I am frequently asked this question: “What is the best diet?” After all, there are some many diet plans available and all of them claim to be the best or have some scientific explanation as to why they are better than the other diets. Stop and think how many different diet plans you have heard of, or better yet, you have tried. I bet you can think of at least a half dozen or so.
Honestly, I do not even like the word diet. It’s a four-letter word! The word itself has painful or limiting connotations associated with it. I prefer to think of it more of a lifestyle of eating, something that I stick with long-term. Not a short-term fix.
So which diet or lifestyle is best? My answer is . . . wait for it, wait for it . . . it depends!
What do I mean by it depends?
The reason most people want to talk about a diet is they want a plan to lose weight. At the very core of weight loss is a simple formula:
Weight loss = Calories in – Calories out.
If you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. If you are not able to lose weight, you are consuming more calories than you are burning up.
Weight loss is obviously more difficult than this simple formula, but the formula is never the less true. (Our bodies are extremely complicated, and there are many hormones that influence our appetites and metabolism.) I have patients tell me all the time that they “feel” like they do not overeat. Something else must be wrong, like their thyroid or their metabolism. Yet, the underlying truth is they eat more than they burn off. It is a hard but simple truth.
If you are struggling with losing weight, you either must eat less (maybe different) or burn up more calories. I believe weight loss is about 80% what we eat and about 20% what we do. It is easier to lose weight by controlling the input than by increasing the output.
Now, the secret answer to which diet is the best is simply the diet that works for you! We all have different histories, different preferences, different sleep cycles, different exercise preferences, and different metabolic rates. So in the end, the best “diet” for you is the one that works.
So when you are reading an article that claims the latest diet to be the “best diet ever,” it is probably true for the person penning the article. But it may not be the best diet for you.
I personally try to limit high glycemic carbs from my lifestyle. (I prefer not to call it a diet!) I will try to live my Ten-Day Diet Challenge throughout the week and splurge some on the weekends. About every 6–8 weeks, I will do the Ten-Day Diet Challenge for 7–10 days. This seems to work for me.
I know a lot of people love the Paleo Diet. They tend to love meat. It works for them. Others go vegan and seem to do well. You have to find what works for you. I would encourage you to think of it more of a lifestyle than a temporary diet.
So the best diet for you is the one that works and one you can live with long-term. No matter what “plan” you go with, you will need to burn up more calories than you consume if your desire is to lose weight.
Wishing You an Amazing Life,
Dr. Curtis Brown