Before considering this question, let’s start by acknowledging that “Diet” is a 4-letter word! The answer is “it depends.” They do and they don’t.
One thing I can say with certainty… a ‘diet’ that does NOT work is SAD….the Standard American Diet. So, anything that moves you away from SAD will be beneficial. Here are some past blogs where I’ve discussed SAD:
There are no shortage of diets out there: Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Keto, Mediterranean, Pescatarian, South Beach, Atkins… you get the idea. These fit the definition of “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.” The positive way to look at a diet is not one that is temporary, but one that is sustainable for the goal of a healthy lifestyle.
A diet works if it works for you.
How do you know if it works for you? This is somewhat subjective, but a couple of clues. Are you moving toward (or staying at) your target weight? Do you feel good? Do you have energy? Can you sleep well? Is the diet ‘satisfying’ and no indigestion? If you’re on a ‘diet’ and you’re miserable then it isn’t really working for you.
One thing that all diets (that work!) have in common is they are ‘real food’. What is ‘real food’ you ask? In the most basic terms real food is meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. If you stick with those things, you will avoid virtually everything that is problematic with the Standard American Diet. BTW, when I say ‘fruits and vegetables’ I mean actual fruits and vegetables…not candied fruit, not fruit juice, not fruit roll ups, not vegetable chips…I mean the actual thing that falls off the tree or comes out of the ground!
So, diets that work are tasty, satisfying and are ‘real food’. If you do that then you aren’t “on a diet”… you’re simply eating in a way that is healthy, sustainable and that works for you. Regardless of how it is categorized.
By Dr. Michael Bilof
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