What’s the healthiest diet? To be honest, I don’t know. I’ve studied nutrition a lot and experimented with intermittent fasting, even the more extreme version of eating one meal a day.
I spoke with doctors, I read books and I went to conferences on this topic. I have some healthy eating habits that I follow, one is drinking the best greens powder each day, but I’ve seen people swearing by all sorts of diets that it got me thinking.
Some people adopt a specific diet for ethical reasons, like not wanting to kill animals, which is noble but is it healthy for vegans?
I know that eating a healthy diet requires sacrifices, like reducing sugar (I love chocolate and cakes) but how much effort is too much and ends up by making the diet not sustainable for the long-term? There are many diets that eliminate whole food categories some limiting drastically the options of what we can eat.
In my opinion, some examples of drastic diets are the carnivore diet (you can only eat meat and nothing else), vegan keto, and raw vegan. Still, even these diets have some enthusiastic supporters, including doctors.
To shed some light on this matter I reached out to 61 nutritionists and health bloggers to find out what they think. The question that I asked them was:
What is the healthiest diet that ensures all the necessary daily nutrition?
I arranged the answers by categories, starting from the most popular diets and ending with some uncommon diets.
- Non-Restrictive Diet/ Flexitarian diet – 22 votes
- The Mediterranean Diet – 14 votes
- Vegan/Plant-Based Diet – 11 votes
- Paleo Diet – 4 votes
- The Ketogenic Diet (Keto) – 2 votes
- The Macros Diet – 2 votes
- The Carnivore Diet – 1 vote
- The Macrobiotic Diet – 1 vote
- Low Carb Diet – 1 vote
- Fab Four – 1 vote
- Ayurveda – 1 vote
- Couture Nutrition – 1 vote
You can click on the blue Table of Contents just below to go straight to the diet that interests you the most.
- 1 Non-Restrictive Diet/ Flexitarian diet
- 1.1 Dr. Kim Peirano – Your True Body
- 1.2 Summer Yule
- 1.3 Robert Herbst – W8lifterusa.com
- 1.4 Lisa Young
- 1.5 Melanie Eager – Eager for Life
- 1.6 Kiran Dodeja Smith – Easy Real Food
- 1.7 Pamela Crane – Interoceptive Performance
- 1.8 Jamie Hickey – Truism Fitness
- 1.9 Meghan Kennihan – Train With Meghan
- 1.10 Pam Sherman – The Perfect Balance
- 1.11 Melissa Eboli – Via Melissa
- 1.12 Esther Avant
- 1.13 Trish Barry – Jack City Fitness
- 1.14 Elaine Taylor-Klaus – Impact Parents
- 1.15 Luke Jones – Hero Movement
- 1.16 Carlotta Petti – My DNA
- 1.17 Yocheved Golani – e-Counseling
- 1.18 Tim Liu Fitness
- 1.19 Caleb Gray – Click Physiotherapy
- 1.20 Jenny Zhang – Organically Blissful
- 1.21 Sarah Cull – Life In Full Flavour
- 1.22 Mark Moon Fitness
- 2 The Mediterranean Diet
- 2.1 Hope Zvara – Mother Trucker Yoga
- 2.2 Sonila Zarate – Mediterranean Latin Love Affair
- 2.3 Alessa Caridi – JobuFIT
- 2.4 Alex Johnson – Med Munch
- 2.5 Karen Shopoff Rooff – Well Balanced Women
- 2.6 Dr. Yelena Deshko – Timeless Health Clinic
- 2.7 Jennifer Hanes – Dietitian Jenn
- 2.8 Donna Rose – Nona’s Nutrition Notes
- 2.9 Amanda Kostro Miller – Fitter Living
- 2.10 Niki Campbell – The Flourish Group
- 2.11 Paula Sturm – Radically Nourished
- 2.12 Adam Kemp Fitness
- 2.13 Jeff Parke – Top Fitness Mag
- 2.14 Erin Hendrickson – No Waste Nutrition
- 3 Vegan/Plant-Based Diet
- 3.1 Katy Malkin – Learner Vegan
- 3.2 Amanda Webster Health
- 3.3 Jinan Banna
- 3.4 Hannah Faulkner – Half Moon Yoga and Art
- 3.5 Jack Anderson – Sport Fitness Advisor
- 3.6 Deepak Shukla – Plant Sumo
- 3.7 Liz Madsen – Zardy Plants
- 3.8 Julie Cunningham
- 3.9 Jason Hughes – Vegan Liftz
- 3.10 Lisa Goodwin – 2 Share My Joy
- 3.11 Heather Donahue – Heather’s Health Habits
- 4 Paleo
- 5 The Macros Diet
- 6 The Ketogenic diet (Keto)
- 7 The Carnivore Diet
- 8 The Macrobiotic Diet
- 9 Low Carb Diet
- 10 Fab Four
- 11 Ayurveda
- 12 Couture Nutrition
Non-Restrictive Diet/ Flexitarian diet
Dr. Kim Peirano – Your True Body
Contrary to popular/trending beliefs, there is actually NO best diet that exists. This is because dietary and nutritional needs vary wildly from individual to individual.
The factors at play can be the environment, location, lifestyle, body type, exercise habits, job, emotional health, physical health, underlying diseases and so much more. It would be entirely negligent to suggest that anyone diet is the best diet or that it could provide adequate nutrition as a blanket statement.
A person with epilepsy may find the keto diet fits their needs best because it helps to manage their condition, whereas a person who works out often or has an active job may actually lose lean muscle mass while following keto due to the limitations in protein consumption.
A vegan diet may work well for someone who needs to lower saturated fat intake like someone with risk factors for heart disease whereas a person who is anemic may do poorly on a vegan diet.
Someone who lives in a more rural or lower-income neighborhood may simply not have access to enough food that meets paleo or Whole30 requirements and thus would not be able to be successful at it without a huge hurdle to overcome as to how to source their food. As we can see, there are many factors that go into choosing the best diet for you – as a unique individual.
The best diet for you is always the one that works best for you, plain and simple. If we’re trying to achieve results like weight loss, weight gain, or improved health – and we use unsustainable methods to get there we will immediately begin to lose those results once we ‘finish’ our diet and revert back to old ways of eating.
So we need to find a diet that works with your lifestyle and preferences so that the changes we seek are not only attainable but sustainable long term. Being stressed about a rigid diet actually does not contribute to our health and can even deter it, so find something you enjoy and works within your lifestyle, budget, and means.
I always suggest hiring the help of a professional if you are confused or you do have health issues that need to be addressed because the flashy fad online is not always the right course of action for you as an individual (often it’s not even close).
A trained professional can help you target foods or sometimes supplements to offset what you’re lacking or getting too much of and can help you hone in a diet plan that works just for you. Always be wary of anyone who claims a ‘one size fits all’ approach, as this road is a dangerous path that can lead to bouncing back down the road.
There is no single healthiest diet that ensures all the necessary daily nutrition. That is because there are numerous combinations of foods that can help you meet your essential nutrient needs. Many of the dietary patterns that I would consider most healthful don’t fit neatly under a special diet label.
Additionally, what is considered a healthy diet for one individual may not be healthy for another. For example, seafood is generally considered healthful, and fatty fish can be an important source of omega-3 fatty acids.
However, for individuals with a seafood allergy, the healthiest choice is to avoid seafood. We’re all different, so it is wonderful that there are so many healthy ways to eat.
The healthiest diet for you is the one that aligns with your dietary preferences, personal health goals, and medical needs. The diet should also fit your budget and lifestyle. Ideally, I recommend that people eat in a way where their nutrient needs are met with whole foods rather than supplements and fortified foods. Whole foods are items like meats, eggs, dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
However, when this is not possible, supplements and fortified foods may play an important role in the diet. For example, vegans should ensure adequate intake of vitamin B12 with supplements and fortified foods since this vitamin is not naturally present in plant foods.
Those on a keto diet may benefit from an electrolyte supplement. In general, the more types of whole foods that you cut out of your diet, the more likely that you’ll need to rely on supplementation.
Robert Herbst – W8lifterusa.com
There are many diets out there, low carb, no-carb, paleo, Bronze Age, and lots of seemingly conflicting advice. The best diet is one you can follow without being a slave to it and which will give you the energy to get through a busy day of work, family, and exercise and be well and fit at the end of it. It is really the diet your mother told you to eat as a child: you should eat a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
You need protein because your muscles and organs are made of protein. You should eat about 1g. for every 2 pounds of body weight daily from lean meat, chicken, and fish spaced out over three meals and a healthful afternoon or post-exercise snack. Try a filling whey protein smoothie or peanut butter on whole-wheat bread instead of a 500 calorie grande latte.
