What healthy diet meal plan will you try in 2019? INSIDER recently polled 1,102 people about their 2019 resolutions, and 473 respondents said theirs were related to eating healthier or dieting.
Healthy Eating Meal Plan Diets Popular for 2019
When asked which type of healthy eating meal plan diet they planned to adopt in the new year, the top five answers were a low-carb diet, calorie restriction, the keto diet, a low-fat diet, and eating less meat.
INSIDER askes Brigitte Zeitlin, Andy Ballatti and Georgia Fear, all Registered Dieticians, their thoughts on whether the diets selected meet their definition of a healthy eating plan,
Expert Views on Healthy Eating Meal Plans
This is what these three dieticians think about the top choices for healthy eating meal plans.
1. Low-carb diet
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation because they’re found in many foods that are both calorie-dense and nutrient-poor, like potato chips, baked goods, candy, and soda.
- Cutting back on those specific foods definitely can benefit health, but it’s important to remember that plenty of healthy foods are high in carbs, too.
- Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans are primarily made of carbohydrates but also come packed with health-promoting fiber and nutrients.
- A diet that restrict all carbs – without making a distinction between cookies and clementines, for example – isn’t likely to make you healthier.
- And when it comes to weight loss, there are more caveats to note. First, weight loss on a low-carb diet may be short-lived.
- But, it is possible for a low-carb diet to support lasting weight loss, as long as you’re swapping refined carbs for foods that are less calorie-dense.
2. Calorie restriction
If you eat fewer calories than you expend – also known as creating a calorie deficit – you’ll lose weight. Here are some techniques worth trying.
- Using a calorie-counting app is one way to track your intake.
- Tweak the portions on your plate so that you eat more vegetables and fruits, which are naturally low in calories. If half your dinner plate is normally filled with rice and one quarter is filled with salad, try switching those proportions.
- Try tuning into your body and eating only when you truly feel hungry.
- Consider skipping any high-calorie, low-nutrient foods that you don’t really love.
- If you’re simply trying to eat healthier, calorie restriction isn’t the best idea. Instead, focus on adding in more vegetables, more whole grains, more fish, more white-meat chicken, more fruits.
3. Keto diet
The ketogenic, or keto, diet calls for eating mostly fat with some protein and very few carbs. Generally, keto dieters limit carbs to less than 50 grams per day, and sometimes as low as 20.
- None of the dietitians INSIDER interviewed recommended keto as a long-term weight loss strategy.
- It might cause initial weight loss because it forces adherents to give up so many calorie-rich foods that are easy to overeat, but that’s not actual fat loss.
- Research on keto’s long-term effects is still lacking, but one study did find that, after a year, keto didn’t drastically outperform other weight-loss diets, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
4. Low-fat diet
Fats are not inherently bad for you. In fact, you need some fats in your diet. They provide energy and help you absorb certain nutrients. They’re used to build cell membranes and the coating that protects your nerves. They also play a major role in helping you feel full after you eat.
- People who currently eat lots of cheese, red meat, ice cream, or other foods high in saturated fat could benefit their heart health if they reduce their portion sizes of these foods.
- Reducing your fat intake may help with weight loss, but only in the context of a calorie deficit. What you eat instead of fatty food matters.
- If instead if fat, you’re eating twice the amount of starch or sugar, it’s going to be a moot point.
- Similarly, swapping equal amounts of unhealthy fats for healthy ones won’t spur weight loss.
- While most people could comfortably reduce some of the fat in their diet without it negatively impacting their fullness, a dramatic reduction in fat intake could make you feel hungrier sooner after you eat, but this could also hamper weight loss efforts.
5. Eating less meat
- There’s no harm in cutting down on meat as long as we’re replacing it with other high-quality proteins, like eggs, edamame, beans, chickpeas, lentils, almonds, or nut butter.
- If making these types of swaps result in a calorie deficit, you can lose weight, too. Eating less meat in and of itself won’t necessarily result in a change on the scale.
- Often people who strive to become vegetarian or vegan actually have a harder time losing weight, because when people avoid really rich sources of protein such as meat they actually find they need to eat more calories to feel satiated.
- But if somebody’s happy with their weight but wants to do some good things for their cancer and heart disease risk, then decreasing the meat that they eat and substituting it with beans or other plant-based proteins can be a worthwhile venture.
Click here to read full article evaluating the most popular healthy eating meal plans for 2019.