What is the ‘Best Diet’?

What’s the ‘best diet’ for your clients?

Let me start by saying that ‘best diet’ is a subjective concept. 

A given diet may be very good for Client A but disastrous for Client B. 

We all are unique, and a good holistic nutrition coach will have the right expertise, knowledge, and skills to help their clients find the right diet for them. 

Creating a diet starts by asking the right questions and knowing as much as you can about your client’s needs, wants, goals, abilities, and lifestyle through the help of various forms and questionnaires.

These forms and questionnaires will help you understand a lot about your clients, which include but are not limited to their goals, fitness levels, budget, dietary preferences usually based on their ethnic background, how much time they can devote to their health and fitness goals, their diet history, past dieting successes/failures, and so forth. 

When you acquire the above details and more, you’ll be able to design the best diet for your clients because it will be personalized to them. 

Having said that, there are still important healthy guidelines and fundamental dietary principles common to ANY diet you design for your clients. 

I strongly feel any diet plan which has the following 7 health components can help anyone lose weight/build muscle and optimize their health most efficiently and effectively. 

Let’s discuss them in detail. 

# 1 Health Component of a Good Diet Plan —Minimize or Eliminate Sugar

In today’s world, it’s not what you eat, but what gets in the way.

There are thousands of products in the supermarket and many are designed to make you fat.

The culprit is SUGAR.

The chart below provides a few dozen aliases for sugar on the ingredient lists of packaged foods:

If you find any of these ingredients (especially in the first three items of the ingredient list) as a rule of thumb, the majority of the calories in that product come from sugar.

Added sugar in foods and refined sugar were nonexistent a few hundred years ago!

In the 1700s, the average person consumed 4 pounds of sugar per annum. It increased to 60 pounds per annum in the 1900s.

In the 21st century, the average worldwide sugar consumption per annum is a whopping 170 pounds per annum! 

In fact, added sugar is present in ~75% of processed foods and beverages in the United States. 

Sugar is added to pastries, biscuits, ketchup, cured meats, candy, bread, soups, cereals, salad dressings, pasta sauces, flavored yogurts, and so forth.

Numerous studies support a strong association between sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and obesity.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20138901/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22289979/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16895873/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19056589/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22998338/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22998340/>))

SSBs account for more than one-third of calories from added sugars.((<https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021>))

In addition, scores of scientific literature indicate that the consumption of SSBs causes insulin resistance.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27001645/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25825943/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19381015/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21677052/>))

Insulin resistance significantly increases the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. 

And don’t forget that unwanted weight gain (or obesity) is also a risk factor for developing diabetes.((<https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4822166/>))

In a 2014 study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine, Quanhe Yang et al. concluded that a higher percentage of added sugar calories (17% to 21%) increased CVD mortality risk by 38%. And the relative risk was more than double for those who consumed 21% or more calories from added sugar.((<https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1819573>))

A few more studies support the same conclusion.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20308626/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22412070/>))

A few randomized controlled trials are consistent with the fact that added sugars are responsible for high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease.((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21357284/>)) ((<https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20497980/>))

In summary, SUGAR is the main culprit and any diet that minimizes (or eliminates) it will help ANYONE lose weight and become healthy.

# 2 Health Component of a Good Diet Plan—Enjoyability

For most, dieting is an event. Once they are off their diets, they usually revert to their old eating patterns. Unfortunately, they also gain all the weight back!

You cannot win against a powerful enemy like sugar (or any fast/junk food).

sugar enemy

If we mention that we are going to eat pizza for dinner and somehow our 6-year-old son gets a hint, he does not stop reminding us until he eats his first bite. 🙂

I wish he had the same addiction to eating dal.

Unfortunately, that can never be the case, as food companies spend billions and billions of dollars every year in R & D. They employ super-smart people to create food chemicals that alter our brain chemistry and taste buds so that no one can eat just one.

So let’s be smart and include these chemically altered sin foods as part of our healthy diet plan.

How?

