With so much chatter online, it can be difficult to know which diet is best for you. Everyone has different ideas, and one size does not fit all. In a world filled with misinformation, how can you see beyond the miracle fixes and find a diet that will help you reach your goals in a sustainable way?
The most effective diets tend to have some overlap in terms of methodology. Here are three things the world’s most successful diets have in common.
Minimizing Processed Food Intake
One common thing you’ll see across all successful diet methodologies is a drastic reduction in processed foods. This can be a daunting concept for a modern dieter, as cutting processed goods means prioritizing meal planning. It can also create feelings of restriction and boredom for those who don’t have great culinary skills. Fortunately, planning meals doesn’t have to be challenging or boring. There are plenty of easy recipes that can be made to fit your dietary needs; the challenge is portion control when you find out how great they taste.
The South Beach diet, for example, focuses on cutting sugar cravings by reducing processed carbs and encouraging the intake of more lean protein and healthy fats. You can incorporate a variety of vegetables, seasoning, and even condiments to keep things interesting– see for yourself on the sample menu you can find here.
The best diets give your body what it needs, rather than focusing on restricting so much that you’re forced into an extreme (and miserable) caloric deficit. Beware of diets that ask you to remove nutritious foods and replace the nutrients with supplements. Remember, no one became obese from eating too many fresh fruit and vegetables.
Furthermore, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to eliminate carbs from your diet to lose weight. Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that the body needs for proper brain function and to fuel intense exercise. Instead, aim to eat more smart carbs, like squash and quinoa, removing refined carbs (white bread, pasta, etc.) from your daily repertoire. The Mediterranean diet is one of the world’s most successful diets and focuses on promoting healthy carbs and fats that keep your body happy and healthy for the long run.
Teach Healthy Habits
The most successful diets aren’t just about what you eat; they’re about how you eat, when you eat, and your relationship with food. One of the main points of a healthy diet is portion control. Whether you’re tracking your macronutrient intake, counting calories, tallying up points, or using hand-portions, creating a healthy relationship with food is essential. Otherwise, you’ll never be able to stick to it.
As the saying goes, “everything in moderation.” That applies to obsess over food as well. The most successful diets promote eating healthy most of the time so that you can indulge when it counts rather than isolating you from your social circle.
When looking for the right diet for you, the best approach is to drop the diet mentality. Instead, look for eating plans that give your body nutrients while helping you reach your goals and maintain them in the long run.