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The Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating Diets

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet provides you with all the nutrients you need for your body to function properly and stay healthy.

If your body isn’t getting enough of something it needs, it can result in you feeling unwell or just a bit under the weather. The difference a proper diet (where you consume the right amount of food and nutrients) can make to you is astounding.

Supplying your systems with the right foods in the right quantities can give you a new lease of life and renewed energy.

healthy dietFood and drinks give you energy, and the energy in your food and drink is measured in calories. You need to take in a certain number of calories to allow your body to function properly and to enable you to carry out daily tasks.

Moving about during the day burns calories, as do bodily processes and functions. You might not have thought about the fact that breathing and thinking burn calories! If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight. That’s a straightforward way of putting it, and we all know it isn’t that simple, but that’s the essence of it.

It can be hard to decipher what a good diet looks like. There are loads of diets out there, all claiming to do different things, and they are all the rage one moment, then off the radar the next. Whatever the current fad it, it’s important to remember a healthy diet is balanced and varied too. Ensuring you are eating a good mix of foods will help you on your way to healthy nutrition.

Only consuming carbohydrates or only consuming protein, isn’t a healthy diet, and it’s also not sustainable. Balance is very important when you are thinking about a heathy eating diet. There might be certain diets which help you lose a load of weight really quickly, but that doesn’t mean they are healthy diet plans.

It’s important not to lose sight of the reason for health eating. You can get obsessed with good diets to lose weight, or the perfect diet to get rid of fat, but it is essential to know how to lose weight healthily and how to shift fat healthily, and your body will thank you for that in the long run.

Difference between a healthy diet for men and women

One big difference between healthy diets for men and women is the number of calories they need to consume. Men need to consume more calories than women. Men need in the region of 2500 per day, and women will need in the region of 2000 per day. This will vary depending on the person, but that’s a rough estimate to give you an idea.

healthy diet for men and womenSo, what is healthy eating for men and what is healthy eating for women? It all depends on the amount of activity you are doing and therefore the number of calories you are burning. It also depends on what a healthy diet is for you.

The same diet won’t be “healthy” for everyone. One diet may suit a certain woman really well, and another diet may suit a certain man really well. A woman might choose a healthy diet for weight loss, and it will work really well.

Another woman may select the same diet, and it might not be anywhere near as effective. With diets, you really don’t know until you try them, and it’s very difficult for someone to tell you which diet might suit you best.

Women and men have different eating habits, so it would make sense that different diets will work differently for men and women, right? Men seem to be able to resist treats more effectively than women, so women have a harder time-fighting cravings.

This might go some way to explaining why men seem to find it easier to lose weight, but just because it comes off quickly doesn’t mean it will stay off. Women tend to eat more fruit and vegetables than men, which is why diets high in this type of produce often appeal to women more, and its why they can work better for them too.

Nutrition and its place in dieting

Just eating fewer calories doesn’t equal healthy dieting. You need to eat healthy food to stay healthy, but this doesn’t just mean eating fruit and veg and cutting out carbs and fat. You need carbohydrates to keep you going, and the body needs fat and sugar too, so just eating healthy diet foods might not be heling you to be healthy.

Dieting is about balance, and if you deprive your body too much, your diet stops working properly. If you aren’t taking in enough calories, your body can go into starvation mode, and you can stop losing weight. If you don’t consume enough calories, you might not have enough energy to get out and do your exercise. You might wish to look into getting a nutritionist diet plan.

nutrition and dietA nutritionist will look at the diet which will work best for you, and they will be able to give you the best information about healthy food.

If you are stuck with what to cook for yourself, and you are making the same things over and over again, take a look at some healthy recipe blogs. There are loads of people out there eating healthy foods and telling you all about it.

One of the worst things you can do it get bored of your meals; if you aren’t enjoying your meals, you are more likely to give into cravings. So, keeping your meal times exciting is really important. There are tonnes of good diet plans out there, but finding the one that works for you is the hardest part.

Do diets work?