By giving yourself the freedom to eat a percentage of calories from your favorite foods.

Why not allow ~20% of calories from unhealthy foods?

20% of 2000 comes to around 600. 

If we mention that we are going to eat pizza for dinner and somehow our 6-year-old son gets a hint, he does not stop reminding us until he eats his first bite. 🙂

I wish he had the same addiction to eating dal.

Unfortunately, that can never be the case, as food companies spend billions and billions of dollars every year in R & D. They employ super-smart people to create food chemicals that alter our brain chemistry and taste buds so that no one can eat just one.

So let’s be smart and include these chemically altered sin foods as part of our healthy diet plan.

How?

By giving yourself the freedom to eat a percentage of calories from your favorite foods.

Why not allow ~20% of calories from unhealthy foods?

20% of 2000 comes to around 600. 

Depending on your client’s health and fitness experience and how fast they would like to achieve their goals, it’s a good idea to allow 10 – 30% of their daily calories from their favorite foods. 

# 3 Component of a Good Diet Plan—Safeguard against cravings and hunger

Protein has a satiety effect. It gives you that feeling of fullness. For example when I eat this:

I don’t feel hungry for at least 5 hours!

Also, including healthy fats along with proteins helps, as one gram of fat has nine calories, which slows down gastric emptying.

Fats can be your best friend or your worst enemy. It is easy to get confused when talking about fats because some are good and some are bad.

Good fats found in egg yolk, ghee, coconut oil, walnuts, almonds, avocados, and so forth play a host of important functions in our bodies, make our food tasty and slow down gastric emptying which when combined with protein can help alleviate cravings and hunger.

Bad fats like trans fats that are added to virtually every processed food item are completely eliminated on this diet. 

Vegetable oils that people consider healthy are also a big no as they turn rancid and toxic when used for cooking.

For the past few decades, fats, especially saturated fats, have gotten a lot of attention in the press and have been unfairly demonized. 

It all started with Ancel Keys and the Seven Countries Study.

Related:

Saturated Fats: Good or Bad?

#4 Healthy Component of a Good Diet Plan—Balance Macronutrients

A good diet is almost never lopsided where one macronutrient is completely missing! There are a few exceptions to this like a standard ketogenic diet. 

In SKD, the calories from carbohydrates are limited to only 100 calories or 25 g on any given day!

If you have been on a standard ketogenic diet for many months or more and feel that it works for you, then more power to you!

However, for most people, it does not work! 

Carbohydrates from whole grains, pulses, beans, fruits, and vegetables are a fabulous addition to one’s diet (especially for a vegetarian). 

And so are proteins and healthy fats. 

The best diet for any of your clients (with some exceptions like an SKD) should derive at least 20% calories from each of the macronutrients. 

A few macro splits that are commonly used (expressed in percentages):

C : P : F

50 : 25: 25

40 : 30 : 30

20 : 30 : 50

A good diet is almost never lopsided where one macronutrient is completely missing! There are a few exceptions to this like a standard ketogenic diet. 

In SKD, the calories from carbohydrates are limited to only 100 calories or 25 g on any given day!

If you have been on a standard ketogenic diet for many months or more and feel that it works for you, then more power to you!

However, for most people, it does not work! 

Carbohydrates from whole grains, pulses, beans, fruits, and vegetables are a fabulous addition to one’s diet (especially for a vegetarian). 

And so are proteins and healthy fats. 

The best diet for any of your clients (with some exceptions like an SKD) should derive at least 20% calories from each of the macronutrients. 

A few macro splits that are commonly used (expressed in percentages):

C : P : F

50 : 25: 25

40 : 30 : 30

20 : 30 : 50

Essentially, each macronutrient’s percentage can vary between 20 and 50% depending on dietary preferences, selected meals based on ethnic background, etc.

# 5 Healthy Component of a Good Diet Plan—Optimal Intake of Micronutrients

There are 13 vitamins and 17 minerals that are essential for our survival. 