You need carbohydrates for energy. Your muscles need carbs for glycogen to burn during exercise and your brain also runs on glycogen, so eating carbs will keep you sharp and alert. Give your brain and body the fuel they need with good carbs such as fruits, vegetables, and pasta.
Your body also needs fat for fuel and to maintain the brain, nerves, and other organs.
Eat good fats such as olive oil and oily fish like salmon.
When you eat a balanced diet, you will not feel like you are denying yourself and it will become part of your routine, like exercise. Also, when paired with exercise, 80%-90% compliance is enough.
There is room for pizza and wings at a Super Bowl party or hot dogs at a summer cookout. As with exercise, your body will develop a positive feedback loop and will feel logy if you eat too much junk and you will want to go back to wholesome food again.
The best diet is creating a healthy lifestyle, eating foods from all the food groups, and practicing portion control. All foods fit.
If you love food, don’t give it up. Enjoy it! Be mindful of your portion size. My research tracked the history of growing portion sizes (in particular, of ultra-processed foods) in the US and how it paralleled the rise in obesity. Larger portions contain more calories than smaller ones.
I advise clients to enjoy lots of colorful fruits and veggies. These are rich in antioxidant vitamins, fiber, and minerals.
Healthy eating should not be complicated or stressful! Focusing on choosing a variety of nutrient-dense foods is key to good health. Think about what you can add to your diet rather than take foods away— crowd it out, as I say!!
As an RDN counseling weight loss patients, I believe in portion control and making lifestyle changes for healthy weight loss as opposed to rigid diets. Practicing mindful eating and recognizing internal hunger cues is also key.
When you focus on eating mindfully, you slow down, pay attention to your internal hunger signals, and are more in touch with your thoughts and your body.
Melanie Eager – Eager for Life
The healthiest diet is the one that is right for YOU and YOUR BODY. There are nearly 7.6 billion people on this planet all with unique needs due to our genetics and our environment (epigenetics).
Only 60% of people are being given the right advice which is why some people never respond to a diet or exercise plan.
For example, the Mediterranean diet only works for 30-50% of the population and 20-30% of people don’t respond to an exercise plan given to them because it is wrong for THEIR BODY.
So many different types of diets work but they don’t work for everybody.
Our genes and our environment make up our own unique individual body; what this body requires depends on many factors.
Some people have a genetic SNP where they can’t metabolize lactose or gluten or coffee. Others can’t break down fat as effectively so these people wouldn’t be suited to a keto diet.
When we look at our genetic makeup and find out what is right for OUR BODY we start to thrive.
Don’t jump on the latest diet because it has worked for your best friend as they will have different genes, may have been born in another country, and therefore will have completely different needs to you.
Kiran Dodeja Smith – Easy Real Food
There is no one-size-fits-all diet. For some, paleo is it; others thrive on keto.
I personally follow a mostly plant-based grain-free diet, but I have occasional eggs and fish. My husband “needs” to eat meat at every meal. We are all different!
The important thing is to eat a variety of foods, eat seasonally, and incorporate real foods, to include fresh fruits and vegetables.
Pay attention to your body and how you feel after you eat – even a few days afterward, as food sensitivities can day a few days to kick in. Stay away from processed foods but don’t beat yourself up for enjoying the foods that you love here and there.
Pamela Crane – Interoceptive Performance
Most diets fail for a reason. Dieting culture is a roller coaster of “eat this”, “don’t eat this” that quite frankly can become overwhelming to try to navigate. Your diet should be thought of as a source of nourishment and not one of the limitations.
A better option might be to mindfully choose what fuels you. As a certified yoga therapist, I deal with interoception (tuning in to the sensations of the body). Using the information to determine if a particular food or set of foods makes you feel good or bad is the first step.
Having a mindset of eating in moderation is very important when considering your diet.
How does an extremely limiting intake of carbohydrates fit into that moderation mindset?
While there are studies that show extreme diets can be beneficial for particular groups with medical conditions (keto has been shown to help with Parkinson’s), generally nothing that goes to extreme limits is going to serve you or be sustainable.
Focusing on a well-rounded diet with a mindset of caring for yourself rather than limiting can be a first step in a way of healthy eating that is manageable as a lifestyle.
Jamie Hickey – Truism Fitness
You want to create a nutrition plan based around a balanced diet, it’s not exciting, but it is effective. If you eat a balanced diet of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean proteins, you will give your body all of the nutrients it needs to function correctly.
The problem with “fad diets” is that they all ask you to avoid a major food group.
For example, keto wants you to avoid carbs, and vegan wants you not to eat meat. This is okay for a short period, but it’s not sustainable for the rest of your life. The whole point behind eating differently and exercising is establishing a new lifestyle to live a healthier life.
Why would you want to practice a diet that will set you up for failure in the long run or cause you vitamin deficiencies due to the lack of meat or complex carbohydrates? The healthiest diet is one that consists of whole foods and limits the intake of processed foods.
Meghan Kennihan – Train With Meghan
I believe the best diet is REAL FOOD. I don’t believe in eliminating food groups completely as diets such as Keto and Vegan do. I go by J.E.R.F. Just Eat Real Food. Shop on the outside aisles of the grocery store where you can get fresh produce, meat, fish, whole grains, and dairy.
I prefer that my clients choose grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish instead of deli meats and farm-raised fish for sustainability and because there are no additives and added sugars.
Similarly, when picking dairy get grass-fed cheeses and for yogurts, cottage cheese, etc. get PLAIN so that there are no added sugars such as fruit on the bottom which is just sugar.
Sweeten your yogurt with cinnamon or fresh berries.
The majority of your diet should be fresh vegetables that you can eat raw, steam, bake, grill, etc. You should be getting 5-7 servings a day.
If you avoid packaged goods such as chips, white bread, cookies, crackers, etc. you will be a lot healthier, feel better, and live longer.
Pam Sherman – The Perfect Balance
People always want to lose weight and will grab onto the latest diet. They never looked at the health benefits or whether it was good for long term health.
We are a society that wants things now… hello Insta everything. Your health is one thing that will never, ever have a quick fix.
It’s not glamorous or sexy to do the workday in and day. Neither is it a quick fix, but the older I get(53) the more I look at how this diet is going to affect your health long term?
What is actually the best diet for you that you can continue for the rest of your life?
My answer is to eat mostly food grown from the ground. Focusing on a lot of vegetables daily, adding in some fruit, healthy fats, and some protein.
Depending on how old you are, think back to your grandparents or great grandparents. Their generation had very little disease compared to what we are currently experiencing. I’m convinced it’s the processed food-like substances that many are eating!
Look for food that doesn’t come with a nutrition label on it. In other words, just eat real food. Mostly loads of plants and stay away from processed foods. If you are reading a label and it has more than 5 ingredients, put it down. Or if you can’t pronounce a word or know what the ingredients are, put it down.
Real food for the win!
Melissa Eboli – Via Melissa
I am not a fan of putting labels on diets per se. But if I were to put a label on it, my approach to a balanced lifestyle for daily nutritional intake is clean eating or the Clean Food Diet coupled with an anti-inflammatory diet.
When eating clean, you are eating a variety of organic grains, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, and overall real food. You are steering clear of un-recognizable ingredients on food labels.
Meaning, if you can’t pronounce it or recognize it as a food, you shouldn’t be ingesting it.
When eating real food and in an abundance of different colors within the fruits and vegetables you are getting a well-rounded nutritional intake. And on the anti-inflammatory side, I err toward recommending this because it takes away so many health issues people have on a daily basis.
To be anti-inflammatory is to omit your intake of gluten and dairy. By doing this, it results in less bloat, better digestion, minimizes congestion, heals joint pain as well as reduced asthmatic flare-ups.
When combining these two notions together, you will have better immunity and a healthier lifestyle overall.
Some other diets you can do that fall within these principals include Paleo and Vegan as they do also overlap as long as you are sourcing clean foods while doing them.
I don’t believe there is one healthiest diet for everyone. I think the healthiest thing a person can do is to become aware of their current diet and daily habits.
The easiest way to do this is to track everything you eat and drink for a week (whether in an app, on paper, or in photos) to see what your normal choices look like. From there, you can work on making improvements over time toward a more nutrient-dense diet.
