Paleo, Keto, Intermittent Fasting, Zone…
Which is the best diet? Here’s how to choose the best diet for you.
People always ask us – which nutrition camp do we fall into here at Reason? They’re essentially asking
“What is the BEST diet?”
Today, I’d like to share with you a surprising, but simple answer.
So what is the best diet?
“I’ve been training at Reason for 6 months and I’m still not sure: do you guys believe in ‘paleo’? Or do you believe in the standard ‘low carb, low fat stuff’?”
“I have a friend who’s vegan and she’s super healthy. I’m thinking of trying it…what do you think?”
We get dozen questions like this, all of which essentially ask the same thing:
What’s the “best diet” for people to follow?
After years of the same question, I haven’t yet come up with short response yet.. because people wouldn’t not like the short answer.
I don’t believe there’s a single, absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt best diet for every person to follow, always, and forever.
Mind you, I used to. First two years of CrossFit I followed the Zone Diet, religiously. Then the paleo diet. Early Reason athletes will remember this. I was ANTI-GRAINS for life! Which makes sense if you’re coming from a grain dominated diet that was popular in the late 2000’s (fat was the evil macronutrient back then).
Here’s a few reasons why one diet doesn’t fit all.
Body type: Some clients come to us tall and thin. Others come short and stocky.
Dietary preferences & exclusions: Some clients come to us eating lots of meat every day. Others come eating no meat at all.
Budget: Some clients come to us with an incredibly low budget. Others come with an unlimited budget.
Organic / conventional: Some clients come to us eating only boxed and packaged foods. Others come eating only natural, organic, whole foods.
Nutrition knowledge: Some clients come to us as devout followers of the aforementioned dietary practices. Others come with very little nutrition knowledge whatsoever.
Time: Some clients come to us with lots of free time for a health and fitness project. Others come with very little time to devote to health and fitness.
There’s simply no way we’d be able to help all those folks make incremental improvements in their eating if we were militant about a single nutrition paradigm.
Imagine hearing this:
“I know you have a super-low budget for food. But if you sell your vehicle, or maybe one of your children, you’ll be able to afford the organic and free-range whole foods we recommend in our program. That’s the only way to get healthy and fit.”
“Carbs? You’re not alone. We all like ‘em. But this program is all about cutting way back. Low carb is what works, period. Insulin is the enemy. So say goodbye to sugar. And pasta. Potatoes too. And rice…”
“Sure, I understand the moral and ethical obligation you feel. But eating animal foods… that’s how we do it. You need the protein and the fat. And it’s how our ancestors ate. So suck it up, throw a steak on the grill, and let’s get this party started.”
We just addressed 3 very different people with 3 very different dietary goals and frameworks.
So what’s the secret? We do not have practice one single nutrition philosophy.
We believe that a particular diet work for you at one point in your life, under particular circumstances – and that may work for that season. But consistency and sustainability is key.
Here’s why ALL DIETS work (and are more similar than different)
They raise nutrition attention and awareness
Working with one of my clients for the past 4 months, she says that one of the biggest things she notices about her nutrition and intake…is that she notices. Before – she was going about her life, unaware and unconscious of the decisions she was making.
They focus on quality of food
Paleo and low carbers advocate for more natural, free-range animal based foods that are higher in protein, fat and minimal processed. Vegan and high carbers push for a more natural, plant based higher fiber, antioxidant rich diet that is also minimally processed. The common denominator? They both want you to eat less processed food. Every “Diet” recommends you eat whole, minimally processed nutrient rich foods
They focus on intake – you are either eating more or eating less or the same on this diet. Ultimately leading to results of maintaining health, gaining weight or losing weight.
So instead – we focus on
Finding the diet that works best for you
Appreciating that most diets have more in common than they don’t.
We push for more of a habit based approach than a diet based approach
Which is the best diet?
The one that works for you. Listen to your needs. Focus on what you want to accomplish. Ask yourself HOW you want to live, long term or even for the short term. Then follow a plan that allows you to thrive.
If you need help dialing in what is appropriate for you – we’re here in your corner.