We don’t love the word diet because “diet” is used too often indicate a short-term, restrictive meal plan, but your diet is as essential to your health as exercise or sleep.
There are so many diets out there, but most of them are either unsustainable, or downright unhealthily, so we are going to break down our favorite long term, sustainable ways of eating that will ensure you stay on track with your healthy lifestyle.
The Mediterranean diet mirrors the traditional cooking style of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and incorporates mainly fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains. The focus is on plant-based foods and replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil. Bonus for this style of diet, you can even enjoy wine in moderation!
Why it works
The Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases as well as a reduced risk of breast cancer in women. In fact, most scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt to a style of eating similar to the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic illnesses.
The DASH diet focuses heavily on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats while reducing sodium intake. It was originally created by researchers who noticed high blood pressure was much less common in people who followed a plant-based diet. This diet is low in red meat, salt, added sugars and fat. DASH doesn’t spell out the exact foods you need to eat, but it does make you more mindful of the types of foods you should be consuming.
Why it works
Whether or not you lose weight, you will most likely experience lower blood pressure when following this meal plan. Given that DASH cuts out a lot of high-fat, sugary foods, people find they automatically reduce their calorie intake leading to weight loss.
The Volumetrics diet is an eating plan that aims to help you quit yo-yo dieting by living a healthy lifestyle based on eating nutritious food and incorporating regular exercise. Volumetrics focuses on the energy density of foods meaning eating foods that have a low-energy density and high-water content, such as fruits, beans and vegetables.
Why it works
Eating low-calorie, high-volume foods allows you to eat as much as you’d like and eliminate the feelings of hunger, fatigue and depression that can accompany other diets. This style of eating is more about what healthy foods you can add to your diet rather than what you should take away. Since this plan includes foods packed with water and fiber, it increases your sense of fullness. There aren’t food restrictions as long as you stay within the recommended calorie intake.
With all three of these types of diets, veggies and whole foods are a common thread. If weight loss is your goal, pairing your healthy meal plan with regular exercise will torch calories and improve your chances of weight loss.