Nowadays it seems like everywhere you look a new diet is being touted as the best one for you. This can be confusing as you have so much contrasting information presented to you, it can make the decision on what you should eat, overwhelming.
You have one friend who has started LCHF and dropped 10kgs effortlessly and you have another friend who has gone vegan and has never felt better, yet the thought of removing meat or carbohydrates from your diet makes you want to weep into your roast chicken sandwich.
So what is the perfect diet for everyone?
There is no one perfect diet for everyone, just like there is not one perfect diet for someone for life. What might be the perfect diet for you now, may not be next week, or next year even.
Imagine the diversity between individuals and you can start to see why a cookie cutter approach to nutrition just doesn’t work.
- Body type: some people may be overweight with a great lipid profile, while others could be a stick figure with triglyceride levels through the roof.
- Activity levels: You have athletes and you have sedentary office workers
- Stress levels
- Budget: some people can afford all the paleo cereal Farro has to offer, whilst others have a strict weekly budget to adhere to.
- Ethical practices: some people don’t eat meat for religious reasons, and who are you to tell them otherwise?
But most importantly…ADHERENCE.
Whether people like it or not, caloric restriction is the fundamental basis of any successful weight loss regime, and therefore the best diet for any one individual is a diet that they can adhere to. Whether that be vegan, fasting, LCHF or low-fat, the best diet is one you can stick with to achieve the weight loss goals that you desire.
Take bread for example, one of the most restricted foods in popular diets. One study looked at two nutrition strategies (with or without bread) designed to promote weight loss. The results? The weight loss diet that included bread saw greater results due to greater compliance. Ergo adherence was a major factor in the results of the diet.
Another study compared low-fat, low-carb, meal replacement, intermittent fasting and mediterenean approaches in order to seek the best diet for all. The results found that Low-fat diets tended to improve LDL cholesterol the most, while lower-carbohydrate diets improved triglycerides and HDL cholesterol. However, differences between diets were marginal.
The study concluded that “Optimizing adherence is the most important factor for weight loss success, and this is enhanced by regular professional contact and supportive behavioral change programs.”
So whilst it is human nature to try and seek that one diet that solves everything, unfortunately one simply does not exist. There is no one perfect macronutrient distribution for weight management, just as there is no ‘one size fits all’ strategy to suit everyone. The single most important factor in a successful diet is that it is sustainable long term.
So if you think you are much more likely to be able to stick to a plan if you include your daily 2 squares of chocolate or your Vogel’s toast in the morning (assuming you don’t have any intolerances) then that is going to be much better long term, then trying to restrict yourself leading to bingeing when you ‘fall off the wagon’.