Billions of chemical reactions that convert food into energy rely on these micronutrients.  

Therefore, a good diet should contain all essential nutrients. How can you make sure of this?

Here is a snapshot of a sample diet plan with all its core food ingredients. 

There are 13 vitamins and 17 minerals that are essential for our survival. 

Billions of chemical reactions that convert food into energy rely on these micronutrients.  

Therefore, a good diet should contain all essential nutrients. How can you make sure of this?

Here is a snapshot of a sample diet plan with all its core food ingredients. 

Notice the levels of micronutrients and fiber. Almost everything is above 100% of the recommended dose.

Note: The best way to get Vitamin D is through the sun.

# 6 Healthy Component of a Good Diet Plan—Optimal Intake of Special Compounds

Special compounds include fiber, probiotics, and phytonutrients. 

Fiber: Soluble and Insoluble

Most experts agree that the average person only gets about half the needed amount of fiber daily. Estimates indicate that most of us are getting no more than 12 g a day, which is severely deficient.

Ideally, women should get about 25 grams a day and men at least 35 to 40 grams a day.

Studies show that optimal fiber intake can help lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. It may also help with certain types of cancer like colorectal cancer.

Related:

What is Fiber? Health Benefits, Food Sources, and Daily Requirements

Probiotics 

Optimizing gut bacteria is the key to good health. 

Probiotics are the good bacteria in your gut, including some yeast that can act as probiotics.

Probiotics help us digest and absorb our food and help stimulate our immune system.

Roughly 70% of our immune system is located within the gut in the form of gut-associated lymphoid tissue [GALT].3

There is enough evidence to suggest that gut microbiota modulate neurotransmitters like serotonin, GABA, and even dopamine.9 10

The gut is the largest site for serotonin, as gut microbes and gut cells produce it.11

Literally, 90% of the serotonin in the body is produced in the gut.12

With so many awesome benefits of probiotics, it makes sense that a good diet includes many foods high in probiotics like buttermilk, yogurt, kimchi, kanji, pickles, chutney, etc. 

Related:

Probiotics Health Benefits | 9 Probiotics Rich Foods

Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients are chemicals that plants produce to protect themselves from insects, fungi, bugs, and UV rays. 

Unlike vitamins and minerals, phytonutrients aren’t essential for keeping us alive. However they play an important role in optimizing our health. 

Therefore, eating a variety of plant-based foods is imperative to ensure a steady supply of phytonutrients. 

The two major classes of phytonutrients are carotenoids and flavonoids.

Related:

What are Phytonutrients? Health Benefits and Food Sources

What are Phytonutrients? Health Benefits and Food Sources

# 7 Healthy Component of a Good Diet Plan—Ethnic Background and Cultural Eating Habits

A Gujrati will prefer to eat khandvi, kadhi or dhokla. A south Indian would love to have dosa on the menu, and no matter how much you promote ghee or coconut oil to Italians, they would prefer olive oil as their source of healthy fats. 

Sure, once in a while people like to try different cuisines, but the best diet for anyone is in line with their ethnic background and cultural eating habits.

What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

What is the best vegetarian, Indian bodybuilding diet for muscle gain and fat loss?

A sample Indian bodybuilding vegetarian diet:

Please note that, diet for muscle gain and fat loss will have the same food items, only the number of calories, and possibly the macronutrient profiling will change.

I am assuming that a vegetarian (unlike a vegan) will consume eggs and milk.

Breakfast options:

-Oatmeal with banana and crushed almonds with some unprocessed honey

-Asian mushroom omelette with 3 slices of whole wheat bread

Lunch Options:

-Brown rice with rajma (red beans) and big bowl of green salad

-2-3 Chappatis with dal (Lentils), any cooked vegetable and a bowl of salad.

Dinner Options:

3 rotis+ 2 bowls dal, a big bowl of salad and mix veg.

Try and get it cooked in desi ghee. Why?, its a myth that ghee is bad for your health. Find out here.

