Friday, January 5, 2018

New Year, New Diet?

A piece of paper with four New Year's resolutions written on it: 1) eat better 2) lose weight 3) exercise 4) run marathon. There is a plate full of carrots and celery on top of the paper.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
It’s early January, and for those of you who have gym memberships, you know that means dealing with a lot more people. A new year spurs New Year’s resolutions, one of the most common of which is to lose weight. Part of that process obviously involves the gym… hence the million-and-one extra people every night getting their treadmill on.

But the other, perhaps more important, aspect of shedding the pounds is diet. Because, unfortunately, no amount of exercise can offset the amount of calories, sugar, and fat I can personally consume in doughnuts. Or cheesecake. Or cookies. Or… well, you get the point.

So what’s the best diet? That really depends on the individual. The key is establishing a lifestyle that is both healthy and sustainable. For me, that means generally eating lots of veggies, fruits, and lean meats while moderating my intake of things like sugar, dairy, and gluten. I don’t completely cut anything out of my diet; rather, I choose to savor those foods by eating them only occasionally.

One of the unexpected bonuses of eating more veggies and less sugar is that I actually eat more food. That’s because the foods I consume are often less calorie dense but more nutrient dense than things like chocolate doughnuts. For those of you who are calorie counters, you likely already know that consuming more vegetables, fruits, and lean meats allows you to eat a lot more food than when consuming sugary treats like soda and candy bars.
This year, U.S. News & World Report’s best ranking diets overall (as rated by food and health experts) include the Mediterranean Diet, the Dash Diet, and the Flexitarian Diet. The lowest ranking diets? The Keto Diet and the Dukan Diet, which were rated as too hard to follow and therefore unsustainable. The Weight Watchers diet scored the top slot for Best Commercial Diets and Best Weight-Loss Diets.

Women’s Health Magazine recently shared a fun video that shows what 1,200 calories looks like for three popular diets: paleo, Mediterranean, and vegan. Which one looks the most appealing to you?

Do you follow a particular diet? Or are you more of a diet sampler like me, simply keeping to an overall “healthy eating” lifestyle?

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