What Makes A Diet A Good Diet?
We come across countless types of dieting protocols, and countless testimonials of how these approaches work and how each one of these diets seems to be better than the next. They all promise the same things; amazing results and years of healthy living.
But despite all these amazing benefits, why do so many dieters fail to diet?
The beginning of the new year is when most people imbarc on this health journey. But about 80% of these people quit on their goal half way through. So what are they doing wrong? Is it their lack of commitment or maybe a bad dieting choice?
Here are the most important factors to take into account when looking for the diet that suits you best.
1. Adherence to the plan.
This is probably the most overlooked aspect of any diet. All diets tell you what to eat and what not to eat. But they don't take into account your personal preference. They just tell you what's "good" and what's "bad" for you, and how you should be avoiding certain things that you love.
The adherence of a certain diet is the most important aspect. Because what good is a healthy diet that you're not going to stick to? It makes no sense to have a plan you're not going to follow.
So look for an approach that allows some form of enjoyment. Because let's be real here, you know you're not going to be able to eat chicken and brown rice forever, and you know you love some ice cream or a piece of cake every once in a while. So it's important that you find a way to enjoy these things without them causing a negative impact on your progress.
And to quote Alan Aragon... "Honoring personal preference is one of the most powerful yet underrated tactics for achieving optimal health and body composition".
2. Caloric accountability.
The total caloric content of the diet can in most cases be more important than food choices itself. This is because no matter how healthy your foods are, they still have calories and can easily add up to your total daily intake. To the point where you can exceed your requirements, which in turn will hinder your fat loss goals. And in the case of obese individuals that need to lose weight to improve their health markers, too many calories will be detrimental and will not allow you to lose the weight you need to lose in order to better your health.
Now I'm not saying that counting calories is a must, but it's always important to take into account the caloric value of the food you eat. Portion control is crucial for your body composition and health related goals.
3. Macronutrient composition.
Macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein and fat) are what provide the calories in food, and the total macro ratio within the diet is extremely important if you want to achieve a well built physique.
Each macronutrient plays a different roll within our body, and its why we recommend counting macros instead of calories. Because it's the context of those calories that matter the most.
If you would rank macros in order of importance, protein would be number one on the list, followed by fat and then carbs. The reason why protein is the most important macro is because it's the one that builds our muscle mass. And if you want to give your body a good shape, muscle is what you need!
4. And last but not least: FOOD CHOICES.
This may seem odd to you, to think that food choices would rank last on the scale of importance. But I hope you've come to understand why the steps before this are of greater importance than the actual foods you choose to be a part of your diet. But also keep in mind that just because I'm ranking this as last in the list of priorities, it does NOT mean it's not important. It's a crucial part of a healthy diet, because a diet without a wide variety of healthy foods can give you results but will not do good to your well being, nor will it promote longevity. And if you're into fitness, I would hope that your goal isn't just to look good but also to have a healthy lifestyle.
Food choices are important because of the different nutrients our body requires to sustain life. Its not just about calories and macronutrients, its also about micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), phytonutrients, antioxidants and fiber. All of which are necessary in our diet. Without them our body cannot function properly nor can it fight off deadly diseases that are a threat to our life.
This is the reason why as a general guideline I always recommend using the 80/20 rule. This means that at least 80% of your overall calories should come from whole food sources, foods that are nutrient dense (more nutrients per calorie) and provide you with all the necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber, etc. The other 20% can be more “flexible”.
These 4 factors are what make a diet a good diet, as long as you always keep in mind that all 4 of them are an absolute must in any type of diet you choose to follow. So be wise with the decision you make, and remember that this is not a short term goal, this is a life time commitment to yourself.
Thank you for reading! If you have any questions, comment below!