Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Which Diet do I follow? Here's some options to help you select the right one for you

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is "What is the best diet to follow?" It's a difficult one and not one I can answer. Not because I am being unhelpful or I don't know anything about diets or nutrition, but there is no 'one shoe fits all' in the diet game. There are literally 100's of diets out there - not all are good, but then not all are bad either? The question is not "What is the best diet?" The question should be "What is the best diet for me?"

Before you choose any diet you must first make sure it is sustainable and fits in with your own lifestyle, your budget and the time you have available. There are some amazing and super healthy diets you can follow. You can cook all your food from scratch with tasty and unique ingredients, pure cold pressed oils, delicacies, spices, herbs and all arranged intricately and stylishly on beautiful dining plates. This sounds like the real deal......but who has the time and budget to actually do this when life gets in the way? This type of diet requires time, a lot of effort, a large budget and a family that will eat the meals you prepare without turning their nose up or just refusing to eat this culinary delight!! Research the diet you want to try and be realistic when assessing your available time and money. Choosing the wrong diet will cause stress and frustration which is extremely bad for your health and invariably will be unsuccessful.

When researching diets be careful of marketing headlines. A promise of losing weight quickly and easily with limited effort and substituting 'real foods' with supplements or powders are unhealthy and not lifestyle changing options. A quick fix leads to failure and weight gain. There is a simple equation to follow "what goes in through the mouth minus energy expenditure (energy used during the day for all activities) should be in deficit to lose weight". In other words "eat less, move more and burn more calories than you consume" Adding creams, potions, lotions and pills are just gimmicks.

A good diet plan should include:

  • Exercise - The Benefits of Resistance Exercise - to promote the real value of exercise alongside nutrition for weight loss, maintenance and lifestyle changes.
  • A variety of foods and portion control - Food, Portion Control and Optimal Health - to promote all food groups and the different variety of food available.
  • Allow for snacks and some of your favourite foods and beverages (even in small amounts) to support portion control whilst still being able to enjoy the foods you love.
  • Include a maintenance plan - Weight Loss and Maintenance - to promote lifestyle changes and encourage sustainability
  • Recommended amounts of water for hydration must be included - The Importance of Water

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been labelled as the most healthiest diet for everyone. This diet incorporates healthy living and eating habits followed by countries that border the Mediterranean sea, such as Italy, France, Greece and Cyprus. The diet includes all the different types of food groups and is based on clean eating, avoiding packaged and high sugar foods. There are no 'low fat' foods included and sugar coated treats are avoided. Generally the diet has a high intake of vegetables, legumes, wholegrain foods, fish, cold pressed oils, fruit, cereals and nuts. The cooking techniques are healthy too....slow cooked, grilled or raw. Red wine, tea, coffee and water are included within this healthy dietClick here for more info on the Mediterranean diet including a weekly menu

Low Carb Diets

Low carbohydrate diets are great for those who want to lose weight. Low carb/high fat diets reduce appetite hence a greater weight loss, especially in the first few weeks. Low carb diets are very effective at reducing harmful abdominal fat (known as visceral fat) lowering the risk of diseases such as type II diabetes and heart disease. Diets low in carbohydrates tend to have a high fat intake, which leads to an impressive increase in blood levels of "good" HDL cholesterol. HDL (High-density lipo-protein) known as good cholesterol reduces the risk of heart disease. Low Carb Diet for Beginners

Portion Control Diet

The portion control diet brings us back to 'accurate' portion sizes. Obesity is a growing concern within all age groups. Addressing the obesity rate is a big concern and challenge for the UK Government and Health Care System to face. Approximately 63% of adults are above a healthy weight and of these, half are living with obesity. The problem is now becoming an issue among young adults and children.

The nation's perception of a "portion size" has been restructured in our 'minds eye' by the use of terms such as "serving size" or by the portion size of a "take away" or the amount of food served at a restaurant. The portion control diet re-educates us on the meaning of a "portion size" and the relevance this has to a healthy weight loss and maintenance diet. This is not a calorie counting diet but a lifestyle change where no food is forbidden. I have written an e-book and dedicated a whole chapter to portion control, menu planners, references and links to help you understand portion sizes and how to easily implement this way of eating into you daily life. This e-book is a free gift for you to download if you subscribe to my website. The subscription is also a free service for information on all things healthy. Free Ebook and Subscription to my Website

