After trying a whole bunch of diets which have included:
- Low Carb
- Low Fat
- Snapple Diet Iced Tea Diet
- Guinness Diet (yeah, just like it sounds)
- Raw Food
- Pizza Diet
I have come to the following learnings:
- No diet is perfect
- Some diets work better for some folks than for others for inexplicable reasons.
- Relying on diet alone is a mistake. Regular physical activity and fun/sports are critical to achieving peak health (try to do both muscle building and endurance type activities). Conversely however, just relying on exercise alone to improve health has less of an impact than diet (i.e. on the whole diet is more important in determining health than exercise)
- If you are insulin resistant, prone to diabetes, have syndrome X etc. (which most of the overweight population likely is), then a paleo/low carb diet will be very effective, especially in the early stages.
- If on paleo/low carb diet, be prepared to have higher levels of LDL and HDL (LDL to HDL ratio will be good though). Lipid levels should be reasonable.
- Eat your veggies. Not the sweet starchy peas, carrots and corn that seem to be most popular but the greens (and I don't mean lettuce) - kale, chard, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, gourds, squash, eggplant, okra...go to a mexican/farmers type market, you will see how many varities of vegetables and fruits there are. (will also save you money since you will not be paying for the high overhead costs associated with traditional large grocery stores).
- Not to sound racist, but if not get familiar with asian/indian spices. You are missing out on a lot of tasty methods of preparations for meat and especially veggies (common complaint I hear from American colleagues is that they don't eat much veggies since they are so bland..don't blame them..veggies are pretty bland with just salt and pepper)
- Learn to cook and have fun doing it. Cooking is not about knowing many recipes but about understanding interaction between food, heat, time and spices. Once you get the hang of it, you do not need a recipe for anything and will be able to conjure up a meal from whatever you have on hand.
All of the above when shared with a like minded partner results in value that is much greater than 2X