Atkins, zone, keto, gluten free, grain free, low-carb, low-fat, and the list goes on.. With all the diet fads around and about today people often ask me what I think the “best diet” is. I’m going to start out by saying that I think people often over complicate the process and tend to over think things, which causes them to become overwhelmed and ultimately leads to failure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that some people wouldn’t benefit from a keto diet, or a gluten-free diet, as obviously some do. However, for those that have no rhyme or reason to their daily eating habits, I recommend starting basic; I think 9 out of 10 people will get amazing results ( and the research agrees ).
As a society, we need to get back to our roots, America is the 2nd fattest country in the world (no longer #1), and an astounding number of Americans are classified as obese ( classified by a BMI of 30 and above).This of course has led to the diabetes epidemic we are currently experiencing. The problem is that many of us are far too busy for our own health so we settle for subpar food choices and fast, easy meals or something we can “grab and go.” These are often loaded with extra calories and so processed that most of the nutritional value is stripped away. The key to solving this solution is prepartion, but that’s a topic all in itself.
My recommendation: A whole food diet; one consisting of REAL food ( nothing instant, and no “meals in a box”). I recommend a variety of greens, moderate consumption of fruit (at appropriate times of the day), plenty of lean protein ( limiting red meat to once a week or less), moderate consumption of grains ( I recommend avoiding bread all together, however.) replacing butter and saturated fats with healthy fats such as mixed nuts and olive oil. For those of you with some knowledge of nutrition this is very similar to a Mediterranean diet. I recommend this for good reason. The diet is relatively easy to follow, has excellent variation, and is well researched. Those that followed a Mediterranean style diet were recently shown to have a 30% reduction in cardiovascular disease, along with a myriad of other benefits ( see article link below).
Of course, too much of anything is a bad thing. So you should always be sure you are calculating your TEE, and TDEE to assure you are eating the appropriate amount of calories. At the end of the day, no matter what you eat if you wanna change your body composition and therefore overall health in a positive way, you need to burn more calories than you are taking in. I recommend calculating protein and fat needs first, then filling in the left over calories with healthy grains (carbs). Some may disagree with me here, but I recommend a heavy dose of protein, .8g to 1g per pound of body weight per day. The research is slim on protein needs, the current RDA recommendation is .8g/kg body weight (for sedentary individuals); none of you should be sedentary! For healthy, active adults, the results of the research have been inconclusive. Some claim no benefit from intakes above .8 g per lb of bodyweight, while other studies show that in athletes and active adults a value closer to 1 g per pound may have positive effects. Either way, protein does increase ones metabolic rate, has a favorable effect on blood sugar levels, and requires the most energy to digest of any of the macros.
Here are some of my recommendations for successful body recomposition while increasing your overall health:
1.) Hire a nutritionist or expert to help, this will make things easier on you as far as planning goes and will hold you accountable!
2.) Dedicate half of your plate to vegetables.
3.) Drink a gallon of water a day; It makes up nearly 70% of your body!
Check out this article on the Mediterranean diet and CVD risk:
Mediterranean Diet and CVD
Stay tuned for my next post: Acromioclavicular Joint Pain and Strength Training: How chiropractic Helps
Until next time!