Which Diet is Right for You?

Which diet is best is a question I get a lot.

Let me start off by saying that I don’t believe there’s a single, without-a-doubt best diet for every person to follow, always, and forever.

Here’s why: Try to imagine the diversity between people. We all have different body types, dietary preferences, budgets, accessibility to foods, time allotted to health and fitness, and so much more!

Just because a certain diet worked for you, at one point in your life, under a particular set of circumstances, doesn’t mean it will work at a different point in your life. Along the same lines, just because it worked for you, doesn’t mean it will work for someone else.

Physiologically, the human body can do well under a variety of different nutritional conditions. This is demonstrated by examining the traditional diets of various tribes and ethnic groups throughout the world. For example, the Arctic Inuit eat traditional diets that are very high in fat and animal products with very few vegetables. Whereas, the Kitavans in the South Pacific eat traditional diets that are low in fat but very high in vegetables and starchy carbs. You can see that there are crazy differences here, yet all traditional diet eaters are relatively healthy people with minimal incidences of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, inflammatory obesity, etc.

You’re probably wondering: How can such different diets all lead to positive results? The answer: They’re not as different as you might think.

In fact, most effective diets are more similar than different.

When done properly, Paleo diets, plant-based diets, high carb diets, low carb diets, eating small meals frequently, eating larger meals infrequently, etc. all accomplish 5 things in common:

  1. They raise nutrition awareness and attention. Research is now showing that simply paying better attention to what you eat is a key factor in obtaining your desired results.

  2. They focus on food quality. Very few diets recommend you eat more processed, chemical-laden “junk” food. Instead, pretty much every diet recommends eating whole, minimally processed, nutrient-rich foods.

  3. They help eliminate nutrient deficiencies. Diets shift away from highly processed foods, which are often low in nutrients because they’ve been stripped out during processing, and toward more whole, minimally processed foods, which often have their nutrients intact.

  4. They help control appetite and food intake. When we’re more aware of what we’re eating, choose more satisfying, higher quality foods, and eliminate nutrient deficiencies, we almost always end up eating less total food. We feel more satisfied.

  5. They promote regular exercise. When people start paying attention to their eating, they usually start thinking about physical activity too. In fact, many diets recommend regular exercise.

You can now understand how different well-designed diets – even when they seem oppositional – can all promote good health.

Which is why choosing a single diet makes no sense. So, the best diet to follow actually is the one that’s best for you. Do your research, pick one that you think will accommodate you and your lifestyle the best.

Keep in mind, long-term nutrition habits ALWAYS trump diet plans and “rules”. For example, diets that teach you sustainable lifestyle changes are more successful than those that have you calorie counting.

Now I have two questions for you to really think about in order to help figure out which diet is right for you:

  1. What diet (if any) are you currently on? Is it working? Why/ why not?

  2. Which diets worked for you in the past? Which didn’t? Why?

Please feel free to share your experiences as you never know what will be of interest to someone else. Perhaps your advice can help someone else figure out an appropriate path for them.

Marissa Haupt