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Paleo, Atkins, Vegan, DASH, etc… Which diet is best?!

What diet plan is best? What do you think of the ____ diet? What kind of diet do you eat? This is probably the most common question I get before people actually work with me. Little do most people know how loaded these questions really are. Have you ever counted the number of diet books in a Barnes and Noble? I would roughly guess around 200 and that’s just the most popular sellers. Without a doubt, each one of those books has numerous first-hand accounts about how that diet changed their life. Accounts from people who have tried every other diet out there and this one was the only one that worked. Every. Single. One. How can that be possible? I don’t know if this is a product of the information age or if it has always been like this, but we want everything straight. No grey area. No option. We want true or false. Right or wrong. Unfortunately, life just isn’t that way. Neither is nutrition.
The truth is that different foods, in different amounts, and at different times are right for different people. In fact this goes for exercise and to some extent lifestyle habits as well. Why is this so hard for all of us to admit? I think partly because we inherently think if something works for us, then it should work for others as well. Think critically about it though. Even if you know very little about nutrition, would you assume that a marathon runner needs the same diet as a business executive? Of course not. Different vehicles need different types of fuel. Now forget about the surface for a second. Assume two people have the same job, height, weight, body fat percentage, and daily demands. Two people who look the same on the outside, are biochemically diverse. We have different genetic makeups, hormone patterns, blood types, nutritional stores, and neurotransmitter levels among countless other internal components. Although we cannot see it, we know it’s true. How in the world then, can there be just one perfect diet?!

This is why I practice functional nutrition. I’ve found that some of the most commonly accepted “healthy foods” are not right for certain people at certain points in their life. I’ve seen one person in particular who found through functional nutrition that almonds, eggs, apples, broccoli, honey, and olive oil among other things, were not healthy foods for him. Most of those are generally accepted as healthy foods wouldn’t you agree? Not for him, at least not at that point in his life. Those foods actually did more bad for him than good. Functional nutrition isn’t a specific diet. It’s a YOU diet.
Now, I will say that there are many overlaps in what is good for different people just as there are great parts of most any fad diet. However, we are dynamic creatures. Even within one person, different foods, amounts, and timing are ideal at different points in your life. Even at just 26 years of age currently, my diet is and has to be different than it was 10 years ago.
To answer the first question about which diet is best, here is my answer:
You have to run lab tests to find out. You have to know what your hormone pathways look like, how your liver is functioning, and how your digestive system is functioning. You have to know your neurotransmitter levels are and if you have any pathogens. To create the perfect diet, you have to find out what foods your body is sensitive/intolerant/allergic to and if you have any nutrient deficiencies.
If you’re interested in finding the YOU diet, contact me about these. Here is another little bit for you though. Adherence is paramount. The best diet is useless if it’s not one that you can execute. The best diet is one you can stick to and adapt to for the rest of your life.

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