Most people do well eating a fairly balanced mix of proteins, carbs, and fats; focusing on mostly whole, nutrient-dense foods; and including their (potentially less nutritious) favorite foods in moderation. Diets that force people to eliminate foods they enjoy are rarely successful long-term.
Most people would benefit from learning how to indulge without going overboard and consistently eating pretty well, rather than oscillating between periods of all-out effort and no effort.
Trish Barry – Jack City Fitness
I don’t believe that there is a one size fits all diet that will ensure the optimum nutrition for everyone. Each person is their own, meaning they have different needs than the next person. This is why nutrition plans need to be tailored to the individual.
One person might thrive on carnivore, while another does better with LCHF (Low-Carb-High-Fat). Women have different needs than men.
Only one thing is for sure, they need to become metabolically sound. That is the ultimate goal, and that journey looks different for everyone.
Elaine Taylor-Klaus – Impact Parents
So, the best diet is the one that you’ll adhere to. It doesn’t really matter what you choose, if you don’t know why you’re dieting, and have a clear motivation to change your behaviors (and your outcomes), then its not likely to work.
It does help to know what fuels you and where you get your energy.
A person with ADHD needs to be aware of how protein supports their brain, for example, just as a very active athlete needs to be aware of what fuels their body.
But if you’re not bought into the diet — if it’s a fix instead of a real commitment to change, then it’s not likely to have the lasting results you wish.
Luke Jones – Hero Movement
My experience is that the healthiest diet can vary from person to person, and there doesn’t seem to be a one size fits all approach.
Some people thrive on a fully plant-based diet, whereas others seem to do better on a lower-carb, more Paleo-esq regime.
Ultimately, what’s important is that you’re able to find something that’s sustainable for you based on your environment, ancestry, gut biome, and genetic makeup.
A few principles that tend to be common amongst healthy individuals and populations known for their longevity include:
- Eating primarily whole plant foods that are fresh, come from the ground, and are minimally processed. This may or may not be supported by some high-quality animal products.
- Drinking mostly water (around 6-8 glasses per day) with some tea and coffee optional, and alcohol in moderation.
- Eating slowly and mindfully, and chewing each mouthful thoroughly. This reduces the likelihood that you’ll overeat and helps you to savor your food.
Beyond those basic principles, it’s up to you to be your own scientist, perform your own experiments, and find out what works best for you.
Carlotta Petti – My DNA
Because we are all different from each other, it’s clear that One size does not fit all, so there is no one diet that is the best for everyone.
In fact, if we give the same diet to a group of individuals for example for trying to lose weight, different individuals will achieve different results with the same approach.
This is because of our DNA.
We all share 99.9% of our DNA sequence as humans – that remaining 0.1% of the DNA is represented by small variations in the nucleotide sequence. These variations are called SNPs or polymorphisms and are what make us different from each other.
When we consider the genetics of a person, we can give much more tailored nutrition advice that is based on their DNA and is specific for their goal, whereby some people may need more protein to lose weight, or others may need more carbs or may need to reduce their fat intake – for example.
So, a personalized approach to Nutrition is the way to find the healthiest diet FOR YOU and it can be achieved by overlaying DNA information with lifestyle information.
There is considerable evidence showing that a personalized approach to providing nutrition advice that also includes disclosing genetic information is more likely to result in behavior change and positive health outcomes (vs a generic type of advice).
– An example of a personalized nutrition approach is as follows:
Clinical studies highlight specific nutritional and lifestyle factors (e.g. the amount of protein that you should eat on a daily basis) that produce more successful weight loss in individuals who carry a specific genetic polymorphism but not in another individual who does not carry the same genetic and who will instead require a different amount of protein (and fat, and carbs).
Or, for example, your DNA may reveal that your body is not too good in metabolizing a certain vitamin, which means you need to ensure you get enough of that vitamin from your food, or supplements if required.
This information from your DNA will provide you with your baseline for your optimal nutrition.
To the information from your DNA you need to overlay your nutrition goal (do you want to lose weight, or keep your heart healthy or your bones strong, or all of it?) and your own characteristics (current weight, age, height, etc); you should also overlap any dietary preferences or intolerances/allergies and exclude/include certain foods (not nutrients) that are not desired.
This way you’ll obtain the optimal macronutrient distribution (how many carbs, protein, and fat you should eat each day), calorie requirement (how many calories should I eat), and your hero foods (based on what nutrients you need the most due to your DNA and lifestyle).
This is the healthiest diet for you – and is likely different from the healthiest diet for another person.
– How do get onto your healthiest diet?
- You can find a Healthcare professional who is trained in Nutrigenomics, can get you a test, and can overlay all the other crucial information;
- You can download the myDNA app where you’ll find out your optimal diet based on your DNA results and the information you give about yourself – as well as you’ll get access to highly personalized meal plans designed for your DNA and your lifestyle.
Yocheved Golani – e-Counseling
The best diet is the food plan suited to your personal needs. We’re born with different chemistries, genetic tendencies, cultural needs and expectations, preferences, self-control issues, plus a limit as to what’s available to us.
Some of those realities, such as genetics and limited availability of specific foods, are not adjustable. We must deal with them realistically to prevent malnutrition.
A diet should support mental and physical health. Support them with sufficient protein, vitamins, minerals plus trace minerals, fiber, fats, and sugars to support optimal health.
Avoid processed, packaged foods filled with fungicides, herbicides, colorants, smell enhancers, and other synthetic poisons that harm health. You don’t need food preservatives, either.
You need fresh food brimming with life, not something that hides in the dark on a shelf. Include fresh foods with a variety of B vitamins that support mental and neurological health. Vegans and vegetarians especially need Vitamin B12, since it usually comes in meat.
Simple, unadulterated foods protect the body and brain from harm and even help them to recover from it. Enjoy more salads than you’re used to. Make smoothies from fruits or vegetables to enjoy refreshing drinks that deliver high-impact nutrition in a hurry.
Anti-oxidant Brazil nuts nourish brains with selenium. That trace mineral is a brain booster that prevents mental decline as it powers up brain health.
Sprouts and leafy green vegetables nourish brains by oxygenating them. Their high mineral and vitamin content are excellent for promoting brain health. Eat them by the handful, in salads, or as topping on soups. Enjoy inner and outer health with a sensible health-supporting food plan.
The healthiest diet that ensures you get all your essential daily nutrition shouldn’t be under a label.
Instead, everyone should follow the same healthy diet principles: an emphasis on lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
Depending on your goals and diet preferences, it can be all interchangeable in terms of food choices and portion sizes.
If you prefer eating a paleo style diet, then stick to those guidelines while avoiding grains and dairy.
More of a vegetarian/vegan person? Eat plenty of lentils, pumpkin seeds, tempeh, beans, legumes to get your protein for the day. For your healthy fats, load up on coconut oil and flax seeds to cover your bases.
For keto, you can eat a bit more fat to get the ratio down to be in ketosis. Sprinkle in a few vegetables within your carb limit, and maybe some berries in there.
No matter what type of eater you are, you can always make these nutrition principles apply to your lifestyle.
Overall, if you stay away from processed foods, limit calorie beverages, and eat in a way that allows you to reach your goals while maintaining a quality of life, then you’re all set.
Caleb Gray – Click Physiotherapy
Everyone loves the latest fad diet, and I do not deny there are benefits for many of the alternative diets. Unfortunately, the problem with most of these is that you do them for a bit, then give up.
This is because most of these diets are not sustainable.
In my opinion, the best diet is the one you can make a lifestyle around. The most important thing about a diet is consistency over time. If you can stick with a way of eating for five years, then you know you are onto something good.
The way I tackle my diet is one meal at a time.
Pick one meal to focus on, it could be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Make sure that you begin consistently eating well for this meal, then when you have got that move on.
One example for me was morning tea. I used to have biscuits and surgery treats and saw this was a problem. So, after thinking about it, I now have a piece of fruit, a muesli bar, and some rice crackers. This is something I can sustain, with much more health benefits than previously.
I hope this helps people out there. Keeping your weight under control is extremely important for the body and can even help with things like reducing arthritis pain. This is why I’m passionate about this subject!
Jenny Zhang – Organically Blissful
To me, the healthiest diet is all about a balance of what you eat and fill your plate with organic ingredients. A healthy diet isn’t about eliminating a specific food group or restricting what you can eat – unless you have an intolerance or allergies, of course.
