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The word “diet” has been given a bad rap! Often, when someone uses that word, they are talking about making a short-term, sometimes extreme, change to their eating habits, but in reality, a “diet” isn’t short-term at all. Simply put, your “diet” is just the food that you eat. Whether good, bad, structured, flexible, whatever, if you eat it, its part of your diet. So if that’s the case, why are there so many different types of diets out there? Part of the reason for this, is because there are many different dietary habits that can have benefits, and many different reasons to choose to adopt those habits. On top of that, there is also a lot of information out there about nutrition, some of it, conflicting, and filtering through it to find what may be right for you can be challenging.
With so much information and so many diets out there, it’s no wonder people feel overwhelmed, and confused; in fact, one of the most common questions I get asked is “what do you think of _________ diet?” Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, intermittent fasting, low-carb, low-fat, etc. Any type of diet you can think of, there is someone who has questions about it and to be perfectly honest, I don’t have all the answers. Even as a nutrition professional, it can be challenging to stay on top of the latest information about the many different diets out there, so when a client is feeling confused, I completely understand! Despite not being able to be an expert in all different diets, there is one answer that I stand by when someone asks me if “diet ________ is right” for them, and that is, it depends.
Not what you wanted to hear? I thought as much, but unfortunately, it is the truth. There are plenty of diets out there, each with positives and negatives, and what may work wonders for some people, may be entirely unsuccessful for others. This is because we are all unique. We are unique in what our daily lives demand and we are biochemically unique in what our bodies need and thrive on. While I will always strive to find the best information available on the different diets that my clients are asking about, I can’t definitively say that “diet ______” will have a specific outcome.
For instance, some people see great benefit from a ketogenic diet, which is higher in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbs. It may have helped them lose weight, regulate their blood sugar, or give them more energy, but for others, it could leave them feeling sluggish and fail to provide the results they desire. This doesn’t mean that there is anything innately good or bad about that diet, it just works well with some people and less so for others.
The simplest recommendation that I give to clients is to be flexible with their diet. If there is a certain way of eating that you’re interested in, do some research, ask questions, and give it a try, but if you find that it doesn’t make you feel good, or it doesn’t suit your life, don’t force yourself to suffer through.
The main thing I warn my clients to look out for when they are considering a dietary change, is a diet that demonizes certain foods or nutrients or leaves you feeling deprived. Your diet should give you energy, support your life, and leave you feeling satisfied, not starving or feeling guilty.
With all that being said, I’ll leave you with a final reminder that what has worked for me may not work for you, and what has worked for you may not work for the next person, and that’s OK. If everyone were the same, and the same diet worked for us all, then my job would be pretty boring! What I promise, is that I will strive to get you as much information as possible to help make an informed decision on what dietary changes you may wish to make. We will check on your progress regularly to ensure that if something isn’t working for you, we change it and work together to learn what approach is going to fit your life.