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Which Diet Works Best?

What works for others may not be right for you. Fortunately, there’s more than one way to eat healthy.

By
Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS,
March 26, 2013
Episode #230

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A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at a nutrition and fitness event hosted by my colleague Ben Greenfield, host of the Get-Fit Guy podcast. On the plane ride home, I was mulling over the conference, in search of a take home message to share with you. There were a couple of speakers who described their own dramatic and life-changing weight loss experiences. Both had lost a large amount of weight in a short period of time. Even more note-worthy, both claimed that they experienced no hunger or food cravings, despite fairly restrictive diets. As compelling as each of their stories was, I was more struck by the contrast between them.

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Jimmy Moore told the audience about his experience with “nutritional ketogenics,” Jimmy has lost 80 pounds in about 10 months on a diet that is about 80% fat and less than 5% carbohydrates and features extremely energy dense foods. The previous day, attendees heard speaker Ray Cronise talk about his experiments with “hypothermics.” Ray has lost 70 pounds on a diet that is almost the inverse of Jimmy’s: he gets most of his calories from carbohydrates, eats little fat, and emphasizes foods with a very low energy density. (Ray’s regimen also includes cold showers and walking around without a coat to force the body to burn fat in order to maintain your body temperature.)

Both of these topics, nutritional ketogenics and hypothermics, deserve episodes of their own. But today, I want to focus on a slightly larger picture. I think it’s very common for people who have had success losing weight to assume that what worked for them will work for everyone—and that any other approach is doomed to fail. (This seems especially true when the regimen they used is particularly unusual, elaborate, or intense.)

See also: Which Diet Is Best?

By the same token, when we hear dramatic personal stories from charismatic personalities like these, it’s also tempting to assume that if we simply follow the same path, we will have the same results. We start to suspect that any failures we previously experienced were simply because we hadn’t yet discovered whatever “magic” the person in front of us is now revealing. And yet, the fact that these two speakers had very similar results using two diametrically opposed methods suggests exactly the opposite: There is clearly more than one way to lose weight.

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