A balanced diet should have a range of food because it provides you with different types and amounts of essential nutrients. To me, a balanced diet should contain all of your five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein foods.
Avoid highly processed food, high sodium, added sugar, heavy on preservative, and refined food. An ideal plate should contain half fruit and vegetable, a quarter of grains, and a quarter of protein with a touch of dairy or non-dairy replacement on the side.
When it comes to choosing ingredients to fill your plate, choose USDA certified organic food. Eating certified organic food reduces chemical intake, such as pesticide, insecticide, fungicides, and eliminating added hormones and antibiotics, etc.
It also means your food is more regulated and has to meet specific requirements. Plus, organic ingredients often have more beneficial nutritions and tend to taste better than conventional.
Sarah Cull – Life In Full Flavour
I have a great deal of faith in the Flexitarian diet as I believe it is a healthy way to manage food in a nutritionally beneficial way. Given its flexibility (hence the name) following a Flexitarian diet puts the focus on health, wellbeing, nutrition, and sustainability, but doesn’t mean cutting out any key food groups completely.
By mainly eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes, as well as getting your protein from plants, I feel confident that I’m not compromising any area of my diet while making a conscious effort to eat healthily.
The option to eat meat occasionally is great for a bit of variety, as well as topping up on areas of a balanced diet that might be lacking such as iron.
Following a true flexitarian diet also means significantly reducing consumption of processed meats, cheeses, and other processed foods. When you do eat animal products, you focus on high-quality, unprocessed meats and dairy, such as eggs, home-roasted meats, and lean cuts.
It’s also important to focus on keeping added sugar to a minimum and looking for more natural sweet treats such as dark chocolate and fruit.
I don’t think one diet could be considered the healthiest above everything, as just like any good fitness program people will have all different kinds of requirements to get their optimal results.
Over the years I have experimented with many types of diets with both myself and clients and what I recommend now is a Flexitarian diet. That is a diet that is predominantly plant-based, with the occasional consumption of meat and seafood. When eliminating foods or food groups from your diet, it’s important to understand why you’re doing so.
The primary goal of any diet you follow is to provide your body with the optimal nourishment it needs to thrive on all levels. This includes providing energy for you to function each day and to provide your body with the nutrients it needs for daily regeneration from the micro-level.
When removing foods for whatever reason, it’s important to consider the effect it may have on the overall environment of your body.
Whatever diet you follow, be mindful of how your body responds to the foods you eat. Do you feel energetic or lethargic, do you feel bloated, do you get heartburn, does food repeat on you?
Keeping this in mind, and being aware of your daily energy requirements, you can design a flexible nutrition plan that will provide your body with the optimal environment to thrive.
The Mediterranean Diet
Hope Zvara – Mother Trucker Yoga
After spending a decade as a vegan and firmly believing I was healthy only to find my body one day three months pregnant, desperately craving a piece of fish, I knew I was missing something. My body was breaking down, and I needed more nutrition, protein, and more high-quality fats.
I believe the tried and tested diet for the average person to follow is the Meditaerian Diet. A fantastic balance of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, an array of protein, and healthy carbohydrates.
Most of the diets out there all seem to overdo it in one category or another. But our cells need some of everything. There is no tricking the very nutrition that each of our cells needs to replicate (lipids (fats), amino acids (proteins), carbohydrates).
The Mediterranean Diet offers the best balance between vegetables, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, including moderate fish, poultry, beans, eggs, and moderate dairy and little red meat. My belief is in moderation and the Mediterranean Diet time and time again show people how to eat in moderation.
Sonila Zarate – Mediterranean Latin Love Affair
There are a lot of diets and different eating lifestyles out there!! Also, the definition of what is healthy seems to vary from expert to expert.
This makes it so confusing to pick a diet when you want to lose weight, be fit, or simply just try to live a healthier lifestyle.
I grew up in the Mediterranean and our way of eating has become the basis of what the Mediterranean Diet is today.
To us it was not a diet, it was just a way of eating, cooking, and enjoying food without feeling restricted. We didn’t count calories, we didn’t eliminate ingredients from our diet and we didn’t worry about weight gain. Can you imagine how liberating it is to not have to worry about all that?
That’s why in my family we have chosen to apply the concepts of the Mediterranean Diet to our everyday cooking.
If you’re curious about the Mediterranean Diet, there are a lot of resources out there. I’ll help you get started with the following tips:
- Don’t see the Mediterranean Diet as a diet, it is really a lifestyle.
- Add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your meals, try to follow the seasons for fresh produce, and introduce more variety to your foods. This concept is often overlooked as it is not enough to just eat the same veggies and fruits over and over, it is also important to introduce variety i.e. eggplants, okra, leeks, pomegranates, dates, cabbage, quince, etc.
- Find a good Extra Virgin Olive Oil and use that for cooking and in salads.
- Avoid processed foods. This is easier said than done. Here are 2 examples that I remember my grandparents use to abide by when cooking.
- 1. Instead of buying chicken stock in a box, make your own chicken stock. It freezes well so you store in small quantities and use it as needed.
- 2. Use blended soft tomatoes as often as possible instead of canned tomato sauce.
- Find a way to be active every day. Walking counts too:))
Alessa Caridi – JobuFIT
Dieting is a way of life, not a short sprint, so it is incredibly important to find something that works with you, your lifestyle, and the things you already like to eat. What I mean by this: don’t jump into a vegan diet if you love a good hamburger, or go keto if you live on a dairy farm.
I mean, you can do anything you set your mind to, but why add more stress to your life!
For me and my family, we are of Italian descent, so eating within the Mediterranean diet is just in our blood. We eat plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and olive oil- oh the olive oil!
Another big goal when cooking and eating is to keep things colorful- I know this is possible within all kinds of diets out there.
But it is even important if your goal is to drop pounds because it will ensure that you are getting a variety of vitamins and minerals and staying healthy while working on your figure.
Alex Johnson – Med Munch
The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest diets to follow and has many scientific studies encouraging its use.
It refers to the common dietary practices of the people living in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea during the 1950s and 1960s. These include countries like Italy and Greece.
It emphasizes eating lots of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes, olive oil, and fatty fish, whilst allowing moderate amounts of dairy and limited red meat. You don’t have to give up alcohol either, as it allows the occasional glass of red wine.
Overall, it emphasizes eating lots of healthy unsaturated fats rather than saturated fats. This is helped by the frequent use of olive oil as the main cooking ingredient. The use of spices is prevalent within the diet, ensuring foods are cooked from scratch with little use of sodium whilst adding exquisite flavors.
It also ranks among the top diets because of how easy it is to follow. Unlike other diets, it emphasizes an overall approach to healthy eating rather than emphasizing individual superfoods or outright banning other foods.
Karen Shopoff Rooff – Well Balanced Women
The Mediterranean Diet offers the widest array of nutrient-dense foods that are easy to find, affordable, and simple to prepare. Inspired by the eating habits of the Spanish, Greeks, and Italians in the mid-twentieth century, the Mediterranean Diet focuses on fresh, vibrant food sources.
Rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, the Mediterranean Diet has colorful nutritious produce at its base. By eating lots of different colors every day, you consume a rainbow of vitamins and minerals.
Proteins like fish and other seafood are also staples of the Mediterranean Diet, as are beans and legumes which are used in most meals.
Healthy fats from avocados, seeds, nuts, and olives bring flavor and satiety to Mediterranean meals. Small servings of poultry, eggs, and dairy round out a typical Mediterranean Diet meal plan. But do not assume that the Mediterranean Diet means eating boring meals!
The emphasis in a Mediterranean Diet is to eliminate refined grains and oils and processed foods. By keeping the focus on freshness, these foods can be combined almost endlessly, and even novice cooks can create recipes of almost any type of world cuisine.
The Mediterranean Diet is heart-healthy, keeps stable blood sugar (important for preventing diabetes), and contains foods that fight inflammation. It is an easily-accessible way to eat that leaves you feeling healthy and energetic.
Dr. Yelena Deshko – Timeless Health Clinic
The Mediterranean diet is considered to be one of the healthiest diets for preventing many chronic diseases and prolonging life expectancy.
The traditional “Mediterranean diet” is characterized by a high intake of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, and mainly unrefined, minimally processed grains; an abundant fat intake from virgin olive oil, moderate consumption of fish and shellfish, low consumption of meat and meat products; and, the consumption of wine during meals.
