The Ultimate Diet
Diet, BodyFat Loss, Weight Gain, Review, Food
With so much information on Diets and Healthy eating, which one is the best? Is there a best diet? Which one will get me to my goal? We will explore different diets and then what will work for you?
Successful Diet or Not?
Before exploring different diets, we need to define what success is. For this article, we will define a successful diet as:
An eating plan that achieved the desired goal and sustained the goal for a period longer than 6 months
We are looking for the diet that meant you lost the weight, increased muscle mass, or whatever your specific goal is and meant you maintained that goal for longer than 6 months on the same eating plan. Already we can see a successful diet is one that will be sustainable and cost effective.
There are many diets out there, ranging from simple and easy to completely ridiculous. This is a brief overview of a few of the major popular diets out there now.
Low Fat Diets
As the title suggests this keeps your fat intake to lower than 35% of total energy intake. Fats are the most energy dense nutrient (9kcal/g; carbohydrates 3.75kcal/g; Protein 4kcal/g). Therefore, restricting intake of fats reduces total energy intake. These diets show a consistent modest reduction in excess body fat.
Low Carbohydrate Diets
Consuming less than 200g of Carbohydrates per day is considered low carb. This again has found to be effective is losing body fat over control diets.
In effect a very low carb diet looking to consume less than 50g or 10% in carbohydrates. The proposed result is a rise in the ketones of the body getting into a state of ketosis. However, when energy and protein intake are equal there is no difference found in body fat loss between keto and low carb diets. Keto reduces performance in high intensity activity, assumed due to the lack of carbohydrates as a quick source of energy.
High Protein Diets
Consuming upwards of 1.2g per kg of body weight
is considered high protein. These diets have found
to either sustain or increase lean mass (assumption
of mainly muscle) whilst also allowing body fat to
This can be fasting on alternating days with a
‘normal’ eating plan day, having a few days fasting,
or time restricted (8-16hours). These can have the
same results as calorie restricting diets, whilst helping with feeling full due to some of the hormonal adaptation.
Characterised by restricting energy under 1200 kilocalories per day and even to the extreme of 400 kcal per day. These are aimed to induce rapid weight loss. Generally used in with supervision of a dietitian and doctor with obese patients. Even those the aim is to lose excess bod fat; a quarter of the loss can be through muscle wastage. The great the restriction does not necessarily result in better success.
What do they all have in common?
Each of the diets above work. As you can tell though not one is great than the other. Breaking each diet to its simplest format they all have two things in common.
1. Calorie restriction.
•Low fat diet, reduce the amount of high density calorific food.
•Low carbohydrate, reduce the amount of calorie rich foods.
•Ketogenic, reduce the amount of calorie rich foods.
•High Protein, increase the amount of protein which would replace other food groups.
•Intermittent fasting, reduce the amount of calorie by not eating for certain periods.
2. Increased/Sustained Protein
Only one diet specifically addresses protein. All others sustain or protein will naturally increase due to restrictions of other nutrients.
The Ultimate Diet
As can be seen, currently there is no specific ultimate diet. They all work and have positives and negatives. The ultimate diet is one that is sustainable and fits into your behaviours and lifestyle. There are a few key things to think about:
Energy Balance: If you want to lose excess body fat, consume less energy that you use. More success (losing and then keeping weight off) has been found with smaller deficits. I.e. the larger the deficit does not equate to keeping the weight off in the long term.
Protein: Don’t be shy with this nutrient group, its helps with feeling full. Therefore, it will help with restricting the amount of calories.
Suitability: Do your eating habits fit in with your current life. Example a ketogenic diet does not suit athletes, and will a shift in diet be welcomed by the family.
Eric Helms drew up the pyramid above. There is so much information out not on diets that is can be really confusing. This really pulls in the two main points above. Start with making sure your energy balance is on point (consumed vs. expenditure) then move onto the finer details. And, not highlighted enough in my opinion, does it suit your behaviour and lifestyle or do you have to change/pick a different eating plan.
For more information and programs to do on training for your goal, including nutritional advice, contact FAST at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/message 07737120005
An excellent place to review diets and find out the real information is:
Aragon, A.A., Schoenfeld, B.J., Wildman, R., Kleiner, S., VanDusseldorp, T., Taylor, L., Earnest, C.P., Arciero, P.J., Wilborn, C., Kalman, D.S., Stout, J.R., Willoughby, D.S., Campbell, B., Arent, S.M., Bannock, L., Smith-Ryan, A.E., and Antonio, J. 2017. International society of sports nutrition position stand: diets and body composition. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 14:16 DOI 10.1186/s129070-017-0174-y
Eric Helms. Muscle and Strength Pyramid. Accessed from: https://muscleandstrengthpyramids.com
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