The Nutritarian Diet

The Nutritarian diet is based on nutrient dense foods by promoting whole foods and limiting snacking and processed foods. Although there is no calorie counting you are using a percentage to guide you through your intake of nutrient dense foods per day:
  • Vegetables 30-60% - This does not include potatoes or starchy vegetables and half of your intake should be of raw vegetables
  • Fruits 10-40% - 3-5 servings of fresh fruit
  • Beans and Legumes 10-40% - approximately 85g per day
  • Nuts, seeds and avocados 10-40% - at least 28g per day (no more if you are on a weight loss programme)
  • Whole Grains and Potatoes (20% max) - 150 - 325g per day (1 cup per day if you are on a weight loss diet)
  • Non-factory farmed animal products (less than 10%) - to include meat, dairy, eggs, fish and seafood. This equates to less than 225g per week
  • Minimally processed foods (less than 10%) - tofu, tempeh and coarsely ground or sprouted whole-grain breads and cereals
  • Sweets, processed foods and factory farmed meat and dairy (minimal) - eat these foods rarely or not at all
Not only is this diet naturally rich in fibre and nutritionally healthy, but due to the restrictions on how many calorie rich foods you can consume, means it also promotes weight loss. This diet also promises to slow down the ageing process, prevent and reverse various chronic diseases and help you to live a longer life. Information and Menu Plans for the Nutritarian Diet

High Fibre Diet

A diet high in fibre can help with weight loss and improve our gut health. Roughage or fibre is part of plant based food that cannot be broken down. Examples of fibrous foods are nuts, fruit, vegetable, beans and grains. Fibre passes through the body undigested which keeps your digestive system healthy and eases bowel movements. Fibre also flushes cholesterol and harmful carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue) out of our body. 

Fibre rich foods within a balanced and healthy diet can improve weight maintenance and improve good gut health. Fibre provides a good food source for "friendly" gut bacteria helping to improve our overall general health. A healthy gut is very important to maintain or improve our health. Anything that can feed our good gut bacteria will keep us free from illness. When our gut is happy then we are happy too.

In 2015 the Government guidelines for the consumption of fibre equates to 30g per day per adult. On average we consume approximately 18g per day which is a lot less than we should be aiming for. 

How Does Fibre Help With Weight Loss

Increasing your fibre intake will increase your chances of losing those pounds even if you do not make any other changes in your current eating habits. Fibre food is more filling, digests a lot slower than non fibrous carbohydrates (such as white rice, breads and refined sugary foods), plus fibre has so many other health benefits. 

Fibre Rich Food

  • Pears - Tasty and nutritious. A great source of fibre at 5.5g per medium size (3.1g fibre per 100g)
  • Strawberries - Low calorie, nutrient dense, full of vitamin C, manganese at 2g fibre per 100g
  • Avocados - Loaded with good fats, vitamin B,C, E, magnesium at 6.7g fibre per 100g
  • Apples - Tasty and filling at 2.4g fibre per 100g
  • Raspberries - Full of vitamin C and manganese at 6.5g fibre per 100g
  • Carrots - High in Vitamin B6, K, magnesium and beta-carotene at 2.6g fibre per 100g
  • Broccoli - High in vitamin B.C.K. folate, potassium, manganese, iron at 2.6g fibre per 100g
  • Sprouts - High in vitamin K, potassium, folate at 2.6g fibre per 100g
  • Almonds - 13g fibre per 100g
  • Pine Nuts - 11g fibre per 100g
  • Pistachios - 11g fibre per 100g
  • Hazelnuts - 10g fibre per 100g
  • Pecans -  10g fibre per 100g
  • Macadamia - 9g fibre per 100g
  • Peanuts - 8g fibre per 100g
  • Brazil Nuts - High in selenium at 8g fibre per 100g
  • Lentils - high in protein at 7.9g fibre per 100g
  • Kidney Beans - High in protein at 6.4g fibre per 100g
  • Chickpeas - High in protein at 7.6g fibre per 100g
  • Chia Seeds - Full of omega fats at 34g fibre per 100g
  • Flax Seeds- Full of omega fats at 27g fibre per 100g
  • Sunflower Seeds - Full of Vitamin E at 9g per 100g
Non-digestible carbohydrates are collectively know as "fibre". Consuming adequate amounts of fibre (aim for 30g of fibre per day), is extremely important for optimal health. Fibre improves the efficiency of the good bacteria in our gut. Some types of fibre can assist in weight loss by increasing our feeling of fullness and satiety, leading to a reduction in calorie intake. To optimise healthy living always add fibre to your diet. Choosing a variety of fibre from fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and pulses. High Fibre Meal Plan


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