August 18, 2016

The Best Fad Diets with Healthy Diet Hacks


In the final part of this three-part series, find out how you can take onboard some of the best fad diets around and make them work for you and your health.


Run a search on Google for "best diets" and you'll find it will return over 65 million results. Now, for most people, that can be a complicated, confusing, and overwhelming proposition. Especially, when all we want to do is simply to become more fit and healthy. Which begs the question: how are we supposed to know which are the best fad diets and differentiate between who's telling the truth to who's a charlatan?

In the previous two articles, we talked through the pros and cons of what everyone should know about fad diets. We also briefly explored different options for 'quick fix' slimdown programs tailored to help you reach your goals in a fast and healthy way.

We also discussed the importance of understanding the potential health risks involved as some are dangerously unhealthy and, how some of the best fad diets can miss the mark for your body's specific needs.

For the final part of this three-part series, we now turn to the bigger picture of eating and explore how you can take onboard some of the best fad diets around and make them work for you and your health. So, buckle in, let's get into some diet overhaul 101.

Are You Ready for Such a Big Diet Change?

Ask yourself, Am I...
  • Looking for a long-term eating solution, rather than a quick fix?
  • Willing to commit to reading up on a diet plan and giving it some critical thought?
  • Committed to returning to the eating plan if I slip up?
Did you answer "yes" to all three questions above? If not, you may not be ready to make the changes necessary to see yourself through to success. If that's the case, aim, instead, to make just one healthy food change at a time. For example, replacing your lunch fries with a fresh green salad.

If, however, your desire is to fit into a slimmer pair of jeans for a special occasion, a quick slim down diet might be just right for you. Conversely, if the answer to all three is a resounding "yes" then, read on!

A Critical Look at the Best Fad Diets to Overhaul Your Eating Patterns

Keto Diet

What it is Focuses on high-protein, fatty foods and significantly restricting carbs which claim to force the body to consume its fat stores.
Pros High-protein, fatty foods are filling. Meat-eaters can eat all the bacon they want.
Cons These foods tend to be salty calorie bombs. Instead of seeing the weight shed away, dieters may gain weight. Especially if they overload on protein. Too much dietary fat can cause diarrhea. Carb restrictions trigger cravings and binges.
Healthy diet hack Include generous amounts of various lean protein in every meal. Add healthy fats in moderation. Keep your carb consumption low, without overdoing it.

Whole30

What it is A restrictive re-imagining of The Paleo Diet that emphasizes protein. Heavily restricts carbs, and bans many foods including grains, dairy, legumes, and soy.
Pros Builds awareness of how foods are grown and their effects on the body. Very trendy with a vocal community that can provide information and support. Low calories will likely result in weight loss.
Cons Intended as a 30-day diet. It doesn't teach skills for long-term sustainable weight loss. Food restrictions are hard to follow. Low calories may lead to physical and mental fatigue. Foods that are permitted are often expensive.
Healthy diet hack Eat more fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Look for inexpensive organic foods to swap in for the pricier specialized Whole30 products.

Intuitive Eating

What it is Allows all foods regardless of calories or portion sizes. Diet followers adjust eating according to bodily hunger and fullness signals.
Pros Teaches recognition of true physical hunger. No food restrictions mean reduced cravings and binges. It's a flexible, straight-forward, easy to follow diet plan.
Cons With no restrictions, weight loss may be challenging especially for those who often eat out of boredom or habit rather than hunger. It can be time-consuming to check body hunger levels regularly.
Healthy diet hack Occasionally, indulge in small portions of your favorite treats. Consult The Hunger Scale to see if you are truly hungry vs. thirsty, or if you're eating to fill an emotional space or a behavioral addiction.

Putting it Together

A tailored version of the best fad diets will help you to maintain a healthy weight while providing the macronutrients and vitamins you need to keep you energetic and active.

Remember, trying to work with something overly restrictive–rarely works. In fact, chances are, with these types of approaches, you most likely won't be able to stick with it which is a key part to undertaking any diet program.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control,
"Healthy meals are considered to be ¼ lean protein, ⅓ to ½ vegetables, and the rest made of unrefined carbs like fruit and whole grains."
They should also include healthy fats and treats in moderation.

But, building your plate is only part of the story so take note. It's important for you to get in touch with your body's hunger and fullness signals. Learn The Hunger Scale and you'll be able to tell when to eat, when to stop eating, and when to drink water because you weren't actually hungry in the first place–which might just surprise you.


See also: Turning Weight Loss Fads into a Fast Healthy Slim Down.

Practice 'Tough Love' with Yourself

It all may sound simple, but a complete diet overhaul is a big task. Chances are, you'll slip up at some point giving in to the temptation of 'just this once' opportunities. Whether it be to add a chocolate bar while paying for gas or, picking up that slice of hot cheesy pizza at the next party.

If, and when, these moments happen, remember that it's okay! Forgive yourself but also remind yourself of the reasons why you wanted to have a better diet in the first place, and start afresh. Empower yourself and learn about nutrition from MyPlate to help get you through those tempting moments.

Every day is a new chance to take charge of your life and a slip up here and there doesn't make you a failure. It just makes you human. So get out there and get healthy–one meal at a time.