BWW Blog: MFF Discusses The Best Diet for Fat Loss - Atkins, The Zone, Mediterranean & More!
Disclaimer: I have to give total credit for this post to Fitness Super Hero John Berardi of Precision Nutrition. It's largely inspired by a speech I saw him give recently, but it really crystallized a lot of what I've been thinking recently.
Anyone who works in the fitness industry is constantly being asked questions about what to eat. Folks will read a diet book, or they'll see an expert on a morning show, and they'll be curious to know my perspective on it. And this makes sense, because it's confusing as shit to hear so many mixed messages.
There are books vilifying virtually every possible ingredient; meat, dairy, casein, carbs, fat, saturated fat, soy, corn, gluten, wheat, grains, sugar, fructose, non-organic produce. With a dizzying array of diets from Atkins to Ornish, from the Zone to the Mediterranean, these books bury consumers with promises of the One True Way. And when virtually all of these books are written by articulate, persuasive, and generally well-intentioned authors (virtually all doctors)... it can leave readers a bit lost.
Having seen folks thrive on all types of diets, and knowing that historically humankind has subsisted on an incredible variety of food intake, I think everyone seeking "the best diet" is unfortunately barking up the wrong tree.
You are unique.
There is no best diet. There's the diet that you can sustain with food you like that's logistically feasible for YOU. (TWEET)
WHAT DO I EAT?
When you look at studies comparing the long-term results of any given diet, what we've seen is that over time any difference in fat loss begins to even out. It would seem that compliance really is the most important variable. Fat loss and getting leaner is really a matter of taking in less energy than you're burning.
Some diets maintain you can eat unlimited calories because it's "really about hormones." This is not based on either logic or science. Just as no sensible person will say that quality of calories doesn't matter, to say calories are meaningless is also fraudulent.
(TANGENT: If you say, "We need to debunk the calorie is just a calorie myth," you're putting up a straw man argument. No reasonable person has ever said that, outside MAYBE the extreme "If It Fits Your Macros" crowd on bodybuilding.com forums. Stop trying to sell your book by talking about "the truth they don't want you to know.")
When we concede there are healthy lean people with great blood profiles subsisting on all kinds of diets, we also must concede there is no one magic bullet. And when we look for one (or try to sell one), we're doing violence to the larger societal conversation.
Anyone can grind it out for a few weeks, but what do you enjoy doing for the long haul?