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Keto, Paleo, IIFYM, and Plant Based Diets- Which one is best?

Kat Barefield

There’s so much information out there and so many different diets that it’s hard to tell which one is best. After all, people want results and they want results yesterday. Obviously, UFC GYM members are aware that exercise plays a critical goal in reaching their goals. However, many don’t realize that nutritional habits are the main driver of weight and fat loss, with exercise riding shot gun. Once the weight loss destination is reached, exercise is a key predictor of whether weight loss is maintained. Those who do recognize the role of nutrition for weight loss often turn to popular diets like ketogenic (very low carbohydrate), paleo (omitting specific foods), IIFYM (if it fits your macros) and plant-based diets (vegetarian, vegan or mostly plant foods). Adopting one of these approaches can lead to weight loss because calorie intake is reduced. Is one better than the other? It depends. The research shows that when calories and protein are matched, varying levels of fat and carbohydrate are effective for weight loss.  Some people feel and do better on a lower carbohydrate diet, others on a higher carbohydrate diet. It’s whether the client can follow the diet long-term that determines success. And to do that, they’ll need to master some nutrition fundamentals:

  • Eat the right amount for their body, goals and activity level. That means curing portion distortion, reading nutritional labels, and tracking food to gain awareness of their choices and calorie content.
  • Eat lean protein and veggies at each meal to support muscle, boost satiety and nutrient intake. Active people need about .7 to 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
  • Fill nutrition gaps to prevent and correct nutrient insufficiencies and support optimal health.
  • Banish mindless eating by slowing down, ridding distractions and cuing in to the feeling of fullness and satisfaction

Without mastering the fundamentals and instead choosing a temporary solution like a popular diet that most can’t sustain, temporary results are inevitable. Here are some tips for setting yourself up for success:

  • Start with education. Only 1 out of 10 Americans know how many calories they need to maintain their weight. When you use your dotFIT program, it’ll show how many calories you typically burn, how much to eat to reach your goal, and sample menus with portion sizes. dotFIT is UFC GYM’s nutrition partner and provides evidence-based program and products for all UFC GYM members. If you don’t have your dotFIT program, reach out to a Coach to get set up.
  • Increase your awareness. Most people think they eat less than they do. Tracking what you normally eat can kill two birds with one stone – 1) you gain awareness of what and how much you’re eating and 2) it helps identify areas for improvement. Bonus – people who track what they eat regularly lose more weight than those who don’t.
  • Start where you are. What are you client willing to work on? Eating more protein? Adding more veggies? Reducing portion sizes or junk food? Eating without distractions? The more willing and able you are, the more likely you are to succeed.
  • Set weekly nutrition goals. Focus on specific behaviors and collaborate with a Coach or a friend to set a weekly goal. A Coach can hold you accountable to these goals and tweak as needed.
  • Track physical AND behavioral progress. Creating behaviors that lead to weight loss will make results stick. Focus on the right behaviors and the physical results will follow.

Visit UFC GYM and speak to one of our fitness experts to kickstart your journey to the healthiest version of yourself.

By: Kat Barefield, MS, RDN, CPT, CES, PES

Registered Dietitian Nutrition

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