In a world of viral videos and internet trends, there seems to be a new diet every day. Just hop online or browse through the bookstore. You’ll find no shortage of “groundbreaking” findings that seem to be all the rage. It also changes by the day, and needless to say, the overflow of information can get really confusing. So how do you navigate all of this?
First, recognize where you are getting such info. According to Michigan State University Extension, 49 percent of adults use the Internet to learn about food. Social networking is the most popular medium, but 40 percent of adults also check on websites, apps, and blogs.1
These sources can provide a great deal of knowledge, but it’s crucial to absorb this information with a good head on your shoulders. So before you consider a diet, look for these core values of healthy eating recommendations. You might be surprised at what you don’t find.
Principles Of A Healthy Diet To Follow
1. Science-Backed Research
Before swearing by a diet or even just a single food, do your research.
In the same vein, look at who is supporting the diet. This will say a lot about the integrity of the eating plan. For instance, is it a blogger or celebrity without any professional credentials? A retail company selling a specific product? Or is it an experienced doctor who has done experiments on the topic? Pay attention to who is sending the message.
3. One-Size-Fits-All Approach
When it comes to food, everyone has different needs. What works for you might not work for the next person. Most importantly, diseases and allergies need to be considered. If a diet suggests that the plan can work for everyone, look the other way.
Principles Of A Healthy Eating Plan
Ultimately, there is no one perfect eating plan for everyone. Healthy habits will look different from person to person, but by considering these core values, you can make the best decision for your body.
1. Major Macronutrients
The major macronutrients include carbohydrate, protein, and fat. You also need all 3 to survive! A diet that cuts out a major macronutrient means trouble, so be cautious.
One might argue that research has found success in high-protein diets with little to no carbs, but it’s only temporary. Any weight that is lost during the first week is just water weight, and the body won’t have glucose for fuel.2 In turn, fat will break down into ketone bodies, which isn’t the best energy for the brain.3
Instead of ditching a macronutrient, aim for overall balance and “good” and “bad”
- 45 to 65 percent carbs
- 20 to 35 percent fat
- 15 to 20 percent from protein4
Variety is key to a truly healthy diet. “Everything in moderation,” as they say! And yes, that even includes nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. The more variety, the more nutrients your diet will have. With that said, avoid any plan that has severe restrictions. It’s a tell-tale sign that it isn’t a balanced, wholesome diet.
3. Adequate Energy
Cutting back calories might be vital for weight loss, but it’s also important to get enough. How else will you power through exercise and everyday tasks? The body needs calories to sustain itself, so be sure to give it the energy it needs.
Furthermore, caloric restriction can lead to starvation mode and slow down metabolism.5 It’s the exact opposite of what you want.
4. Healthy Weight Loss
Need help making food choices? Consult a health coach or nutritionist. It’s the best way to receive personalized guidance for your own goals, current health status, and any underlying diseases.
|↑1||Social media has the opportunity to influence food preferences. Michigan State University Extension.|
|↑2||Denke, Margo A. “Metabolic effects of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets.” The American journal of cardiology 88, no. 1 (2001): 59-61.|
|↑3||D’Anci, Kristen E., Kara L. Watts, Robin B. Kanarek, and Holly A. Taylor. “Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets. Effects on cognition and mood.” Appetite 52, no. 1 (2009): 96-103.|
|↑4||Table, Macronutrients. “Dietary reference intakes for energy, carbohydrate, fiber, fat, fatty acids, cholesterol, protein, and amino acids.” (2005).|
|↑5||Berg, J. M., J. L. Tymoczko, and L. Stryer. “Food Intake and Starvation Induce Metabolic Changes.” Biochemistry, (2002).|
|↑6||Losing Weight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|