There are literally thousands of diets. Millions of people need them to either lose weight or get healthier in general. If you are like most people, you’ve probably tried a majority of these diets yourself or know someone who has tried various versions of these diets without any luck. You have probably discovered that many of them are just the same rehashed diets, but with a different appealing name. Paleo for example had been around for as long as I can remember and was simply known as the Hunter Gatherer Diet. The Hunter Gatherer Diet was part of my education when I was doing my Corrective Exercise certification in 2003. That year was also the year that the South Beach Diet was popular which was based on wholefood nutrition and cutting out what the body cannot metabolize. It was famous by celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Maddona and Victoria Beckham.
Way back when I first came into the fitness industry in 2002 I was educated on a book (which was a text book back then) which is still to this day the most influencing book that I have ever read on nutrition. It is a far more scientific approach than the diets of today and one I used with my clients to drop weight and create a better lifestyle. More on that book later.
The more traditional diets are calorie restrictive. These types of diets claim to be beneficial because they slow down the aging process, increase longevity, increase fat loss and prevent or control many unwanted medical conditions.
Many of these calorie restrictive diets involve calorie counting, which has been a part of the dieting landscape for decades. How many calories should you eat each day? Most Australians eat about 2000 calories a day. The lowest amount of calories that women should eat daily to remain healthy is about 1200, and this amount is 1500 for men. The Organs of the body need energy to function and those numbers are based off the bare minimum of what the body needs for things like digestion, liver function and blood circulation.
One can research for hours and find plenty of studies and reports that support the use of calorie restrictive diets. The proof and statistics indicate that eating this type of diet will ward off obesity, high blood pressure, brain tumors, cancer, heart disease and other serious medical conditions.
There are numerous types of calorie restrictive diets. Calories are counted and restricted based upon things such as your daily movement, current weight and your goal weight. But is calorie counting really the way to go? There are diets out there such as the Calorie Restriction Diet Plan that encourages healthy calorie counting. It touts that following this diet will slow down the aging process and help you live longer.
CRON is another example of a calorie restrictive diet. It is also called the Longevity Diet, CR-diet and the Anti-Aging Plan. Users of this diet believe that everyone has a predetermined set-point or ideal weight. This set-point is based upon different things such as heredity or your childhood eating habits. It involves eating at least three meals a day, taking supplements and eating high nutritious foods such as shitake mushrooms, soybeans, brewers yeast and wheat bran.
CRON dieters are advised to plan and cook their meals in advance. The diet also requires dieters to eat a specified list of recommended daily allowance nutrients.
And we should all know about the 5-2 Diet that has come up in the last couple of years. Yes intermittent fasting has its benefits but thats a whole other article. You’ll get the hint about what I think about these diets as we go on.
Although it has been proven that calorie restrictive diets can make you healthier and even experience fat loss, these types of diets still have many flaws associated with them, and the following are just a few:
You could reduce your calories too much by not consuming enough food. As a result, the body goes into starvation mode, and your bodies metabolism rate decreases. The body stops burning fat at its regular rate, which means that you aren’t going to experience fat loss. If this happens, it defeats the whole purpose of going on a diet.
In addition, the body stays in fat burning mode for the first few weeks, but eventually your metabolism slows down in order to match the amount of calories that you’re consuming. The key is to eat enough foods so that the body doesn’t think that you are starving. Do not restrict your calories. Most people do not understand that the body actually stops burning fat when you don’t consume enough calories.
What type of nutritional value does a calorie restrictive diet have? The body needs a balance of nutrients in order to function properly. Think about high calorie low nutrient foods and their benefits. Are you eating 1400 calories of fast food, candy and other unhealthy foods? Or are you eating 1400 calories of healthy nutritious foods?
The calories eaten must have some type of nutritional value. They will not serve any purpose if they are void of nutrition. So in order for a calorie restrictive diet to be beneficial, you can’t load up on junk food and other unhealthy foods when counting calories.
Dieting is hard to do when you’re all alone, but even more difficult when you’re with your family or in a social setting. Cooking for the family becomes a hassle when you’re on a restrictive diet. Planning your meals and cooking for everyone else is not only time consuming, but it is also very inconvenient.
In addition, how and what do you eat during the holidays? Are you going to limit yourself and count calories when Grandma’s pavlova is a part of the Mothers Day feast? Or what are you going to do when everyone is sitting around the table on Christmas Day eating Bread rolls, sugar glazed ham and cheese and crackers? The average person shouldn’t have to follow a calorie restrictive diet during times like these, and they usually don’t.
Reduced Food Choices
A huge problem with calorie restricted diet plans is that many of them tell you to only eat certain types of foods. Many of these foods usually have the same taste appeal as an old tire cooked in tomato sauce. Sounds Good :/ .. not really. Eating in this manner makes it hard to stick with a diet such as this, and this leads to the real explanation of why calorie restrictive diets are not that advantageous.
Short Term Value
Following this type of diet can be successful up to a certain point. But there is a catch to following a calorie restrictive diet. Unfortunately, even if you do derive benefits from this type of diet, they are a temporary fix only. The average person can maintain this kind of diet for the rest of their life.
Be honest with yourself. Do you really think that you’lll be able to stick with just eating 1400 or 1500 calories per day? What if you had to count calories and could eat as much as 2000 calories per day? Let’s take this thought process a little bit further? Can you honestly say that you are willing to count calories on a daily basis for the rest of your life? Ponder that thought for a long time. This means that you must commit to counting the caloric value of every piece of food that you eat…. forever.
Why subject yourself to a life of smaller tasteless meals or snacks that aren’t satisfying? Sadly, a lot of people won’t be able to stick with a calorie restrictive diet for the long haul, and this is the main reason that this type of diet only has short term benefits.
