Best diets for 2021 to start your year off right

Best diets for 2021 to start your year off right
Over indulged during the holiday period? Looking to lose some weight and get fitter in the New Year? Check out the top five diets ranked in a new report by the US News and World Report's 2020 ranking of best diets. To help you decided which diet is best for you we’ve summarised the top five diets as ranked by experts.  

The Mediterranean Diet

It’s well reported that people who live in the Mediterranean live longer and suffer less from cancer and cardiovascular disease. The unsurprising secret is an active lifestyle and a diet low in red meat, sugar and saturated fat. The Mediterranean Diet is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, olive oil, and fresh herbs and spices; while eating seafood a couple of times a week. Chicken, eggs and dairy are consumed in moderation with red meat and sweet foods saved for special occasions. Following the Mediterranean Diet should help you keep the weight off while preventing chronic diseases. The diet is easy to follow, flexible and versatile, and because there is no ‘one’ Mediterranean diet a Mediterranean Diet Food Pyramid has been developed to get you eating the Mediterranean way. For eating plans and more info check out this link.  

The DASH Diet

The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, commonly known as the DASH Diet, was originally developed to reduce high blood pressure but, like the Mediterranean Diet, it’s a great all-rounder for those looking to lose weight, improve their health and reduce the likelihood of chronic diseases. The diet’s also versatile and easy to follow, emphasising veggies, fruits, lean-protein, whole grains, and low fat dairy. These foods are high in nutrients like potassium, protein, fibre and calcium. The DASH Diet will have you avoid foods high in saturated fats, full fat diary, and sugary foods and drinks. Because DASH is nutritionally sound and provides a balanced diet it goes great with exercise and building muscle. It’s easy to follow and can be maintained long-term. Eating plans and more info can be found here.  

The Flexitarian Diet

As the name suggests, flexibility and vegetarian are the two main concepts of this diet. Meat eaters, don’t stop reading, you can still eat meat and follow this diet, but maybe just a little less. This diet is about reducing the amount of meat in your diet while increasing other food groups to beef up your non-meat diet. This includes pea, bean and egg proteins; fruits and veggies; dairy; whole grains; and sugar and spices. Don’t let the lack of meat scare you off though, when the urge hits you can still indulge in a steak or burger. Exercise and training is also strongly encouraged on the Flexitarian Diet, so you can hit the gym and still get all the nutrients you need. A beginners guide can be found here.  

The Mayo Clinic Diet

If losing weight is your aim then the Mayo Clinic Diet might be the one for you. It’s focussed on losing weight and improving overall healthy living and well-being. The diet recalibrates your eating habits, replacing bad ones with good ones through its unique food pyramid. The pyramid emphasises fruits, veggies and whole grains. These foods have a low energy density meaning you can eat more while taking in fewer calories. The Mayo Clinic Diet provides a good range of protein, carbs, fats and other important nutrients. The diet works in two phases. Phase one focuses on 15 keys habits – ones to add and ones to drop. Phase two focuses on how many calories you can eat to either lose weight or to maintain your weight. There are no off-limit food groups and between 30-60 minutes of exercise is recommended per day. Check out the Mayo Clinic Diet site for all the guides and meal plans to get you started.  

The MIND Diet

The MIND Diet combines two proven diets, the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet, but focuses on foods in each that affect brain health. While it was initially developed to lower a person’s risk of brain disorders it’s also very effective in helping you lose weight and improve general well-being. This low carb diet is known to bring on quick weight loss, so if shedding a few of those holiday kgs is your aim then this could be the one for you. The mainstays of the MIND Diet are leafy greens, nuts and berries. Check out this link for a detailed guide for beginners.  

Key takeaways

It is important to remember that achieving or maintaining your ideal weight is all about balancing the energy we take in with the energy we burn. Along with a balanced diet, whey protein is also a great weight loss tool to take alongside any of the above diets. Whey protein is a satiating macronutrient that boosts your energy expenditure and decreases your appetite. Optimum Nutrition - Gold Standard 100% Whey, Dymatize - ISO 100, and BSN - SYNTHA 6 are all popular choices to start you off.   Whichever diet you choose, try to enjoy a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grain, nuts and protein . It is also important to be active in as many ways as you can throughout the day while trying to get at least 30 minutes of moderately intense exercise most days.

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