Updated: Apr 15
When we consider the various diets or nutritional strategies, or the many other names for the same, we have to consider the body of evidence behind each. However, doing so is a task in itself. For every nutritional strategy—from ketogenic to veganism to paleo—there is an overwhelming amount of data, even for us. Among ourselves, we regularly consider the pros and cons of various nutrition plans (as well as exercise plans and other health and fitness topics—but that is another newsletter). We discuss the proposed pros and cons of each with an open mind. Among consideration are the supposed health benefits of each and the supposed health concerns of each. At the same time, we think about ease of use/implementation for the final user, such as you. No matter how many times we revisit paleo, veganism, Weight Watchers, Atkins, and other nutritional strategies, we come back to the same conclusion—they all work for the right person. Any change makes a difference Consider for a moment a person who eats crap all day. This person's diet consists of sodas, pizzas, and donuts. Assume for a moment that the individual has related health concerns such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and weight gain. Now consider that person picks any one of the previously mentioned diets and sticks to it for 12 months, with a compliance rate of 80-90 percent. Would you expect the individual in questions to see results? Of course. Regardless of the diet chosen it will be better than the diet the person was using. Over the course of 12 months with high compliance, the person should see results regardless of the option chosen, because he or she is making healthier choices. Some level of progress is all but inevitable. Now imagine that person sings the praises of said diet. This individual is now an example of success. However, if he or she chose the other diet, they would sing praises about it and be an example of success for that strategy. Our point is, many diets work (as do many exercise plans). We work with vegetarians, paleo dieters, and others. We do not try to tell someone not to follow these plans. Instead, we find ways to help them tweak the plans for better success. However, we stay inside the guidelines of the plan. For example, we would not tell a vegetarian to eat meat or tell a paleo dieter to eat grains. Instead, we find ways to make their selected nutritional strategy work better. The diet plan we follow Previously, we shared examples of what we eat and talked in detail about approaches we use for nutrition. However, we've never put a name to the diet we use. There isn't one, but if we had to put a name to it, we would call it the 'Moderate Diet.' For the record, there is no such thing as a moderate diet; we came up with that this newsletter. Our "Moderate Diet" is a nutritional strategy that focuses on lean meats, fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and some processed foods as well as junk foods. We refer to it as a moderate diet, because it focuses on health by allowing moderate intake of all macronutrients—proteins, carbs, and fats—from healthy sources most of the time—five days per week—and less healthy sources part of the time—two days per week. Of course, the "diet" is not so clear-cut, as we have some processed food such as veggie meat and grains during the week, which is considered no-nos by many popular diets and we still have sweets, fatty foods, and alcohol, which are also considered no-nos by popular diets. So, are we dying? Sure, every day we get closer to death because we are going to die someday, just like you. However, we do not have health ailments aside from nasal allergies, and we're fit. Nathan checks out his blood pressure, HDL/LDL, resting heart rate, and other health metrics throughout the year. Grace has an annual visit with her doctor. We check out okay. In the end, the Ketogenic Diet, veganism, paleo, and other nutritional strategies can work. Heck, a guy even proved you can regularly eat McDonald's and lose weight while improving health markers (if you have other healthy habits). We're not advocating eating McDonald's every day—it's kind of gross—and we're not supporting one nutritional strategy over the other. Instead, we're saying if you have a diet or nutritional strategy, or whatever you call it, that works for you in that you are moving toward or at an appropriate weight and you're moving toward or health, then keep doing it. Don't let someone else make you change just because they said you should. Do what works and if you decide to change for a good reason, such as researching and finding a new diet will work better for you, then make the change. The choice is yours, and you have to do what works for you. Determining the best diet for you The best diet for you is the one that works, but figuring out what works can be the problem. Doing so is going to take:
Trial and error
Research refers to looking into options and considering if you can implement them into your life. For example, veganism is a great choice for healthy eating, but if you enjoy meat and have a family that enjoys meat, then it may not work for you. An alternative might be a low-carb. The point here is to perform research into what you need to do to reach your goals. Trial and error means you will try things, find some that fit, and find some that don't. For example, you might try the Zone Diet, but find the macro percentages and recommended calorie intake do not work for you. So you might go to paleo instead or formulate an approach customized to you that does not follow any named dietary strategy. In order for any strategy to work, you must be consistent. If you're not, no nutritional approach will ever work. So get out there and find the strategy that works for you. If you want help, let us know.
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, and the International Sports Sciences Association. Nathan has 17 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.