Yes – diets work, but they only work if you do them right. You need to make sure they are sustainable, and they are more about changing the way you think about food than changing what you are eating. You can cut out cake from your diet completely, but if you are still craving a slice of chocolate fudge cake every hour of the day, no health diet plan is going to get you on the right track.

diet worksYour typical eat healthy diet might ask you to cut out all sugary foods and all fatty foods – but you are still going to crave sugar and fat, because you need some in your diet. We need to be smarter about diets, so making sure you have all the information about different types of diet is really important – and this is where we come in! If you are looking for a a good diet to lose weight, you might go straight for a rapid fat loss diet. But if you love chocolate and your “healthy eating for weight loss” diet tells you that you can’t eat a bar of chocolate again, is that realistic? Probably not. So, on your low fat diet, weight loss might not be happening, because your cravings are meaning you end up cheating.

Healthy eating guidelines might work better for you than a strict diet plan. For instance, some people find that calorie counting doesn’t work for them, and the calorie limit becomes a target. This means they eat, even when they are not hungry, just because they haven’t eaten all their calories for the day.

This isn’t a healthy way to be thinking about food, and “healthy” diets for weight loss can often involve this school of thought. The point we are making here, is that yes, diets can work and they can work amazingly well. But they only work if you are selecting the right one for you. The right diet for you will help you achieve amazing results.

So, let’s talk about the different diets out there at the moment. We will go through the different types of diets, what they are and what that means for you regarding food consumption and the effects.

We will talk about how they work, how they work alongside exercise and whether there is anything you need to be aware of before committing to one of these diets. This information will help you make a decision on what diet is the best for you.

Paleo diet

What is the paleo diet?

The basis of the paleo diet is to eat like a caveman would have eaten. If it wasn’t on the menu then, it shouldn’t be on the menu now. So, what is paleo diet plan? You can eat foods that would have either been hunted for or gathered back in the day.

paleo diet

Fortunately, all the hunting you have to do is hunt for your car keys, and all the gathering you need to do is from the shelves of the supermarket. So, let’s have a look at the paleo diet shopping list:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Nuts
  • Greens
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Seeds
  • Eggs
  • Tubers (sweet potatoes are a great example)
  • Oils

What you need to be removing from your shopping basket:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Cereals
  • Dairy (but many people choose to keep diary as part of their diet – it’s up to you)
  • Sweets
  • Sodas

That’s the basis of it. Nothing processed, nothing pre-made in a packet, everything fresh and untouched. We’ve kept it simple here, on this paleo diet food list for beginners. As you go along, you will add many more things to each list, but we would be here forever doing that!

Wondering about the paleo diet for beginners? If you are finding it hard to cut out everything processed in one go, just do it slowly and work up to it.

You will probably have realized that you eat a lot more processed food than you thought so this diet might take a bit of getting used to, and you might really need to work on your meal plans. Coaches use the paleo diet for athletes and if it’s good enough for them and their exercise regime, why not for us?

How does the paleo diet work?

One of the great things about this diet is that you don’t need to count calories, and you don’t need to worry too much about portions. You focus on eating the right kinds of foods, and there won’t be a processed meal in sight! You don’t have to worry about how many grams of protein are in your paleo diet food list, you just eat naturally.

Our bodies don’t process all the grains and sugars we are used to eating these days. Even though we have been eating them for a long while, it isn’t long enough for the makeup of our bodies to change to keep up. These types of food are thought by some to be the cause of a lot of our weight problems.

Is the paleo diet healthy? Well, yeah! People had been eating like this for thousands of years before we came along and had been getting along fine. It goes without saying that you need to keep an eye on your health and make sure the diet is working for you.

Lots of people are using the paleo diet for weight loss, and it has been working. You only need to do a quick search online to see loads of paleo diet before and after pics to see the results.

The paleo diet can help relieve some symptoms of autoimmune conditions, where the body is attacking itself. The autoimmune paleo diet can help improve the quality of life of people who are suffering. There are some slightly different rules surrounding what you should and shouldn’t be eating, so check it out before you give the paleo autoimmune diet a try.

Paleo diet and exercise

There is actually a paleo approach to exercise! CrossFit is considered one of the best paleo regimes of exercise. They work all the muscles in your body, and they use your own body weight to do so. Try to include more movement into your lifestyle – there are lots of things you can incorporate into a sedentary lifestyle to increase your movement.

