Every diet in the world is vying for your attention. There are way too many and they're all over Facebook.
Hopefully you never clicked on a link about ANY diet because of the incessant ads that follow.
And comparing them all? Forget it.
Granted, you could head over to US News. Every year, they have a battle royale with all the diets to see who comes out on top.
Spoiler alert: it's the Mediterranean diet... which recently ousted DASH that enjoyed 8 years as #1.
Of course it is. Especially because you probably don't even know DASH isn't someone's name. It means Dietary Approaches for Stopping Hypertension. Yup. It's a diet for people with high blood pressure. It may or may not apply to you.
So how do you know where to look?
I'll get to that soon. Before I do though, let me help eliminate a few for you.
Beward fad diets
This is pretty obvious. Some celebrity goes on some crazy diet and loses tons of weight. It's too hard to ignore the very visible results -- especially when it looks like their abs could grate a giant wheel of Parmesan.
Like that time Beyonce showed the world what happens when you do the Master Cleanse. Who knew drinking spicy lemonade for 2 weeks make the pounds positively melt off?
Or the cabbage soup diet... If that's unappealing to you, there's always the grapefruit diet.
It's easy to critique these diets and throw them in the trash... if you have strong willpower and aren't looking for a quick fix. But if you want a beach bod in virtually no time at all, they're almost too compelling to ignore.
Basic rule: if a diet limits you to only a few foods or just a few calories, it's probably not something you want to try.
Nutrient deficiencies that lead to brittle bones and weak muscles aside, the second you have a fork of chocolate cake, all that weight comes storming back. And it's worse than before.
The keto diet?
There are plenty of people who do well on the keto diet. They lose massive amounts of weight. They're said to think clearer... the sun comes out and clears the brain fog... nice, clean skin.
The keto diet eschews virtually all carbs and leaves you with fat and protein, with fat vastly outweighing protein. Because your body isn't getting carbs, it relies on fat for energy.
There's an adjustment period where you feel like absolute crap, but for those that can stick to it, they say it makes all the difference.
Other than being difficult to maintain (at some point, you'll figure out how that apple looked so tasty to Eve), people have a tendency to get in a food rut. They eat the same foods and meals every day.
This is a sure-fire way to miss out on critical vitamins and minerals that are abysmally low in fat and protein like magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin C.
And no, a multivitamin isn't going to fix this problem.
However, if you've got a neurological condition like epilepsy, the keto diet just might be the best thing for you.
This is the best diet
It's time to cut to the chase.
In short, restrictive diets can be dangerous. But let's be honest. You're not worried about that. It's incredibly difficult to remember what vitamins and minerals hang out in whatever you're eating. Nevermind trying to figure out if you're getting enough of them.
Your goal, ultimately, is to lose weight and feel better about yourself.
And there's not a single diet I can recommend to everyone that can do that. The best diet is the one you can stick to. If that's keto, cool. If it's Paleo, you're doing well.
Whatever it is you decide to do, these guidelines will, well, guide you so you can get the results you want.
1) Processed foods are absolute junk.
There are people that say Red 40 is bad for you, because it does x, y, and z. I haven't researched what it does or doesn't do because it doesn't matter.
There's no real way to know what a manmade chemical is going to do in your body. That goes for every dye, artificial sweetener, and chemical-looking names you can't pronounce or have to look up in your phone.
2) Sugar invites death.
Too much sugar will depress your immune system. It'll have horrifying effects on your heart. Your liver. All your organs. It's best to entirely remove it except for some sugar from fruits and maybe a little bit of a natural sweetener like raw honey.
3) Not all fats are bad.
This phrase is becoming tired, but it still needs to be said. Poor fat was given the wrong name. Fat doesn't automatically make you fat. It's highly condensed energy and needs to be treated as such.
It's satiating and contains all sorts of essential fatty acids that you can't make on your own.
Reach for extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts. And let trans fat, hydrogenated anything, and margarine.
4) Real foods are best.
Don't get existential here. Real food is single ingredient food. Carrot, broccoli, fish, beef. You get the idea. Sausage, as much as you may love it, is probably processed.
Mayonnaise (eggs + olive oil) and other foods that mix more than one whole food are fine. Use your best judgement here.
5) Don't forget about frozen vegetables.
Frozen vegetables often get ignored because they're not "fresh". But they're frozen at the peak of ripeness, aren't at risk of getting squished and bruised... and it doesn't matter if you don't eat them within a few days. If you're not going to eat your produce within 3 days, it's not worth buying because the nutrients will degrade.
What to do if you're not losing weight
Unless you're doing some sort of cleanse, water is typically ignored. But it's arguably the most important part of your diet -- especially if you're not losing weight.
Not drinking enough water will leave you bloated, heavy, and miserable.
And if you feel like you're eating too many calories, drink at least a half glass of water BEFORE you start eating. It'll make all the difference.
Speaking of calories, DON'T COUNT THEM. At least, not right away.
Again, the biggest problem people have with sticking to a diet is being too restrictive. If you start counting every single calorie that goes into your body, you get frustrated and wind up loading up too much in one meal. You'll wind up hangry and the stress will be too much.
So just eat until you're full. Enjoy your food. You're not a machine.