Add snacks:Almonds, walnuts are the best. Eat bananas generously as a pre-workout and/or post workout.

Protein Smoothie (optional): Cows milk+Whey. Add more fruits like strawberries etc if you like. Add a little bit of chocolate syrup. this works wonder for me, as it satisfies my sweet cravings and helps me to stay away from donuts, pastries etc.

One can have this smoothie as a complete meal, either as breakfast, lunch or dinner.

To get more protein eat yogurt, paneer (cottage cheese) with your meals. It ok to eat 3 meals a day (eating smaller meals a day is purely a myth and its not superior to eating lesser meals ).

Include lot of green vegetables (in the form of salads mainly), as micronutrients in them aids in the chemical processes in the body which helps build muscles.

To gain muscle:Eat about 200–500 calories more than your TDEE.

To lose fat:Eat about 500–750 calories less than your TDEE.

Related posts:

https://fabulousbody.com/how-to-lose-weight-the-right-way/

Macro distribution varies based on genetics, cultural and environment factors. I eat low-moderate carbs during a cut (it helps in improving my insulin sensitivity) at the same time, I eat about 40–50% of calories from carbs during the bulk phase.

Either phases I make sure that my carbs are complex in nature. I completely avoid simply sugars and only have them in the form of fruits.

Hope this helps:)

1200 Calorie Indian Meal Plan |To Lose Weight & Get Healthy

Ladies,

This 1200 calorie meal plan is for you:)

Gents, this is way too fewer calories and will be considered a starvation diet for you and even if you lose weight in the short term, in the long term you will screw up your metabolism, initiate hormonal imbalances and will gain more weight overall.

Learning how to create your own personalized meal plan does not need to be tough.

I have created a ten step process to help anyone to create a perfect fat loss/muscle building meal plan based on their preferences, lifestyle, schedule and their goals.

Diet Plan Mastery | A 10-Step Process

Indian Vegetarian 1200 Calorie Meal Plan

Wake Up Drinks 

Drink 500ml+ Lemon Water

Apple Cider Vinegar + Water

Green Tea

Black Coffee or

Tea/Coffee with Milk (little or no Sugar) w/t 1 Plain Biscuit – 50 cal

P:1 F:2.5 C:22

Breakfast

Banana Steel-Cut Oats- 400 calories

Steel-Cut Oats [40g]

Whole Cows Milk [150ml] (Read why saturated fatis good for you!)

Banana [Medium]

Almonds Crushed [7]

P:13 F:12 C:55 

Mid-Morning Snack

Apple- 100 Calories

P:0 F:0 C:25 

Lunch

Mixed-Sprout Salad with Paneer-300 calories

Mung Daal+Chaana+Chooped Vegetables [200g]

Paneer [200g]

P:30 F:16 C:8 

Dinner

Daal + Subzi + Roti-330 Calories

Cooked Daal [150g/Medium Bowl]

Any Subzi [Medium Bowl]

Roti [1 Medium]

Ghee [10g]

P:13 F:12 C:42 

Grand Total: 1250 calories. P:57 F:45 C:155 

Hope this helps.

Diet Plans | Two Diet Plans to Lose Weight

Here I will give two Diet Plans- one for a female and one for a male that will help them lose weight.

1200 Diet Plan to Lose Weight [Fat] for Female

Wake Up Drinks 

Drink 500ml+ Lemon Water

Apple Cider Vinegar + Water

Green Tea

Black Coffee or

Tea/Coffee with Milk (little or no Sugar) w/t 1 Plain Biscuit – 50 cal

P:1 F:2.5 C:22

Breakfast

Banana Steel-Cut Oats- 400 calories

Steel-Cut Oats [40g]

Whole Cows Milk [150ml] (Read why saturated fatis good for you!)