Fermented dairy products (cheese and yogurt) can also be consumed in moderate amounts. This type of eating pattern is not purely vegetarian.
It is primarily, but not exclusively, a plant-based diet that allows for low consumption of meat and meat products, fermented dairy, and moderate consumption of fish.
It is a combination of these dietary factors, rather than the consumption of specific foods, which seems to provide the anti-inflammatory benefits of the Mediterranean diet.
Much scientific research points to the “Mediterranean diet” as one of the most advantageous for overall human health.
Substantial evidence has verified the Mediterranean diet’s nutritional adequacy, long-term sustainability, effectiveness for preventing heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, maintaining a healthy weight as well as increasing longevity. (1).
Jennifer Hanes – Dietitian Jenn
I don’t think that anyone’s diet is perfect for everyone. Health conditions, genetics, environments, activity levels, food preferences and more all change our needs.
However, overall the Mediterranean diet is the absolute best starting point. I’m partial to a vegetarian diet myself, because for many reasons, but just being a vegetarian doesn’t mean that the diet is healthy, it means you don’t eat meat. There’s a whole lot of gray area between cutting meat out of the Standard American Diet (SAD) and eating a healthy vegetarian diet.
This is why I’m partial to discussing the Mediterranean diet. It provides clear guidelines on foods that we should be eating more of and foods that we should be eating less of. Vegetables, whole grains, and nuts and seeds are prominent in this diet.
The Mediterranean diet focuses on fish and lean poultry as protein sources, but this can be adapted to a vegetarian diet if needed. This diet also promotes exercise throughout the day as well.
There is so much great research on the Mediterranean Diet. For example, it is great at managing your weight, managing blood glucose for individuals with diabetes, and is good for your heart.
More research has indicated that the Mediterranean Diet pattern is also great for mental health and can improve your mood as well as improve your response to anti-depressant medications if needed.
Lastly, because the Mediterranean Diet doesn’t give a particular meal plan or recipes, the overall pattern can be adapted to include foods and meals that are more relevant to the individual.
In short, I think that the best overall diet is the Mediterranean Diet due to its emphasis on fruits and vegetables, benefits to many health conditions, and its high adaptability to an individual’s needs.
Donna Rose – Nona’s Nutrition Notes
The “healthiest diet” is one that meets all your nutritional needs and does not eliminate any macronutrients, such as proteins, carbohydrates, or fats.
It is a diet that includes healthy fats, such as avocados and olive oil, and one that is high in fiber, which includes whole-grain bread, cereals, and pasta.
It is a diet that promotes the intake of a variety of fruits and vegetables that supply vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients.
The healthiest diet is one that encourages the weekly intake of fish and seafood that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.
It is a diet that encourages the consumption of lean poultry and plant-based proteins such as legumes and nuts while discouraging the consumption of red meats and foods high in saturated fats.
This diet is the “Mediterranean diet”.
The foundation of the Mediterranean diet is fruits and vegetables with meals built around plant-based foods. It includes being physically active and drinking an occasional glass of red wine!
The Mediterranean diet is a delicious and healthy way to eat, one that meets all our nutrient needs and one that is sustainable for a lifetime.
Amanda Kostro Miller – Fitter Living
Even if the diet is structured well, it’s a whole other thing if someone actually follows it. However, perhaps the most nutritionally sound diet is the Mediterranean Diet.
- Promotes a high intake of fruits and vegetables for better calorie control, fiber, and a plethora of vitamins and minerals.
- Promotes whole grains for fiber, steady carbs, and micronutrients.
- Healthy fats via nuts, seeds, and fatty fish for heart-healthy omega 3s.
- Lean proteins or plant-based proteins are usually promoted.
- Aims to keep meat portions at bay and let the fruits and vegetables be the highlight of the meal.
- Focuses somewhat on antioxidants and micronutrients from fruits, vegetables, and moderate intake of red wine (recommendations for alcohol may be changing, however, in the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans).
Niki Campbell – The Flourish Group
The diet I believe to be the healthiest (in general) for a client who does not have any pre-existing conditions (hypertension, diabetes, etc.), is the Mediterranean Diet. It is rich in heart-healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins with limited red meat.
It really is based around plants first so it provides lots of fiber and the micronutrients we all need. Because of the fiber, healthy fats, and quality proteins like fish, eggs, and poultry, the Mediterranean diet is filling and satisfying which is so important in any diet program. Clients who follow this way of eating typically feel less hungry.
In addition, it’s sustainable. The foods are accessible, affordable, and taste good. Recipes are relatively easy to prepare and appeal to the whole family. All of these things are so important in the weight loss maintenance phase. It is a diet that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Paula Sturm – Radically Nourished
Based on countless studies the Mediterranean diet comes up as the most health-promoting diet around because of its focus on whole, fiber-rich foods; fish, seafood; nuts/seeds and olive oil; and an abundance of colorful vegetables and fruit.
These foods provide the necessary fiber to promote gut health; essential vitamins and minerals we are often deficient in; phytonutrients to provide antioxidant activity and anti-inflammatory benefits; essential fats from rich seafood, nuts/seeds, and olive oil; and encourages eating a wide variety of different foods.
Variety is key to ensure a well-rounded intake of all the nutrients our body needs on a daily basis. What I love about the Paleo diet is that it encourages a lot of the same principles as the Mediterranean diet however, it eliminates many of the things people often have sensitivities to, like gluten and dairy.
Where the Paleo diet lacks, oftentimes, are the complex fibers and resistant starches necessary for a healthy gut. That’s where I like to bring in beans/legumes and gluten-free grains such as oats and quinoa.
This promotes beneficial bacteria balance in the gut and when our gut is healthy our weight stabilizes and we reduce our risk of certain diseases.
Not only that, these bacteria provide their own essential nutrients such as B vitamins, carotenoids, and short-chain fatty acids to supplement the food we are eating.
To sum it up, lots of colorful vegetables and fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds, seafood, a small amount of lean protein, and healthy fats.
Although there certainly are different opinions and science is consistently changing as more information is learned, I believe, and in correlation with the scientific evidence, the healthiest diet that ensures all daily nutrition while providing for the most significant overall health benefits is a Pesco-Mediterranean Diet, coupled with time-restricted feeding (intermittent fasting).
A recent study (September 2020) published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology proved that this diet provides all the necessary nutrients for optimal human function while reducing or eliminating food groups that have adverse health effects.
The study demonstrated that we have omnivorous digestive tracts, so some amount of animal products should be consumed, but this should mostly be seafood or fish since red meat contains high amounts of saturated fat, which is linked to heart disease and other health problems.
Additionally, this diet advises eating a large number of plant foods, such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes, because they provide a variety of vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health.
Jeff Parke – Top Fitness Mag
I’m actually going to talk about the pescetarian diet because I believe it provides a ton of benefits for the human body and mind. The pescetarian diet is when you eat as a vegetarian, but you do allow yourself to eat seafood.
The pescetarian diet is great for your heart health and might even protect you from cancer and diabetes. By eliminating the heaviness of eating meat, but still providing your body with the benefits that seafood provides to your body.
By strictly following a plant-based diet, you will reap the health benefits it provides, and then you get what you need from seafood as far as the valuable nutrients and proteins.
The pescetarian diet truly is a win-win for you and it can leave you feeling light, healthy, and energized.
Erin Hendrickson – No Waste Nutrition
The Blue Zones diet provides all necessary daily nutrition and is the healthiest way to eat for long and vibrant life. This diet consists of 90% plant-based, whole foods. A typical week of dining includes a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables, beans, legumes, and nuts and seeds.
Fish, eggs, and other lean meats are eaten two to three times per week in smaller portions. Sugar is limited to about 28 grams per day, while dairy consumption is also reduced.
The Blue Zones diet encourages at least 7 glasses of water per day, and coffee, tea, and wine in moderation.
For reference, a ‘Blue Zone’ is an area of the world where an abnormally high percentage of the population lives to the age of 100 years or older.
National Geographic researchers studied these regions and discovered a plant-focused diet, among other positive lifestyle habits, resulted in the healthiest individuals on Earth!
Blue Zone populations tend to also practice daily exercise, have low-stress levels, and make spending time with loved ones a priority.
The five Blue Zones include:
- Sardina, Italy
- Ikaria, Greece
- Okinawa, Japan
- Loma Linda, California
- Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
Katy Malkin – Learner Vegan
As a long-term vegan, I have to vouch for a whole food plant-based diet. This is slightly different from veganism, as it focuses very much on health. On a whole food plant-based diet, I eat mainly unprocessed, natural foods such as fruit, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes, and nuts.
