However, changing your diet to include more of the good stuff – wholegrain foods, fruits and vegetables – and less of the bad stuff, like junk food, is always a good idea.
If you’re worried about certain aspects of your wellbeing, there’s a diet that’s right for you, too. So, which one should you choose?
You need… the Mediterranean DietThe Mediterranean Diet is based on the diets of people living near the Mediterranean in France, Spain, Italy and Greece. There are countless studies that show this diet is good for your health2 – and in particular your heart. A 2016 global study of more than 15,000 people reported that those following a Mediterranean Diet were less likely to have a heart attack or stroke.3 To follow a Mediterranean Diet,4 you need to:
You need… a healthy, balanced dietSorry, there’s no magic bullet when it comes to losing weight,5 but there are some golden rules. The British Dietetic Association6 advises:
If you’ve got a lot of weight to lose, talk to your GP before starting any new eating plan.
You need… a protein-rich dietWe’re not talking about Atkins or Keto, but simply a diet that ups your protein intake. US army research found that taking on extra protein not only increases muscle mass, but can improve muscle strength in active men, too.7 You need around 1g of protein per kg of body weight, but this will increase when you start training. Try to eat ‘natural’ sources of protein – meat and fish are primary sources, but animal-free alternatives include tofu and other plant proteins – rather than protein shakes or bars as these often contain sugars, fats and additives. Get advice from a nutritionist before increasing your protein intake, as too much can overload the kidneys.8
You need… a flexitarian or reducetarian diet
Completely avoiding meat, fish, eggs and dairy means going vegan. But if all you want is to eat more plant-based foods, you have a couple of diet options:
Handpicked article: Seven ways to lose weight naturallyShop Weight Management Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies. Written by Rosalind Ryan on November 22, 2018 Reviewed by dietitian and nutritionist Azmina Govindji on November 26, 2018
1. British Dietetic Association. Fad diets factsheet. Available from: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/faddiets.pdf
2. Kris Gunnars. Healthline. 5 studies on the Mediterranean Diet – does it really work? Available from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-studies-on-the-mediterranean-diet
3. Stewart RA, et al. Dietary patterns and the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in a global study of high-risk patients with stable coronary heart disease. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27109584
4. NHS. What is a Mediterranean diet? Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/what-is-a-mediterranean-diet/
5. Mayo Clinic. Weight loss – choosing a diet that’s right for you. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss/art-20048466
6. British Dietetic Association. Weight loss. Available from: https://www.bda.uk.com/foodfacts/weight_loss
7. Pasiakos SM, McLellan TM, Lieberman HR. The effects of protein supplements on muscle mass, strength, and aerobic and anaerobic power in healthy adults: a systematic review. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25169440
8. BBC iWonder. Should you worry about how much protein you eat? Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z8899j6