We at 4G Athletic know that nutrition and fitness go hand-in-hand. That’s why we’re excited to share educational and helpful nutrition content with our clients and fans! We love coaching you to success in the gym, and we want you to amplify those results by taking some time to focus on your nutrition.
Keto is all the rage right now, but it’s not the only weight loss plan out there! Here we’re breaking down three of the diets you’ve probably heard about recently. Which one is right for you? Read on to find out:
The Keto Diet
In Short: This diet steers you to a high fat, mid-range protein, low carb way of eating. Think lots of cheese, red meat, eggs, avocado, nuts, and fibrous vegetables. And that’s about it. Bread, pasta, sugar, some dairy products, and even fruit are off-limits because of their carb count. Initial weight loss comes from water weight as a result of not refilling your muscles with glycogen (carbs + water), but long-term fat loss is possible in the context of a calorie deficit.
Pros: All the delicious fats! No calorie counting (unless you find that you’re not losing weight…then you might want to start counting calories). Can be very simple by simply following lists of “eat this, don’t eat that”
Cons: Can feel restrictive (no fruit??), can be hard to sustain in a social setting, and the adjustment period is rough, with many dieters reporting flu-like symptoms and muscle weakness.
Best for: sedentary people (carbs are fuel for your workouts!), those who need an initial water weight drop to lean out, anyone who would prefer to just stick to food lists instead of count calories.
Not recommended for: athletes, extremely active people, anyone who isn’t ready to cut out entire food groups from their diets, anyone who is unable or unwilling to tune in to hunger cues and eat accordingly.
The Paleo Diet
In Short: This diet hails back to the “hunter-gatherer days”, so you’ll be eating anything that walks, swims, or flies, as well as anything that “comes from the ground”. Proponents of this diet recommend lean meats, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, and some oils. The boundaries get a little blurry depending on which variation of this diet you follow, so you may or may not also be eating potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, and oatmeal. Sugar, gluten, dairy products, and alcohol are forbidden. As always, fat loss will occur if calories are kept in a deficit. The concept behind this diet is that healthier foods fill you up, so you’ll automatically eat less, which will automatically put you into a calorie deficit.
Pros: Lots and lots of healthy food! General inflammation is often reduced, sugar “addictions” are broken, no calorie counting (again, unless you find you aren’t losing weight, then you should track your calories).
Cons: Can feel restrictive, can be hard to sustain in a social setting, can cause you to inadvertently under-fuel by not consuming enough carbs, or over-fuel because it’s easy to subconsciously overeat calories when you know you’re eating healthy foods.
Best for: anyone who wants to try “clean eating” along with their desire to lose weight, anyone who has digestive issues and wants to start with a basic elimination diet, and those who don’t want to count calories but have a good understanding of which foods contain protein, carbs, and fat.
Not recommended for: those with specific training goals, anyone who isn’t ready to cut out food groups from their diets, anyone who is unable or unwilling to tune in to hunger cues and eat accordingly.
Tracking Macros/Counting Macros/IIFYM
In Short: : You eat according to a specific number of carbs, protein, and fat each day, again in the context of a calorie deficit. Protein is generally kept high, but carbs and fat vary based on your goals and activity level. There are no foods off-limits, unless of course you have a known food allergy or intolerance. Best results are generally seen when the food consists of mostly whole, clean-ish foods, with plenty of fresh vegetables, lean protein, and complex carbs. However, cupcakes, donuts, and pizza are all allowed, if you can fit them into your prescribed macros for the day. Macros can be followed exactly or used as a guideline for weight loss.
Pros: No foods off limits… which helps remove the guilt surrounding food choices and creates a healthier relationship with food. Macros are tailored to individual lifestyles and activity levels and are easily adjusted based on fat loss results and performance in training.
Cons: Counting calories, weighing, measuring, and tracking your food, all of which can feel obsessive.
Best for: those in a performance-based training program, athletes, those who are trying to break free from food guilt, anyone who doesn’t appreciate restrictive food rules.
Not recommended for: those who despise calorie counting and food journaling of any sort, anyone who prefers to eat more intuitively.
Finally, remember to consult with your doctor before starting any new diet or weight loss plan.