By eating this way, I get the most out of my food – consuming pure nutrients, rather than any filler or refined foods.
Contrary to popular belief, a plant-based diet contains a spectrum of nutrients – with plenty of protein-packed foods, iron-rich options, and calcium-filled meals.
This lifestyle very much speaks for itself – numerous studies have shown that it reduces your risk of heart disease, several types of cancer, diabetes, and obesity. It is also known as the most optimal way to feed your gut microbiome, relieving any digestive issues.
When I personally moved to a whole food plant-based diet, I lost 28lb, gained clearer skin, smoother digestion, and felt more energized. I’ve been through two healthy vegan pregnancies, with excellent blood work throughout.
If nothing else, I would highly advise you to start incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet. You may be surprised how varied and nutritious they are!
Many people undertake a diet in an effort to lose weight. There are certainly many ways to achieve this goal, but the problem with most diets is that they don’t look at the broader health spectrum. There are at least 30 vitamins and minerals that your body needs but cannot manufacture on its own in sufficient amounts.
While the components of many diets can contribute to weight loss and may even steer you away from certain unhealthy foods, they almost never focus on making sure that you are getting an adequate intake of these various nutrients, they only focus on what to eliminate, thus leading to nutrient deficiencies that can gravely affect your physical and mental well-being.
It concerns me to see diets that encourage people to eat more of the foods, such as red meat and processed meat, that the World Health Organization has classified as Group 1 and Group 2A (the highest ranking) carcinogens.
Not only does meat and dairy consumption come with increased risks of ischemic heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and a whole slew of cancers, but it can also exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Plant-based diets make it much easier to ensure that you are boosting your nutrient levels. That is why I stand by the official statement from The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the largest association of nutritionists and dietitians from around the globe:
Appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes.
There are many different kinds of diets that ensure all the necessary daily nutrition, and a plant-based diet is among these.
Recent studies have pointed to the benefits of a plant-based diet, such as this research, which found that replacing animal-source proteins with plant-based proteins reduced the risk of premature death overall and death from cardiovascular disease.
Plant sources of protein provide you with nutrients meat won’t, such as fiber.
Instead of meat every day, you could choose legumes for some meals. Plant-source foods such as fruits and vegetables also provide antioxidants, which are important for protection against chronic diseases such as cancer.
Such foods are also generally relatively low in calories due to the high water and fiber content, helping to promote a healthy weight. The fiber content also helps to maintain a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
Plant-based foods can often be inexpensive and nutritious. One example is dried beans. Beans are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber, and are also relatively inexpensive. You can get creative with these and prepare a hearty soup, or use them to make tacos and the like.
Hannah Faulkner – Half Moon Yoga and Art
The healthiest diet, that ensures all the necessary daily nutrition, is one that not only promotes a slim waistline and strong heart, but also one that saves and heals the environment, ethically respects the animal kingdom, and promotes good energy, good karma, and a lightness of being.
My vegan diet includes a wide variety of organic colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds with no animal products and all of the necessary carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals that one needs to be healthy.
I prefer to get my vitamin D by walking fifteen to thirty minutes in the midday sun (without sunscreen) and of course, consuming plenty of purified water is an essential component of daily health and diet.
Some of my favorite vegan creations include a Blueberry-Almond-Oat Smoothie (almond butter, oats, coconut milk, dates, apples, banana, frozen blueberries, strawberries, cinnamon, vanilla extract, chia seeds, and flax seeds). It’s loaded with protein, zinc, lysine, iron, vitamin C, and omega-3 fats.
For lunch, a Buddha Bowl with a Moroccan flare consists of quinoa, spinach, sweet potato, carrots, apples, cranberries, dates, peas, pecans, maple syrup, coconut oil, cinnamon, and turmeric (topped with cilantro). This provides more of the same nutrients along with vitamins A and E.
One of my favorite dinners is Lentil Tacos on olive oil grilled corn tortillas with taco seasoning, mango salsa, corn, tomatoes, red bell peppers, lime juice, green onions, avocado, cilantro, purple cabbage, and my favorite homemade cashew sour cream.
Calcium and vitamin B6 are absorbed well through this dish.
There are so many beautiful vegan recipes available on the internet and in cookbooks. My favorites to follow are the Oh She Glows, Nora Cooks, I Love Vegan, Minimalist Baker, The Simple Veganista, My Darling Vegan, Loving it Vegan, and Chocolate Covered Katie. But most of all, a vegan diet allows for my own creativity to shine through in the kitchen.
Jack Anderson – Sport Fitness Advisor
There are hundreds of different types of diets out there, but none are guaranteed to have all of your daily nutrition requirements – except for a plant-based diet.
Although many seem skeptical about protein levels in a diet without meat or dairy, science has proven that plants alone can provide all of the nutrition human beings need.
The level of protein found in human breast milk is a great indicator of how much protein we as a species require – and that is very little. In fact, humans have one of the lowest protein requirements found in any mammal, lower than the protein requirements of rats!
Animal products are the only foods directly linked to higher numbers in cholesterol, blood sugar, diabetes, and heart disease. There are hundreds of vegetables, legumes, and nuts that provide ample amounts of protein, without the artery-clogging side effects.
Studies show that there have been basically no cases of protein deficiency found in America, even among those on a vegan diet!
On the contrary, science has shown us that only 97% of Americans are receiving the minimum amount of fiber they need each day. Fiber deficiency can cause constipation, diarrhea, and can develop into irritable bowel diseases over time.
Deepak Shukla – Plant Sumo
While it requires research and planning, meeting all your nutritional needs on a vegan diet is not only possible but also according to multiple studies, an immense boost to your overall health.
In fact, vegans have been found to score highest on almost all markers of health.
They generally have a lower BMI, lower cholesterol, and live longer. One study even found a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and dementia by 32%.
We recommend to those pursuing a vegan diet for health-based reasons to do research into critical nutritional requirements, protein in particular, and consider when implementing plant-based sources into their diet (legumes, seitan, tofu, etc) how they can fulfill those specific needs.
Liz Madsen – Zardy Plants
A plant-based diet can provide all of your macro and micronutrients while combating the two greatest problems of a Standard American Diet (SAD); cholesterol and saturated fat.
These are found in all meat and dairy and have been thoroughly demonstrated as being a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease by institutions such as the American Heart Association and the World Health Organization. They have been linked to various cancers and an overall loss of health.
You can avoid cholesterol and saturated fat and get better nutrition from the many substitutes coming from the vegan community. Seitan is an excellent meat replacement with high protein, little fat, and no cholesterol.
Various dairy replacements can be cooked or purchased that are made from nuts, beans, and oats. This is on top of the many fruit and vegetable options that a plant-based diet offers, providing many of the micronutrients needed to maintain a healthy body.
Ultimately, a vegan diet can provide all your nutritional needs, especially the closer it is to Whole Food Plant-Based. It also does a great job of moving people away from some of the more detrimental issues of SAD and other meat-heavy diets.
The healthiest diet is a plant-based diet — mostly fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains with very limited meat and dairy.
A plant-based diet is high in fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and it’s associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
Going plant-based doesn’t mean you have to go vegan overnight. It means that you work toward taking steps to increase your intake of plant foods every day until you get where you want to be.
Jason Hughes – Vegan Liftz
I think it’s not essentially the diet itself. Without awareness and proper planning, it’s easy to miss out on the necessary nutrients, no matter what kind of diet you want to stick to in the long run.
With the vegan lifestyle, I carefully plan my meals to ensure that I have a balanced amount of nutrients daily. I focus on incorporating the right amount of vitamins and nutrients because of my demanding workout routine.
For starters, I see to it that I get enough protein for muscle recovery. Non-animal produce like soy, tofu, nuts, legumes, and grains are rich sources of protein, in my opinion. To boost immunity, eat beans, broccoli, and oranges.
These are essential sources of vitamin C and zinc. When it comes to calcium and Vitamin D nutrients, vegans get those from green, leafy vegetables like cabbage and broccoli. Sesame seeds and dried fruits are also excellent sources.
So, when you’re about to make certain dietary changes, I recommend you do some nutritional planning. It will help you in your transition towards a healthy and delicious vegan diet that works. Make sure to add the food we’ve mentioned to your list, especially if you’re not using supplements.
