What IS the perfect diet?
Those following a Paleo plan would say that they have the optimal diet for health, fitness and body composition.
But the IIFYM guys and girls fight tooth and nail to proclaim their way of eating “the best.”
Then you have the keto crowd, the carb back-loaders, the vegetarians, and everyone else in between, all trying to promote their own methods as the “best.”
The truth is, however – when it comes to the perfect diet –
There is none!
What is Perfection?
In terms of what gets optimal results, you can look at the science and the studies.
You’d think that this would be a fairly sound way to determine what the best use of your time and efforts was, but even this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Sure, we can be fairly certain that some factors play a big role in how successful a diet is, and there are things that virtually everyone agrees on –
- A high intake of fibre is almost certainly good news
- Fruits and veggies are rarely “bad”
- To build muscle mass you need adequate protein
- The majority of your food should be minimally processed
- Alcohol, trans fats and high-fructose corn syrup should be avoided in high quantities
But apart from those, there’s debate over nearly everything.
At one end of the spectrum, you get those studies that show how fasting has positive effects on insulin sensitivity, metabolic rate and satiety, while others demonstrate an increase in disordered relationships with food, decreases in muscle protein synthesis levels, and poor dietary adherence.
Then we get to low-carb versus high-carb, low-fat versus high-fat, and whether or not we need grains.
It really can be a minefield.
You’d have thought science would have the answer to “what is the perfect diet?” but it seems that this is far from the case.
The Best Diet is …
It’s one that’s so simple, and, when you think about it, so obvious, yet it’s too often forgotten –
“The best diet is the one you can stick to.”
See, as there’s theoretically no perfect plan, and no diet that guarantees you the fastest results possible, dietary adherence actually rules the day.
Even if we could say that one particular diet was superior to all others, that still wouldn’t be much good if you hated it, dreaded every meal, couldn’t stick to it, and found yourself falling off the wagon and binging every weekend.
Being strict and being dedicated is all well and good, but willpower is finite, and at some stage, even the most hardened and motivated of dieters will cave.
Let’s take a look at an example – a low-carb or keto diet.
This type of dieting typically involves consuming a minuscule amount of carbohydrate every day (usually in the region of 50 grams, though some plans allow up to 100 grams, and others recommend sticking to below 30 grams.)
For now, we’ll use the more extreme end of the spectrum, and go with the 30g per day limit.
This essentially means that every single day, you’ll be relying solely on foods like steak, whole eggs, chicken breast, cheese, oils, nuts, and maybe some vegetables.
All fruit is out, as are all starchy vegetables and dairy products like cottage cheese and milk, and you can forget about rice, bread and pasta.
Now, let’s for a minute say that science has proven keto to be the best diet for someone looking to lose fat.
What if that person loves carbs?
What if they really don’t like high-fat foods?
They have digestive issues that mean they need plenty of fruits and fibrous veggies?
Their job involves going out socially, and means having to entertain clients and drink alcohol two or three times per week?
No matter how great the results they could get on keto, sustaining such a diet with their lifestyle simply wouldn’t be possible.
It would be a miserable experience, and so, despite potentially the “best” results possible they’d be hating every minute, dreading every meal, and would ultimately stop following the plan, be that intermittently, or potentially for good.
Enter Personal Preference …
This is where personal preference becomes absolutely crucial.
Getting results with a diet isn’t so much about the mechanisms of the diet itself, rather, it’s about finding something that works on paper, and that works for you.
That might be low-carb.
If you love steak cooked in butter, enjoy snacking on olives and almonds, and find that a higher protein and fat intake keeps you satiated and burning fat, then go for it.
However if you love your carbs, this is NOT the diet for you, no matter how effective it may be in theory.
How to Make Your Diet Best FOR YOU
The first step in tweaking a diet so that it not only gets you results, but also works for you in terms of lifestyle and balance is to look at where your current plan may be failing.
Are you on a diet at the moment but struggling to stick to it?
Finding out where your struggles are is the first step.
Perhaps you’re not cut out to stick to a set meal plan, or track every single macronutrient, and in actual fact, a plan with more flexibility would work better.
Alternatively, if you’re thinking about starting a diet, rather than looking to try and remove all your favourite foods from everyday life as most folk do, take a look at what you can ADD to your diet to make it better.
Protein at breakfast?
Substituting your mid-afternoon caramel macchiato for a black coffee?
Switching from regular chips to low-fat ones?
All of these are simple changes that make your diet easy to follow.
And Finally – Be Flexible
The last tip is to be flexible with your diet. This is why at MyPhysique we leave the foods you eat up to you, whilst controlling your diet via your macronutrient and calorie targets.
It means you can achieve a body composition you desire, easily change your plan for fat loss or muscle gain, yet doesn’t impose any strict, nonsensical rules, and can be tailored depending on your preferences.
Now THAT is a diet anyone can get results with.