Whole Foods: The Healthy and Smart Way to Eat
As you can see, there are so many reasons for why calorie restrictive diets are NOT going to do you any good in the long run. So, what is the solution for living an enjoyable life filled with healthy food? Learn how eat whole foods in moderation. Learn the nutritional value of foods and eat a well balanced diet. Basically, learn how to eat real food again. Don’t shy away from fats, carbs, meat, sweets, dairy or anything else that you want to eat within moderation. If you want a good book to read and enjoy the science of food digestion and the metabolism we are brought into this world with then I suggest the Metabolic Typing diet by William Wollcott.
I warn you though, only if you like the Science of everything, just like me. There is a rigorous questionnaire that you can take to determine your personal metabolic type. I have since revised this myself over the last decade and have narrowed in down to about 20 questions which can determine your metabolic type. The book has about 75 questions. I suggest you give it a go though.
Why have I have I chosen this method of nutrition? I can give you an axample. My father is Dutch and he was born in Holland. Most of my ancestors are Western European. My mother on the other hand is Australian and her ancestors are from both Australia and western Europe. Fruits and vegetables in Western Europe are only available 5 months of the year which is June through to October. Here is Australia our best time for Fruits and vegetables is October through to June. It is a huge shift in my metabolism to change my diet to a completely different time of year. My body metabolises meats, fruits and vegetables different compared to if both my parents ancestors were Australian living on this side of the equator. Make Sense? Can you imagine the typical person from China coming to Australia and eating a diet full of Pizza, burgers and Beer? No wonder there is so much disease in the world . The questionnaire in William Wolcotts book asks you questions like how do you feel after foods such such as Ice Cream, Pasta and high fat meals. And you know what? if you’re one of the rare people that say to me ‘but I don’t eat those things!’ then guess what? this will be a fun experiment for you won’t it!
The Whole Foods Lifestyle
Exactly what are whole foods? They are foods that are in their natural state. They are not processed. They are nutritious because they are still in their natural state. They don’t contain extra chemicals that are not good for the body. This type of food is unrefined and can be eaten raw or cooked. It is in its purest form, and it is full of nutrients and antioxidants, which means that they help the body to function at an optimal level.
Embracing an eating routine that contains whole foods is not considered a diet trend. It is a part of a healthy lifestyle. There are no restrictions. It is just a matter of eating real foods. However, understand that eating whole foods means to actually eat the item without changing its natural state. Eat it without battering, skinning or changing it in any way. Don’t load your lean cuts of meat down with greasy batter. Don’t feel guilty about eating whole foods. For some people, this will require getting used to real foods again. You’ve been programmed to see certain foods as bad foods. Don’t be afraid to put real butter on your baked potato. This is a good form of fat that will help stabilize your blood sugar. Yes, whole foods taste yummy and are very satisfying, which is a good thing. This is totally different from a majority of calorie restrictive diets, which make you feel deprived of food.
The Benefits of Eating Whole Foods
You may feel that maintaining a whole food diet is going to take too much time or that it will cost a lot of money. But with this type of diet, the benefits far outweigh the small inconveniences. In addition, it provides a better foundation for living.
You’ll eat real foods such as lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, spices, beans, dairy products, eggs, oils, vegetables, herbs, grains and nuts. Depending on what metabolic type you are as descried in the metabolic typing diet, you’re the ratio’s will vary. These grocery items that can be purchased from your local grocer. There is no need to purchase expensive pre-packaged diet meals and supplements.
Think about the many recipes that can be created with whole foods. Not only do they taste good, but they are filled with plenty of nutrition. They keep you healthy and could possibly help you to lose weight as well. The same thing cannot be said for calorie restrictive diets that limit your food choices and eventually slow down your metabolism. This makes it almost impossible to lose weight.
Whole Foods and Antioxidants
Another great thing about whole foods is that many of them contain plenty of antioxidants. Free radicals are kept under control via antioxidants. If they become uncontrollable, it can lead to unwanted health conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and even cancer. Antioxidants also help to make the immune system stronger. A weak immune system can not only lead to sickness, but also increase your stress level. Thus, it is best to boost your consumption of foods such as nuts, seeds, spinach and tomatoes if you want to ward off stress and sickness.
In Summary, Calorie Restrictive or Whole Food Diets?
It is said that it takes a lot of willpower and discipline to go on a diet and follow it long enough to lose weight. But everyone who has ever gone on a diet knows that fat loss is only guaranteed if you remain on the diet. One you stop eating the reduced amount of calories, the weight slowly creeps back on. This is especially the case for calorie restrictive diets because a lot of people find them hard to follow for long periods of time.
The bottom line is that most people cannot follow a calorie restrictive diet. But on the flip side, there is a small segment of the population that can follow a calorie restrictive diet for one or two years or however many years it takes for them to get to their goal weight. It may take years of carefully planned meals and counting calories to get back into their favourite jeans from high school, but they are willing to follow the plan in order to reach this wonderful goal.
But what happens next? The average person stops counting calories and starts to pack on the kilos again. Or the stress level goes up and the energy level goes down. But this does not happen with a diet that contains real foods that are tasty, satisfying and healthy. You eat normally, and your body adapts to your new way of healthy living. Your skin clears up, your energy level shoots up, you are not as stressed, and the kilos gradually start to fall off. This is something that isn’t going to happen with dieters who follow calorie restrictive diets.
In conclusion, here may be some benefits to eating a calorie restrictive diet. This type of diet can help you to lose weight, stay healthy and live a long life if you can stick with the diet. Is this really something that you can do for the rest of your life? Why put yourself through this when you don’t have to? Don’t restrict your foods or your happiness. Eat real whole foods, get healthy and enjoy life.
Give it a read