When done right, the vegan diet provides several health benefits like improved kidney function, weight loss, and better cardiovascular performance – that’s practically a lifetime of good health.
The healthiest diet is a whole food plant-based (vegan) diet. You can get all your nutrients easily by eating plants only.
As a matter of fact, plants like vegetables, fruits, and legumes contain more nutrients per calorie compared to animal-based food which makes plant-based foods nutrient-dense without adding any harmful components like saturated fat or cholesterol to your diet.
If you fill a plate with 2 cups broccoli, 1 cup black beans, 1 cup cooked quinoa, and ½ avocado, you have a 640 calorie meal with 29 g of plant-based protein, 32 g fiber, and no cholesterol. The high protein and fiber will keep you full for hours.
The meal is also high in omega 3 and low in omega 6 which has an anti-inflammatory effect. It is high in B-vitamins, folate, iron, magnesium, and zinc. The meal provides 200% of your daily need for vitamin C and contains 8.6 mg of iron.
Heather Donahue – Heather’s Health Habits
Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes gives the body nutrient-dense food with few calories. This makes it easy to lose and maintain a healthy weight. But the health benefits are so much more than weight loss.
Plant-based lifestyles reduce cardiovascular disease and digestive health issues such as IBS, constipation, and diarrhea. It can regulate blood sugar to reduce the risk of diabetes, promote a strong immune system, and reduce anxiety and depression.
Never has anxiety been so widespread. Eating plant-based helps our digestive system use amino acids from food to maintain a good mood. The gut influences how the brain feels because 90% of our serotonin (our happy hormone) is produced in the gut.
Foods that help the gut produce serotonin are oatmeal with nuts, plums, pineapples, and pretzel sticks with peanut butter.
The best part of a plant-based lifestyle is you don’t need to give up meat. Instead, simply reduce the amount of meat eaten in a single day.
Try to eat meat only at dinner. Try to have a vegan day once or twice a week and eat meat at dinner only for the rest of the days. Find what fits you!
Don Baiocchi – Paleo Gluten Free Guy
To get all your necessary daily nutrition while also avoiding inflammatory foods, the Paleo diet works best. This lifestyle is grain-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and legume-free.
Yet it still provides a wide range of variety from all the meats, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, spices, and herbs available plus all the many ways to cook and prepare them.
Since people associate fiber with grains, people often assume a grain-free diet lacks fiber. But you can get fiber from many non-grain sources like vegetables, fermented foods, nuts, seeds, and fruits.
Legumes contain antinutrients that block your body from absorbing nutrients, making them a less desirable “healthy” food.
You also get many essential protein and amino acids (“essential” meaning your body needs them from food sources) that are either not available in plants or are more easily digestible than the same ones found in plants.
Plus many sources of meat contain vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and other nutrients not found in or not easily digested from plants.
Paleo also focuses on eating many different healthy fats. Combined with the proteins, carbohydrates, and nutrients found in the wide range of Paleo foods, the Paleo diet is the most comprehensive healthy lifestyle.
Alexandra Tran – Schimiggy
Paleo is the best diet to ensure you’re getting all your dietary needs.
A paleo diet mimics the paleolithic diet, which is what our hunter-gatherer ancestors were required to do in the past. It’s comprehensive and allows you more flexibility in meal options.
You should expect to eat lots of vegetables, grains, some meats and have an overall healthy and realistic diet.
This helps to eliminate processed foods which are not often healthy for the body and mind.
The healthiest diet for a fit body, glowing skin, and energized life favors Paleo mixed with a bit of cyclical keto and intermittent fasting. Carbohydrates should come from organic, colorful, and a wide variety of vegetable >> fruit.
Our foods should change throughout the seasons and we shouldn’t be eating the same food every day all year long. The more variety of locally grown food, the better.
I recommend avoiding most grains, especially wheat. Depending on genetics, some people do well with oats, quinoa, and rice. Some people don’t so it’s important to listen to your body and even consider using a continuous glucose monitor to see how foods affect you as maintaining healthy glucose levels is important in order to reduce inflammation in the body.
Dairy should be avoided completely as it is highly inflammatory for the body and skin and can cause congestion in the airways.
Healthy meat, preferably from regenerative farming, is recommended. Red meat and lamb should be grass-fed, while chicken and eggs should be pasture-raised.
Conventionally raised meat is inflammatory and has a negative effect on your health and well-being so invest in yourself and be discerning when choosing this food (yes, it costs more for higher quality and nutritious food, and you are worth it).
I also believe in intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating with 16 hours of fasting/night for men and 14 hours/night for women.
Alternatively, one day per week of 24 hours of fasting can also promote autophagy, which is the process where metabolic waste products are cleaned up and renewal and rejuvenation are promoted. It is really important to give the body a break to help clean up and heal.
Jose Hernandez – ChipMonk Baking
The best diet you can go on to ensure adequate nutrition is a combination of paleo and low carb diets that focus on vegetables, nuts/seeds, and animal protein.
The high sugar content and highly processed grains in most packaged food spike blood sugar, come loaded with empty calories, and offer no nutrients.
Plants, on the other hand, offer a variety of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and are low in calories, so you can eat more, feel full, and have fewer calories overall.
Be sure to make your plate colorful, though, as the colors are all correlated to different micronutrients with green colors being rich in calcium for instance.
Nuts, seeds, and cold-pressed oils are full of unsaturated fats that support heart and overall health and help lower cholesterol. Animal protein provides all the essential amino acids to meet your daily protein needs and keeps you fuller for longer. Fish is especially beneficial for its rich unsaturated fats.
The ideal combination of these macros is dependant on your preferences so you can either do a low fat or low carb diet as long as you ensure you have about 20-30% of the lower macro accounted for.
So eat foods low in processed carbs and instead aim for wholesome foods such as vegetables and nuts/seeds.
The Macros Diet
Ted Kallmyer – Healthy Eater
The healthiest and most sustainable diet that I’ve used personally and use regularly with my weight loss clients is the macros diet.
This method establishes a person’s unique energy needs and then recommends balanced macronutrient ratios for obtaining that energy in a way that supports healthy muscle tissue, a healthy metabolism, and overall good nutrition.
Instead of guessing if adequate nutrition is being consumed, counting macros ensure that people are getting the nutrition their body needs for safe and steady weight loss. As part of the process, people learn to track the food they are eating by creating daily food logs via popular food tracking smartphone apps like MyFitnessPal or MyMacros+.
Over time, this teaches people what balanced meals look like as well as teaches portion control since tracking food forever isn’t realistic. The ultimate goal of a macros diet is to better eat intuitively.
While no foods are off-limits when tracking macros, dieters are encouraged to consume 85% of their macros as whole foods with a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit added daily.
In order to ensure a majority of healthy foods are being consumed, macro dieters also track fiber and aim for healthy daily fiber targets.
There are a lot of free online tools like macro calculators to help people get started with the macros diet.
The healthiest diet I’ve discovered is IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros). First, the diet is sustainable. There are no food groups that are off-limits. Everything can be incorporated into your meal plan “if it fits your macros.”
Once you’ve determined your macros based on your goals, whether that means, losing fat, gaining muscle, or just maintaining your weight, you can eat all of your favorite foods in moderation.
It’s well balanced so you don’t starve but you also don’t over-indulge.
I’ve been tracking macros and following IIFYM since 2012. It’s what I use to help me prepare for figure competitions and it’s the healthiest way that I know when it comes to dieting.
The Ketogenic diet (Keto)
Tommy Pederson – Vekhayn
Many diets come and go, but Keto has seemed to stay the longest. And I will proudly say that keto probably isn’t going away anytime soon. There are very few people that actually convert to the keto diet long term (3 months) and regret it. In fact, most people that do convert to this diet never go back.
The keto diet is notoriously controversial because it lacks many carbohydrates, but simply put, it might be the right way to eat. If you examine the eating habits, our carbohydrate intake has increased exponentially since just three decades ago.
Our bodies need very little carbohydrates to survive and have evolved to survive in our fat stores. The keto diet forces the people on it to eat in a healthy way that our body is evolutionarily used to.
Furthermore, it encourages heavy vegetable eating for a small number of carbohydrates daily. This means you are cutting out a ton of junk food in your diet, cutting out tons of ‘simple carbs’ that ruin your blood sugar levels, and forcing your body to eat food that doesn’t only make you feel fuller but makes you feel better. And don’t even get me started on the health benefits of vegetables.