Banana [Medium]

Almonds Crushed [7]

P:13 F:12 C:55 

Mid-Morning Snack

Apple- 100 Calories

P:0 F:0 C:25 

Lunch

Mixed-Sprout Salad with Paneer-300 calories

Mung Daal+Chaana+Chooped Vegetables [200g]

Paneer [200g]

P:30 F:16 C:8 

Dinner

Daal + Subzi + Roti-330 Calories

Cooked Daal [150g/Medium Bowl]

Any Subzi [Medium Bowl]

Roti [1 Medium]

Ghee [10g]

P:13 F:12 C:42 

Grand Total: 1250 calories. P:57 F:45 C:155 

Do you want these diet plans in easy to read formats?

Enrol FREE in my course Nutrition for a Fit & Healthy Body-Beginners Course & and get a lot more diet charts and much more!

1500 Calorie Diet Plan to Lose Weight [Fat] for Males

Wake Up Drinks 

Drink 500ml+ Lemon Water

Apple Cider Vinegar + Water

Green Tea

Black Coffee or

Tea/Coffee with Milk (little or no Sugar) w/t 1 Plain Biscuit – 50 cal

P:1 F:2.5 C:22

Breakfast

Asian Mushroom Omelette- 526 calories

Whole Eggs [4]

Whole Wheat Bread[2 Medium Slices]

Desi Ghee/Extra Virgin Olive Oil [10g]

P:30 F:34 C:25 

Lunch

Chicken Avocado Tosada Salad-469 calories

Marinated Chicken Breast [200g]

Avocado [50g]

Desi Ghee/Extra Virgin Olive Oil [10g]

P:60 F:21 C:10

Dinner

Quick Chicken Parmesan-640 Calories

Chicken Breast [200g]

1/4 Cup Dry Breadcrumbs

Whole Eggs [1]

Desi Ghee/Extra Virgin Olive Oil [10g]

Mashed Potatoes [10g]

Big Bowl of Green Salad

P:49 F:28 C:48

Grand Total: 1650 calories. P:125 F:25 C:125 

Enrol FREE in my course Nutrition for a Fit & Healthy Body-Beginners Course & and get a lot more diet charts and much more!

Simple Diet Plan for Weight Loss & for Health

I wrote this answer on Quora and instantly it picked up and garnered more than 750,000 views with 1200 upvotes!

There is nothing extra-ordinary about this post, instead, it’s exactly the opposite. It’s discusses my Dad’s diet which has been simple, no figuring out the TDEE, no macro calculations, no carb loading, no keto or paleo variations.

Our lives have become complicated, the least we can do is to keep our diets simple.

My dad (who is 60+) is healthy despite few glitches here and there.

He has been eating a simple meal since childhood, as have millions of people like him of his generation.

Back then, dieting, weight loss was not a big industry!

There were not many foods that were marketed as diet, low carb, low fat, etc.

Most of all, there weren’t many distractions back then.

They used to eat a simple diet of ‘dal roti’ as he puts it, exercise a bit and stayed healthy.

So in conclusion its not really what you eat but what comes in the way!

A trip to supermarket say it all!

All the food that YOU SHOULD NOT BE BUYING are at eye-level.

The most simple diet plan will consist mainly of plant foods.

It will have a few core ingredients that you can easily find at your grocery store.

Here is a sample ‘simple’ diet plan you can eat everyday and stay healthy:

Ingredient list:

Vegetables: Spinach, Carrots, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic and Ginger

Fruits: Oranges, Apples, Papaya, Coconuts

Carbs: Brown Rice, Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes, Whole Wheat Breads, Roti

Protein: Milk, Eggs, Lentils, Chicken, Fish

Fats: Coconut Oil, Desi Ghee, Olive Oil

Sample Diet Plan:

Eggs with Whole Wheat Bread

Dal, Subzi, Roti with salad

Chicken Curry with Brown Rice

Honestly, all this looks simple in theory but when it comes to actually implementing this simple diet plan, the problem is not this plan, but what distracts you.

So my suggestion is keep it simple. Keep it realistic.

Try to eat foods that are unprocessed.

To do this, avoid anything that comes in a box or a wrapper.

All the best,

Akash