The Best Diet For Everyone
That headline is really a poser, since there’s no such thing as the best diet for everyone. The "best diet” is one that includes the right foods, in the right amounts, to provide optimal nutrition and energy for you and your unique goals – not for anyone else. According to Kristen DeAngelis, a healthy diet is about more than the food you eat, or how much you eat.
“It’s equally important to address lifestyle behaviors, sleep, community support, stress management, physical activity, and work-life balance when you want to make a change,” Kristen says.
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A healthy eating plan should also allow you to maintain the results you want, whether it’s losing weight or generally improving your health. Which can be the big problem with fad diets: They’re often so strict or complicated that it’s difficult for the average person to maintain any lasting change.
“Fad diets promise quick weight loss through an often unhealthy and unbalanced diet,” Kristen says. “A good diet should promote a lifestyle change, where it’s not just about the food we eat, but how we are living as a whole.”
Below is a list of some of the extreme fad diets out there, followed by some of the U.S. Ranked “Best Diets.” Consult with your doctor before starting any diet, because each person’s unique health situation and dietary needs must be considered. Whether you choose one diet to commit to or take components from a few, this can serve a guide to get started on a healthy foot.
Extreme Fad Diets
Maple Syrup and Lemon Diet: Also known as the Master Cleanse Lemonade Diet, this plan includes ingesting salt, laxative tea, and a lemonade-syrup mixture regularly. This type of diet doesn’t provide sufficient nutrients to give our bodies the energy they need to stay active.
“The reason you’re losing weight is because you’re not eating anything. You’re fasting your body,” Kristen says. “Quick-fix diets like this often have no medical research behind them and can be quite dangerous – especially if you have an underlying medical condition like diabetes.”
Juice Fasts: Juice fasting entails consuming only 100% vegetable and fruit juices for a set period of time. While drinking only fresh, cold-pressed juice for a short period of time can introduce more vegetables and fruits into your diet, living off of juice alone is not safe for long term use since you are missing out on fiber, protein, and healthy fats. Instead, including a fresh vegetable juice daily along with a whole foods diet would be a healthier approach of incorporating "juicing" into a lifestyle change, Kristen says.
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Mediterranean Diet This diet mimics the food choices and eating habits of those living in the Mediterranean Sea (think Greece and Italy). “The populations of people who have this diet are at much lower risk, and have much less incidence, of chronic health conditions that we have here in the U.S.,” Kristen says. “And they’re of a lower average weight.”
Their secret is not a mystery: They have an active lifestyle, eat smaller portion sizes, and maintain a diet low in red meat, sugar, and saturated fat. The diet is also high in vegetables, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats (olive oil, fish, avocado) – with an occasional glass of red wine. The Mediterranean diet can promote weight loss, heart and brain health, cancer prevention, and diabetes prevention or control.
“People who live in the Mediterranean and eat this way really enjoy their food. Eating is a real experience. That’s often lost here in the states when we’re eating on the go and trying to get as many things done at once,” Kristen says. “The key to this diet isn’t just the food you eat, it is how you eat it: It’s mindful eating.”
DASH Diet: DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and low or non-fat dairy. It also includes a lot of whole grains, lean meats like fish and poultry, nuts, and beans. The goal is to have a diet high in fiber and low-to-moderate in fat. This plan follows the U.S. guidelines for sodium content, as well as vitamin and mineral intake.
No matter which diet you choose, it’s important to consider consulting with a dietitian to develop a plan that’s right for you.
“With fad diets, you really have to understand whether there’s research behind it, whether it’s an evidence-based diet,” Kristen says. “Always ask yourself, is this safe?”
Last Updated: January 19, 2017