I wanted to do a quick write up on a few of the popular diets out there right now as I get asked about them often. I’ll provide a brief overview of each, some pro’s & con’s and then give my personal opinion at the end.
The Ketogenic Diet
The idea is to eat less than 50g of carbs per day and eat most of your calories from fat & protein. You drastically cut back on things like soda, candy, chips, and most carbs in general. Eating less than 50 g of carbs a day (especially lower than 35g) makes your body burn fat for fuel instead of carbs since there’s few carbs present. This process is called ketosis.
Pro’s: Awesome for initial weight loss. If you adhere to it you will absolutely lose weight. More research is still needed but it appears that it could be good for a bunch of different health related issues including heart disease and certain cancers. It was actually developed as a diet to help with epilepsy.
Con’s: 30 – 50 grams of carbs/day is not much. 1 piece of bread has 20g. 1 medium banana has 30g. I think eating like this for the long run for people that have struggled with losing weight most of their life is a gigantic change and a small percentage of people will be able to stick with it longer than 6 months. Can also be taxing on the liver due to blood ketones.
The Paleo Diet (aka the caveman diet)
The idea is to eat what cavemen supposedly ate. It’s based on avoiding modern processed foods but also foods that people started eatig after the Neolithic revolution. Large amounts of meat, veggies, and fruits are usually consumed.
Pro’s: I’m always an advocate for cutting out processed foods. Eating higher protein and less processed carbs is always a good thing from a fat loss perspective.
Con’s: This is really a lifestyle. Granted there’s now a bunch of different Paleo variations, the core belief is to not eat anything out of a package or box. Realistic in 2018? Maybe. But, necessary to be lean and healthy? Absolutely not.
IFFYM (If it fits your macro’s)
The idea is that if you eat the proper amount of calories and macronutrients; carbs, protein, and fat for your desired goal, that you can accomplish your body composition goals regardless of what you eat. I don’t believe most IFFYM proponents encourage unhealthy eating but there’s no food off limits if it fits your macro numbers. Generally there’s a certain amount of carbs, protein, and fat you should eat each day to attain a certain body composition goal.
Pro’s: It provides a ton of flexibility with food choices. Healthy choices are still encouraged but nothing is off limits.
Con’s: Hitting macro numbers requires weighing and measuring food. It’s calculated and can be tedious. Food prepping is key.
Out of the 3, I personally believe IFFYM is the most sure-fire way to get results. If someone wanted to get fantastic results I’d put them on a modified IFFYM plan where there’s flexibility in what they eat but not to the same extent.
I’d encourage weighing and measuring but not necessarily food prepping. I don’t believe in a one size fits all approach but if we are talking about getting nearly guaranteed results journaling what you eat and how much is the surest scientific way to get there, regardless of age, hormones, or metabolic history.
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