Which diet is meant for you?
It would be a safe answer for me to tell you that the diet you choose is simply the diet that you’re most compliant with, but that answer is only part of a bigger answer and it’s not a sexy way to end a blog post. The nutrition scene has really become a war of tribes. Lately the landscape seems to be predominantly owned by the Paleo, Keto, Vegan and IIFYM tribes. With that being said, where do you fit in? I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t jump on the bandwagon of each of these tribes at some point. After all, finding a diet and testing it out is the only way you’ll know if you get jacked on it or not. The thing I learned when going through these diets is that there are gems to takeaway from each diet. For example…
The Paleo tribe taught me about the effects of inflammatory foods.
The Keto tribe taught me about the benefits of quality dietary fat sources.
The Vegan tribe opened my eyes to a variety of micronutrient rich carbohydrate sources.
The IIFYM macro crew taught me about donuts, I mean balance.
***Oh and the Carb-backloading crew taught me that if you don’t track your food and blindly eat copious amounts of pad thai and cake before bed, you might wake up in a sweaty daze.
As a Nutritionist, I’m biased in that I believe although food may not fix all the world’s problems, it can definitely make a huge impact on someone’s health when the right dietary changes are made. So here’s where I hit you with the message… I believe there’s a difference between habit-based eating and diet based eating (credit to the OG's Precision Nutrition who came up with this term). Habit based eating is sustainable and should be the long-term goal. Diet based eating serves a therapeutic purpose. By therapeutic purpose, I mean a short-term goal, which is meant to get you back on to your long-term goal. Have some gut dysfunction? Go on the Paleo/Anti-inflammatory diet. Having insulin sensitivity issues? Maybe a little Keto could serve you well. That’s up to you and a specialist to decide. What I will suggest is that you don’t start a diet because you feel you need to be part of a crew or follow a specific diet because you’ll be forever lost. Eating patterns are meant to change and adapt to our current health status, training frequency, body composition goals and genetic background. So what exactly are my absolutes when it comes to nutrition? Here’s what I would base the universal diet around…
1. Micronutrients matter just as much as macronutrients.
2. Carbohydrate intake is dependant on activity level.
3. Gut health matters.
4. Meal timing can be the missing link when it comes to performance.
5. Sleep is anabolic.
I don’t think there’s anything on this list that someone would argue incorrect no matter what eating philosophy they follow. With that being said, I’ll finish off here by letting you know that the diet you do decide to follow shouldn’t hurt or suck, but instead fit your lifestyle. Follow these rules, make some changes where you see fit, and you’re on your way to the universal diet.