Keto is the right diet for the long-term person who wants to stay fit, just ask my uncle who’s been doing it for nearly 6 years and competes in multiple triathlons a year! (and he’s in his 40s!).
Keto will do you wonders, and it ensures that you aren’t messing up your daily nutrition by forcing you to make better choices that will keep you healthier in the long run.
The keto diet is an eating pattern that forces the body and brain to use fat for energy and fuel rather than carbohydrates. By eating a diet very low in carbohydrates and high in fat for a consistent period of time, the body enters a metabolic state of ketosis that is maintained by following this specific eating fashion.
In order to stay in ketosis, it’s imperative to eat foods that adhere to high fat and very low carbohydrate profile. Koia’s nutritional profile is in line with the keto diet, having just 2 net carbohydrates and a substantial 15g of total fat per bottle. That’s why Koia fits perfectly into a keto lifestyle!
Adhering to a keto diet as an athlete is an individual choice as some athletes are better able to adapt to this way of eating than others.
Assuming that the keto diet does not impede one’s athletic abilities and the diet is followed in a way that focuses on healthy fat sources like medium-chain triglycerides oil or coconut milk and protein powered mostly by plants, then I can support this way of eating for athletes.
Thankfully, the Koia Keto line incorporates all of the key components of responsibly following the keto diet by fueling the body with good-for-you sources of protein and fat.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is imperative for overall good health and taking pride in making good food choices along the way, such as stocking up on Koia Keto, will enable someone to continue their active lifestyle.
The Carnivore Diet
Timothy Woods – Carnivore Style
I’ve literally tried all kinds of diet, and I must admit, I’ve found the real deal with the Carnivore Diet.
Do I get the right nutrition that my body needs?
With my carnivore lifestyle, I get asked about this all the time, and my response is always a resounding yes! I’ve never felt better, healthier, and fitter in my entire life. The best part is I get to savor all the juiciest and tastiest meat cuts in the world, without the guilt.
The all-meat diet centers around the healthiest foods that include red meat, animal fats, and tallow. For instance, the animal liver is a rich source of Vitamin A, an essential nutrient that enhances skin health, immune system, and other bodily functions for optimal growth and development. Organ meats are also high in protein, iron, and folate.
Meat is also another primary source of Vitamin D, K, and B-complex vitamins. Without sufficient amounts of these nutrients, you’ll feel tired all the time.
I learned that the common cause of fatigue is lack of carnitine, and where do we get that? Yes, from red meat. With the carnivore diet, I get complete nutrition to optimize my health—no more supplements.
I recommend you stick with three meals a day until your metabolism adapts to sourcing energy from fats. Also, drink plenty of water throughout the day. This lifestyle gave me high energy, mental clarity, and better focus, the reason why I continue to advocate the carnivore diet.
The Macrobiotic Diet
Sandra Glavan – Super Sensitive Sandi
After suffering from chronic anxiety for nearly two decades, as well as depression, chronic fatigue, low energy, sleep problems, and more, I eventually healed my body and mind with a change in lifestyle and macrobiotic diet.
Consuming daily 60% organic whole grains, 30% vegetables, and 10% beans, lentils, tofu, or sea vegetables(seaweed) – in addition to fish, lean poultry, fruit, and nuts three times a week – helped me to finally get my anxiety under control, eliminate nutrient deficiencies, boost mood and energy, reduce sugar cravings, but also to feel calm after every meal.
In my experience, the macrobiotic diet is by far the healthiest diet especially if you are suffering from mental health. Whole grains, vegetables, and legumes are great brain foods, but also healthy sources of complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber in addition to many other beneficial nutrients required for health.
While some healthy diets reduce our intake of carbs, we must remind ourselves that carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy.
Amy Roskelley – Health Beet
The Choose MyPlate eating style is the number one way to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need, in the proper amount, for optimal health and weight loss.
Choose MyPlate was developed, using scientific research, to provide a framework to build a balanced meal. Five food groups are represented. When these food groups are eaten together, it will provide a variety of all the macro and micronutrients you need to avoid vitamin deficiency, and provide maximum absorption.
The five food groups include proteins, vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy.
The representation of the food groups on Choose MyPlate shows half your meal should come from fruits and vegetables. This is vital for vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. ¼ of your meal should come from proteins. This helps to build muscle and other tissue structures. 1/4 of your meal should be whole grains.
Whole grains are essential for energy production. In addition, it’s recommended to include a serving of dairy, which helps with building strong bones.
Using the plate as your guide, Choose MyPlate also encourages portion control, which is beneficial to those with a weight loss goal. Choose MyPlate serves as a visual reminder, to eat complete, filling meals, on a plate, at mealtime.
Low Carb Diet
Bintu Hardy – Recipes From A Pantry
One of the healthier diets is a low carb diet. Not only can you get all of your daily necessary nutrition from it if you do it right but it has also been stated by various medical or health sources that it may help prevent a number of serious health conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
It is great for aiding weight loss but is also helpful in helping people develop less of a reliance on processed foods and sugar-filled snacks.
The low carb diet has been around for decades and stuck around because it works and once you’ve got used to it, it is easy to stick to.
You can still eat the healthy foods you are used to such as vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds and you can even eat a small number of carbs a day and the diet is still considered low carb – just opt for healthy starches in small amounts rather than high carbohydrate foods.
There are plenty of low carb vegetables you can opt for too such as cauliflower and broccoli.
Not only that but it is super flexible for you and your needs and will lead you to have fewer cravings for sugary and snack foods – the unhealthy foods you are trying to avoid.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I gained over 60 pounds in extra weight, which I wanted to drop as soon as I could after she was born. As the mother of a newborn, I had to find a safe and nutrient-packed way to lose weight. After giving multiple diet trends a try, I had incredible success with nutritionist Kelly Leveque’s “Fab Four” diet plan.
In a nutshell, each of your meals includes a protein, healthy fat, greens, and fiber. Eating all four of these essential foods together stabilizes your blood sugar, which makes you feel full for a long period of time and you avoid cravings for sugar and carbs.
Leveque’s diet plan helps you to avoid overly processed grains, refined sugars, and unhealthy fats. Your meals will mostly consist of animal and plant-based protein, non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, healthy oils, nuts and seeds, and occasional fruits.
These foods are packed with naturally occurring vitamins, minerals, and fiber, leaving your body balanced and ensuring all your daily nutrients.
Along with her dietary plan, Leveque also strongly encourages intermittent fasting paired with daily exercise to keep the body moving.
Her recommended morning routine includes intermittent fasting in the morning until about 10 am (depending on when you went to bed), at least 45 minutes of physical activity on an empty stomach, and then finally the “Fab Four Smoothie” which includes a protein, fresh greens, nut butter for healthy fat and fiber powders or seeds.
Lisa Mitchell – Sacred & Delicious
Ayurveda, India’s ancient medical and wellness system, offers guidelines for modern vegetarians (and vegans) that can transform your health—as it did mine! Eating freshly cooked organic legumes and vegetables helped me overcome IBS, acid reflux, and chronic joint and muscular pain. (Once legumes are soaked eight hours and rinsed well, lectins are a non-issue.)
Whole mung bean soup with greens and a mélange of spices is deeply satisfying while providing an excellent weekly detox. Mung bean “burgers” and sweet potato burritos with fresh guacamole are among my favorite fun meals.
Broccoli soup with almond butter and pumpkin soup with cardamom and cinnamon are simply divine. Swiss chard leaves stuffed with black-eyed pea paté and topped with a vegan shiitake mushroom sauce gets awesome reviews.
Adding moderate amounts of basmati rice, quinoa, or millet to legumes and vegetables will provide all the phytonutrients needed for vibrant health. If you avoid eggs and dairy, as I do, then you will need to supplement your diet with a sublingual B12.
I do cook with ghee, clarified butter, which Ayurvedic experts use medicinally for its ability to calm the nervous system and carry food’s phytonutrients into the bodily tissues.
The best diet I believe in is the one I created and trademarked – Couture Nutrition. It means that you need to eat the same way you dress – according to your body’s needs, your location, your mood, your soul’s desire.
Because it’s couture, I teach people to eat the best quality foods and show them how fabrics are similar to foods and how to choose them wisely.
For some people, it may mean eating some high-quality animal protein if their bodies need it and for some people, it may be mostly plant-based. And it can change just like your clothes.
Thank you so much to everyone that contributed to this expert roundup!
Do let me know in the comments below which is your favorite diet that has brought you the best results.
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