Nutrition | Weight Loss

Best Diet For Weight Loss?

Best diet for weight loss?

In my many years of coaching clients, I've had a host of them enter my practice with “diet experience.” Some have followed low-carb diets similar to the Atkins Diet. Others have followed low-fat diets similar to the Ornish Diet. And others have followed more “balanced” plans similar to the Zone Diet. Even more interestingly, I had one client follow all three plans at one point or another and in conjunction with exercise, achieved similar weight loss results with each of the three plans! Unfortunately, despite divergent diet philosophies and consistent weight loss, his end result was always the same; he regained the weight and then some before trying the next diet.

So, we've got three wildly different plans and successful weight loss with each one. Some would ask the question, “How can this be?” I would ask the question, “Are these plans so different after all?” You see, instead of focusing on the differences between the three strategies that achieve the same result, I think it's more important to focus on the similarities. Indeed, perhaps the differences aren't all that important and the results lie in the similarities.

So, what are the similarities? Well, the biggest one, the reason why my client got results with a low-carb diet, a low-fat diet, and a balanced macronutrient diet, is the fact that all three plans forced him to follow the first rule of good nutrition. All three plants, in conjunction with the exercise plan forced him to control his energy balance. That is that the energy flow out of the body exceeds the energy flow into the body to achieve weight loss. And if someone achieves weight loss with each of these plans discussed here, it must be due to the negative energy balance, not the lack of carbs or the reduction of fat or a specific macronutrient ratio. So how do all three create a negative energy balance? Here's how:

  1. The very process of following a weight loss plan tends to reduce calorie intake, helping decrease energy in and helping to shift the body toward a more negative energy balance.

  2. Exercise programs also help to contribute to the negative energy balance by helping to increase energy out.

  3. The Atkins and Ornish plans require dieters to restrict their intake of either dietary carbohydrate or dietary fat. And the Zone plan requires creating specific ratios of these macronutrients ratios which lead to eating of less total food.

I hope it's now evident why my client had weight loss success with the Atkins, Ornish, and Zone plans. It was not some magical, mythical macronutrient mix. However, it's also important to remember that all three experiments ultimately failed; This guy had rebound weight gain each time. And this weight gain was a result of several non-food related limiting factors. After giving up, he got off track, stopped exercising and started eating poorly again. However, it wasn't the food that causes this it was a host of Lifestyle problems that triggered the relapse. Indeed, it was only when, working with my team, he addressed these factors that he changed his fundamental habits and he lost his excess body fat for good.

If you want to learn more about how you can help clients succeed with good nutrition, check out the ISSA’s comprehensive course on Fitness Nutrition.

John Berardi

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