carb diet consuming plants, vegetables, and berries.
What can you eat on the Paleo Diet?
With the Paleo Diet, there are only guidelines. Nothing is written in stone. You can alter and change to your own personal needs and preferences. The bottom line is whole, unprocessed foods.
Here’s the guideline of what you can eat based on the Paleo ideology:
- Meat. This includes beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, pork and others.
- Seafood and fish. Salmon, trout, haddock, shrimp, shellfish, and others. Look for wild-caught fish.
- Eggs. Look for free-range, pastured or omega-3 enriched eggs.
- Vegetables, including broccoli, kale, peppers, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and other whole food vegetables.
- Fruits. Apples, bananas, oranges, pears, avocados, strawberries, and blueberries.
- Roots. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, and turnips.
- Nuts and seeds. Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.
- Healthy fats and oils. Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), coconut oil, avocado oil and other whole food, non-processed oils.
- Salt and spices. Himalayan sea salt, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, etc.
Try to eat grass-fed, pasture-raised, and organic if you can. Sometimes that can break the budget. If you can’t afford to go organic all the time, just make sure to always go for the least-processed versions of these foods.
What can’t you eat on the Paleo Diet?
The big picture for what you can’t eat boils down to heavily processed, manufactured, non-whole foods.
The simple rule of thumb for Paleo, if it looks like it was made in a factory, it’s a no.
Here’s a breakdown of what you shouldn’t eat based on the Paleo ideology:
- Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup. This includes most full sugar sodas, fruit juices, white sugar, candy, pastries, ice cream and anything else with processed sugars.
- Grains. This includes things like breads, pasta, wheat, rye, and barley.
- Legumes. No beans or lentils.
- Dairy. This means you must cut out most dairy, especially low-fat.
- Certain vegetable oils include soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, and safflower oil.
- Trans fats that are typically found in margarine and many processed foods. Look for ingredients that include “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” oils.
- Artificial sweeteners. Things like aspartame, sucralose, cyclamates, saccharin, acesulfame potassium.
- Heavily processed foods. Usually, anything labeled “diet” or “low-fat” or that has many preservatives or additives. This also includes meal replacement bars and shakes.
If you want to avoid these ingredients, you must read ingredients lists, even on foods that are labeled as “health foods.”
Read more about the Paleo Diet here, Paleo Diet – The Definitive Beginner’s Guide
Eating like more strict cavemen.
The Primal diet is a lifestyle based on eating the foods that primitive or primal humans would have eaten. It’s a mindset that focuses on the fact that people eat raw, minimally processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, certain oils, and dairy products.
Primal Diet summary
What is this diet all about?
Are grains ok on the Primal Diet?
Grains, like wheat and corn, were introduced in later agricultural development. Since Primal humans did not have access to these foods, the diet rejects their consumption.
Can you eat processed foods?
Many processed foods, like hot dogs, baked goods, chips, crackers, and others, should be avoided. Why? Because they didn’t exist in Primal cultures.
Where did this diet come from?
Mark Sisson developed the Primal Diet plan after many years of being a competitive athlete. He was looking for a way to stay healthy and in shape once he was no longer able to commit to long hours of training in the gym.
The focus of the Primal Diet is on raw vegetables and fruits, as well as fats and proteins from meats and dairy. Sisson believes that these foods provide all the nutrients a person needs to live a healthy life and is much closer to how early humans would have survived.
Read about the Primal Diet here, Primal Diet – A Complete Guide
Dukan Diet is a low-carb, high-protein weight loss plan created in the 1970s by Dr. Pierre Dukan. It was designed to help obese patients lose weight
The Dukan Diet is based on the premise that you don’t lose weight by starving yourself.
Dr. Dukan provides specific lists of foods that are allowed in different phases with a focus on boosting satiety with lean proteins and fat-free dairy.
The Dukan Diet plan includes four phases:
The first two phases, Attack, and Cruise focus on weight loss, and the other two, Consolidation and Stabilization focus on maintaining weight.
How much weight can you lose on the Dukan Diet?
According to experts, you can lose up to 4 to 6 pounds in the first week during the Attack Phase, and 2 pounds a week during the Cruise Phase. During the Consolidation and Stabilization phases, you will focus on weight management.
Criticism of the Diet
The Dukan Diet has been widely criticized as a fad diet, with many health professionals saying it increases the risk of chronic kidney disease and may worsen cardiovascular health. Dr. Dukan actually stopped practicing medicine in 2014, following formal complaints that were filed against him by the French National Order of Doctors.
What you can eat on the Dukan Diet
The Dukan Diet gives you a list of 68 protein-rich, low-fat foods in the first phase as well as 32 non-starchy vegetables that can be added during the second phase of the plan.
It’s kind of a variation on the Paleo Diet. It’s similar in a lot of ways. Cooked meats are ok, but all other foods should be as close to natural as possible. For example, milk should be consumed in its raw, unpasteurized state.
Get all the information about the Dukan Diet here, The Dukan Diet – A Complete Guide
Intermittent Fasting Diet
Fasting was practiced by our caveman ancestors you didn’t have vast amounts of food available. If they couldn’t hunt or gather enough food, they didn’t eat.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is more a pattern of eating that cycles between fasting and eating. It’s not a diet, per se. With intermittent fasting, there isn’t a do’s and don’ts list o foods to eat or not eat. The goal is more about when you eat vs. what you eat.
Is there a popular intermittent fasting plan?
There are a variety of ways to do intermittent fasting, but the most popular fasting method is a 16-hour fast with an 8 hour eating window, over a 24-hour period.
IF diet benefits
Many fasting studies have found powerful benefits in terms of weight loss as well as health of the brain and body. Fasting may even help you live longer. Here are some health benefits of intermittent fasting.
Weight loss is a major benefit of the intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting can help to boost your norepinephrine levels, which can increase your metabolic rate. It can also helpyou lose belly fat, without cutting calories.
What about insulin resistance and fasting?
Intermittent fasting has been shown to lower insulin resistance, and drop blood sugar by up 6%. In a fasted state insulin levels have been found to drop by 20–31%. This is instrumental in lowering the probability of getting type 2 diabetes.
Potential downside of intermittent fasting
One of the biggest potential side effects with intermittent fasting is tummy grumblings, or hunger. Some people may feel fatigue or physical weakness. Others may feel brain fog, that cognitive ability is hindered. These are typically only short-term consequences as you adapt to a new way of life.
Learn more about intermittent fasting here, Intermittent Fasting Diet – Complete Guide for Beginner’s
How is vegetarianism different from a vegan diet?
Can non-Asians do the Asian diet?
Is Atkins still around?