Keto diet is “the best diet.”
Paleo diet is “the best diet.”
Plant-based diet is “the best diet.”
Eating spinach and pig penises diet is “the best diet.”
So which is it? Which diet should you embark on to lose weight? Well, a 2005 study by Dansinger M.L. et al.1 investigated exactly that (well… kind of):
Here’s what the researchers did:
After 1 year, the average guy in the study had lost 3.1 percent of his starting weight, and the average woman—2.5 percent. Surprisingly (meaning—unsurprisingly), there was no statistical difference between diets—they all worked.
However, about half of the subjects assigned to the two most restrictive diets—Atkins and Ornish—fucked off before the study was over.
But that’s not why this study is so cool.
In each group, about 25 percent of the subjects had lost more than 5 percent of their initial weight and about 10 percent lost more than 10 percent.
You know what separated those big, successful weight losers from the mere finishers? It was Dietary Adherence.
Participants with the highest adherence lost 7% of the initial weight on average. This effect was the same across all four diets.
And if you went all “fuck you, Egis, it’s just one study, keto is best, I’m sure” on me, I gotta say to you… uhm, maybe, no?
after another study4…
after yet another study5…
…researchers find that diets work about equally well in terms of lost weight. What matters is whether people can stick to their diets long enough to see significant weight loss.
And now it’s time I blow your mind. You might wanna take a seat.
Alrighty, here goes:
You are less likely to continue a diet if you don’t enjoy it.
*That’s the sound of your mind being blown into gajillion pieces.
You can have the best goddamn diet plan crafted by a blue goat-faced unicorn on some planet of the best diets, but if you can’t stick to it, it’s useless.
And that’s exactly what this study concluded with:
You may be thinking to yourself, “Okay, this fitness guy is talking about unicorns. Gotcha… But what the heck should I do to improve this magical dietary adherence and sustainability?”
Damn you! I’m up to my ass in alligators with work right now and yet you want me to keep writing? Well… fuck that… That’s what you get for being in the industry of helping people, I guess.
Ok, ok, here are a bunch of suggestions (actually, only 4) that can make your diet more sustainable:
1. Honour Your Food Preferences
When I get a new client, one of the forty-eleven gajillion questions I ask is “What are your favorite foods?” Once they come back with the list, I go “Ok, gotcha. Now, look at that list again because this is your diet.”
You see, as Graeme Tomlinson observed, you don’t need to eliminate ANY food or macronutrient from your diet and you don’t need to rip up your current diet and start a different diet to lose weight.
What you need is to educate yourself about the importance of energy balance and then make small tweaks to your current diet. It’s much easier to do that than suffer all that favorite food elimination/restriction thang.
2. Individualize Macronutrient Distribution
Here’s an excerpt from my book:
The ratio between carbs and fats DOESN’T FREAKN’ MATTER6 (unless you have a medical reason to eliminate one).
I’m aware of the fact that low-carb zealots have convinced many people carbs and insulin have to be low to lose fat but… They are idiot meathead juicemonkies and obviously not intelligent people in the nutritional department.
In fact, studies that equated calories and protein found no difference in weight or fat loss.7
So, as I said in how to build a macro balanced meal article, start building every meal by picking a protein source, and then tailor carbohydrate and fat distribution according to your preference and training goal. If you like carbs, eat more carbs. If you train hard, eat more carbs.
It’s up to you. You have the power of choice. Not the diet you are on.
3. Eat Similar Foods
Ever heard about sensory-specific satiety?
It refers, in scientific terms, to the declining satisfaction generated by a specific type of food the more you eat of it, and the consequent appeal of new food that allows you to keep eating once full of something else.
On the flip side, the monotony effect also sucks.
So you want to limit your access to this endless variety of foods but not to the point of monotony.
Sit down and make a list of foods that you love. Make these foods your priority each day. Use them to make different dishes, and then swap the protein, carb, and fat sources every day/week depending on your personal preference. This will make daily food tracking and meal prep easier.
P.S. Ignore this advice when it comes to low-calorie foods—fruits and vegetables. Increased variety of fruits and vegetables has been found to aid in reductions in weight, waist girth, total body fat, and trunk fat:10
4. Don’t Do Wacky Things With Your Calorie Intake
I’m gonna break it down for you… Right here, right meow—don’t cut your calories too low.
Whether it’s the 800-calorie or 1,200-calorie diet, it’s fucking stupid. The more you try and go for a short-term fix, massive calorie deficit, and speedy rapid “progress,” the sooner you will putter out, regain the weight, and will continuously fail.
The slow and steady approach allows you to build habits for maintaining the weight later on and to learn to love the journey so it doesn’t seem as if you’ve sold yourself into weight loss slavery.
You need to build a nutrition program that you can do for fifty years, not five weeks, or five months. Leave low-calorie diets for keto brainless troglodytes.
So multiply your goal weight in pounds by 12. That’s your calorie deficit to lose weight. If you want to weigh 150 pounds, you would eat 1,800 calories.
The moral of the article is that “the best diet” is the one you don’t know you are on.
As long as you enjoy it, can be consistent with it, it doesn’t take over your social life, it improves your relationship with food, and it allows you to make progress, you’re good.
Now click below and start my Coaching Program because three months of mind-numbing torture (meaning—a cookie-cutter diet) isn’t my thing.
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