Leading Diets Demystified

Demystifying 4 Leading Approaches to Nutrition

Eating a diet that promotes health, lean muscle, weight loss and optimal performance can be elusive to many. There is so much information available that it can be terribly overwhelming. What works and is sustainable for some may not be the best option for others. While there is science to support different approaches to what is healthy, each person’s response and requirements are different, individualized nutrition is decidedly an art.

In preparation for Coach Ben’s nutrtion talk on Saturday, we’ll wade through some of the info.

A comparison will help demystify a few of the most popular diets in the fitness community

It is important to remember that these diets are not fads that are meant to be followed for 6 weeks and then return to old habits. Eating for health and performance is an approach to the way we must think about food and how it affects us. The human body is a machine that needs fuel to survive. Nutrition should be taken seriously.

You will not fully achieve real fitness goals without taking care of your nutrition

You will find that these diets are quite similar to each other with differences in goals and how restrictive they are.

  1.     CLEAN EATING –This is the only program that allows for grains. This is not a wheat “free-for-all” There are guidelines
  • Eat lots of plants
  • Whole and natural meats
  • Whole grains
  • Read labels and know what the ingredients are. If you cannot pronounce it, you should not eat it.
  • Learn to love healthy fats avocado, egg yolks, coconut and olive oils
  • Avoid processed, packaged foods,
  • Dairy- Full fat is recommended. The lower the fat for more processed it is.
  • Read more about Clean Eating.
  1.     GLUTEN FREE

Gluten is basically food glue that helps foods maintain their shape. Wheat has many different names, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham to name few.

A gluten free diet is a must for someone diagnosed with Celiac disease but we are finding that some people have gluten intolerances. For some, by avoiding gluten the blood sugar has less highs and lows and people generally feel better.

  • Avoid Grains- Wheat, Barley, Rye, Triticale and sometimes Oats
  • It seems pretty easy and straight forward but you’d be shocked at how much gluten is in foods that should have no grains in them at all. Intensive label checking must be done. Check out this list from the Celiac Disease Foundation
  • Protein takes priority
  • Limit carbohydrate intake
  • Eat healthy fats including butter, animal fats, coconut oil and olive oil
  • Unlimited produce
  • HIgh fat dairy, fruit  and nut butters in moderation
  • Occasional red wine and dark chocolate
  • Avoid sugar, processed and junk foods
  • Avoid all grains including wheat grains and oats
  • Avoid Vegetable oils and margarines
  • Read more about the Primal BluePrint at Mark’s Daily Apple


  1. PALEO
    Similar to the Primal Blueprint but more restrictive. The Paleo diet takes the best of everything and dumps the rest. It is a great option for people who have food allergies, Celiac disease and autoimmune diseases. In my opinion Paleo is the healthiest approach to food and nutrition but can also be the hardest to sustain.
  • Eat Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean meats
  • Seafood
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Fats
  • Avoid grains
  • Dairy
  • Processed food and sugars
  • Legumes
  • Starches
  • Alcohol
  • Read more about Pale from my favorite source Robb Wolf

Finding the best option for you is about doing research, getting started and being consistent. By simply cutting out sugars and processed foods you will make great strides in improving your health.

Anything you do is worth the effort!


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