With so many diets out there, which one should you follow? From the popular cave man diet (The Paleo diet), to intermittent fasting to extreme low carb diets, there’s a lots out there to choose from. The reality is there is nothing special about any of them.
They actually have a lot in common. For example if you compare the Paleo Diet and the Atkins Diet, the types of food that you are eating are similar. That means little bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. They both promote high protein foods such as a chicken and steak and a moderate to high fat content. This all means that they do the one most important thing that most diets do, encourage you to eat more whole foods, stay away from processed food to put you in a calorie deficit.
There is no getting away from the science. Eat fewer calories than you expend and you will lose weight. The literature actually shows that those who eat a higher carbohydrate diets tend to lose more body fat compared to those on lower carbohydrate, Ketogenic diets. That’s not to mention the performance benefits one gets from eating enough carbohydrates to fuel performance and we know performance in the gym is very important to reaching fitness goals whether its gaining strength or losing body fat.
Here’s what we do know: If you are training for strength and/or fat loss, what is important to take note of is protein and fat intake. You should aim eat a minimum of 1g per lb of lean bodyweight of protein per day to make sure you are retaining and building as much muscle as possible. Aim for at least 0.5g of fat per lb of lean bodyweight per day for optimal hormone function. The average Female’s protein range would be between 70g-100g and an average fat intake of 45-55g per day. The average male would require between 100-140g of protein and 50g-60g of fat per day. The average diet will likely cover these needs, but to give you an idea of what this looks like on a plate, 100g of protein is around 3 medium sized chicken breast or 3 tins of Tuna and 50g of fat is just 2 handfuls of nuts or 2 large Avocados.
Ultimately, the best diet out there is the one you adhere to most. If you find that having a regimented eating window of 8 hours in a day helps you stay on track and binge less then try intermittent fasting. If you find that high carbohydrate foods such as potatoes meaning you eat more fibre resulting in better appetite control then stick to that.
Following an 80/20 rule (80% healthy foods and 20% treats) is a solid way to make sure that you don’t go insane because you haven’t eaten ice cream or chocolate for over a month. As you can see there really isn’t a need to follow any particular diet. Eat healthy foods most of the time and now an again fit in some foods you most enjoy eating, keeping a healthy relationship with food, making sure you don’t take any extreme ends of scale. Try your best to hit your protein and fat goals for the day and fill the rest of your calories for day with whatever macro nutrients suits you.