Everyone has heard of so-called diets like Eating like a Caveman or going gluten-free, while the one diet that ranks consistently at the top gets hardly any buzz at all. Each year, health experts rate the top diets for US News & World Report and each year the DASH Diet tops their list.
Suzanne Farrell is the owner of Cherry Creek Nutrition and a registered dietitian. She says you have to think of the word “diet” as the way you live, not what you’re giving up. “You’re either on it or you’re off of it,” she said. Cutting calories or even food groups to quickly shed pounds can often backfire. “What happens when you go off of it, then what?”
Farrell said it’s really about finding a plan that’s sustainable for life. “The diet that works is the diet that you can live with.” Excluding gluten or banning carbs isn’t a forever solution. “The idea of eliminating food groups, no grains, no dairies, really over time, could put you at risk for missing certain nutrients.”
But, the popularity of Paleo diets and gluten-free food is soaring. It’s become such a buzz word that grocery stores have entire aisles dedicated to gluten-free products and even items that are naturally gluten-free, like bell peppers, often are labeled as such.
“It’s an ingredient that’s not toxic or bad unless you have celiac disease so avoiding it, isn’t a healthy step for somebody,” Farrell said. Instead, she has her clients focus on adding-in nutrition.
“We started introducing a lot more veggies into the snacking,” said Erin Sorce. She’s a busy mom of three and said with a little time and preparation, healthy eating becomes easy.
“It is second nature now, it’s really just been sort of part of our life.” Here’s how she does it, “When I came home from the grocery store I would immediately start a dozen hard-boiled eggs and we make popcorn and we wash all the fruits and vegetables, everything gets washed and then we prep it for in the fridge.”
Sorce has been practicing her new way of life for two years now. She said she even surpassed her goal weight because she didn’t have to think about cutting out any food groups. “What I was choosing to eat, day after day, month after month, was the right amount to keep me at that particular weight and it wasn’t something I had to stress about,” said Sorce.
Farrell tells all of her clients to give it a year, learn how to eat through holidays and events that will inevitably come up. “The secret is small changes, consistently, and being patient,” she said.
It may not add up to the rapid weight loss that can come with eliminating certain food groups, but it sets you up for lifelong success. That’s why the DASH Diet is successful. Dietary Approaches To Stop Hypertension continues to rank high among nutritionists. “I think that they’re always rated in the top because they’re really based in science.”
Bottom line, its life long, not short term. “There is no one-size fits all diet,” said Farrell.