When it comes to dieting there are so many diets claiming to be the best for fat loss, which quite frankly can make it all to confusing. Are you following the correct one? Is your diet right for your body composition? Will not eating at certain times of the day promote fat loss?
In this article we look at some of the more popular diets from keto, paleo, intermittent fasting & carb cycling diets. Identifying what each one is and then what one will be best for you to help you lose body fat at the fastest rate.
To begin with let me please state that I am in no way a nutritionist, all my knowledge has just been obtained though courses and research.
First let’s take a look at the keto diet. In recent years this has become hugely popular, I mean why not, your using FAT as the energy/fuel source for your body. For those who don’t know, the keto diet is the manipulation of carbohydrates.
The human body’s main function is survival. Without having its primary fuel source (carbohydrates) entering the body it now has to change and use another fuel source and this is produced by the liver, called ketones hence the name ‘keto diet’. Making fat utilization becomes a priority over glucose.
Now I don’t want to go through the ins and outs of how it works, if you would like to know more about it than check out my article next week where I go into more detail.
In short Carbohydrates are massively reduced to nearly non-existent and fats are increased, whilst maintain a sufficient amount of protein.
Next we look at a diet called intermittent fasting. Now there’s multiple different types of intermittent fasting but today I’m going to talk about the more popular one, which is a 16hr fast with an 8hr eating window.
The normal eating window is 12pm-8pm when you consume all your daily calories. For some people it’s ideal, if they are trying for lean gains or trying to reduce food consumption, as they only have to make it through the morning without eating. For me it wouldn’t work as I have to eat first thing when I wake up and like many others l won’t function at my best if I’m starving and thinking about food
For others it won’t be ideal if you train in the morning, as you will be running on empty and be reducing the output in your session making it less productive. Then you will not be replenishing your muscles after using their glycogen stores let alone providing the muscle with any protein to repair the damage muscle fibres due to training.
If you are trying to put on weight/gain muscle it may be quite hard to fit a vast amount of food in between these times, it all depends on what your life style is like.
But if you trying to cut down the amount you eat and you can function alright when you haven’t eaten for a long period of time then it maybe for you. At the end of the day your pretty much just skipping a meal (breakfast) one less meal = less calories consumed in the day.
The third diet I’ll be talking to you about is carb cycling, its themanipulation of your carbohydrates so that your daily calorie goal differs, but it equals to the same total when added together other the week. This differs to a normal split which is divided evenly through the number of days in the week. So, throughout the week you rotate through high, medium and low days although it doesn’t have to go in that order. An example would be;
- Monday – medium carb day – interval training
- Tuesday – higher carb day – weight training
- Wednesday – low carb day – rest day
- Thursday – higher carb day – weight training
- Friday – medium carb day – interval training
- Saturday – higher carb day – weight training
- Sunday – low carb day -rest day
An argument you see often in the fitness industry is that some people say you need the high carbs for the days you weight train as you need maximum output on those days, as l have shown above.
But then you hear other people say it should be the day after, as that’s when you are recovering and needing to replenish your glycogen stores.
That’s the fantastic thing about the fitness industry there are always different views on how things should be done and there is not simply one answer, but can be what best suits you.
Finally we look at the Paleo diet, adiet that goes back to the way of our ancestors, eating as naturally as possible, choosing grass fed meats, a vast amount of fruit and veg as well as whole food, such as nuts and seeds.
The common terms for this diet are the cave man diet, the hunter gatherer diet and the paleo diet.
This diet is pre-agricultural so certain things in today’s society are to go a miss such as refined and added sugars, dairy products, refined or hydrogenated vegetable oil as well as processed foods.
The paleo diet is described to promote a more natural way of eating with low levels of sugar and salt plus the elimination of processed, refined foods. Lower in carbs and rich in lean protein, vegetables and fruit .
So what’s the best diet?
Out of these four popular diets which one is best for fat loss?
It all comes down to calories in V calories out no matter what diet you follow if you’re in a deficit (consuming less than your maintenance) you’re going to be losing weight!
As long as you don’t have any health problems you can follow any diet it’s all about what fits best into your life style.
It doesn’t matter if your using ketones (fat) for energy or glycogen (carbohydrates) when the bodies in a deficit it’s going to be using your its stored energy (body fat) as fuel.
I personally believe that a healthy diet is a balanced one. With a mixture of protein, fats and carbohydrates alongside and abundance of vegetables and fruit. Different foods have different nutrients so sticking to the exact same meals every day, may be be restricting your body from certain benefits. Therefore, changing your meals from week to week will optimise your bodies functions.
When clients come to me, they have the perception that to lose weight you can only consume salads and drink water. They are then pleasantly surprised by discovering that this is definitely not the case.
Every meal should contain protein, fats and carbohydrates, but how much? This varies in relation to each individual, taking into consideration what your goals is, age, sex, lifestyle and training frequency.
Although when in a deficit, I would advise eating around training times to optimise your training sessions as this is when you want maximum out put.
The best diet in the world in the one you can stick to!