Paleo diet and exerciseIf you are increasing the amount of exercise you are doing; make sure you take in enough food. If you are hungry, then eat. Going hungry only works to increase cravings!

Dangers of the paleo diet

Nuts and fruit contain a lot of carbs and sugars if you eat too much of either you might find you aren’t feeling the benefits of the paleo diet as much as you thought you would. Keep an eye on your consumption of fruit and nuts; don’t go overboard!

If you are vegan you might find it difficult to maintain a vegan paleo diet, but it is possible, and there are lots of resources online to help you.

It can be really hard to give up processed foods as we eat so much of them. Take it slowly and don’t get disheartened if you struggle at first. It can also get very expensive if you aren’t careful.

Organic fruit and veg can come at a high cost, so make sure you are eating within your means. With the paleo diet, pro and cons are inevitable, just as with any other diet. You just need to weigh them up.

Keto diet

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is a high-fat diet. It encourages the production of ketones in the liver to be used as energy. The more you restrict your carbohydrate intake, the faster you will reach your desired ketosis state. You will want to get to the point where you are eating less than 15g of carbohydrates per day.

There are all sorts of great ways to keep track of this, you be able to find a keto diet calculator on a keto diet app to help get you started on measuring your carb intake. The keto diet for beginners might be a little difficult at first.

Keto dietIf you are wondering how to start a keto diet as a beginner, take it slowly and start to reduce your carb intake – we are used to eating a lot of carbs, so you can ease yourself into this. Don’t expect to be able to reduce your intake to 5% straight away.

So, what is on the keto diet grocery list? What to eat on a keto diet? Let’s have a look at what you should and shouldn’t be eating. You need to keep most of your carbs coming from nuts, vegetables, and dairy foods. You aren’t to be eating processed or refined carbs or starch-based food items. This means no:

  • Grains – wheat, corn, rice
  • Sugar – honey, syrups
  • Fruit – apples, oranges, bananas
  • Tubers – potatoes

You might see some similarities here with the paleo diet, but when you look at keto diet vs. paleo, there are a lot more restrictions in the sense that you need to keep more of an eye on what you are eating. As a general rule, you should be taking in about 70% fats, 25% protein and 5% carbs.

So, what can you eat?

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Leafy greens
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy (high fat)
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Berries and avocado
  • Oils and other fats
  • Sweeteners

Make sure to keep your diet interesting and your meals varied, and you will have a better chance of success. Look up keto diet recipes for inspiration on meal plans.

A vegetarian keto diet might be a little more difficult, but it can still be achieved. On a keto diet for vegetarians, you need to make sure you are consuming enough protein with your dairy products and eggs.

How does the keto diet work?

This diet works by initiating ketosis, this is the process the body uses to survive when we have a low food intake. By maintaining the keto diet, you are forcing your body into what is called a metabolic state. You aren’t doing this through calorie starvation but through carbohydrate starvation.

When you hit optimal ketone levels, you can see weight loss and even better mental and physical performance as a result.

By using your body fat as a resource for energy, you lose weight. This diet encourages your insulin levels to drop, and insulin promotes your body to store fat. You can also use this to control your blood sugar levels so it could be a great way for you to help control your diabetes if you have it.

The keto diet and cholesterol go hand in hand; it has been shown tp help reduce cholesterol levels associated with a build-up in your arteries. You might also see your skin improves with this diet! If you aren’t sure about these results, take a look at keto diet before and after stories online to see how it worked for other people. You don’t have to take our word for it!

Keto diet and exercise

Keto diet and exerciseWhen you are staring out, you might find it a bit harder to do your usual exercise routines; this is because your body isn’t yet used to the lower amount of carbs you are consuming. Once you are more used to this diet, you should find you are back up to a normal level.

You may find you have reduced strength levels at first, so at the beginning of the keto diet, bodybuilding might prove to be a little more difficult! But, keep on at it, and you will soon see you are back to your normal self.

Dangers of the keto diet

Is the keto diet safe? Mostly, it is completely safe, and you shouldn’t have too many issues, but it is possible your ketone levels could get too high. This is one of the few dangers of a keto diet, and if you reached this point, you might need medical intervention. If you aren’t feeling up to scratch, then get checked out!

You might experience something known as keto flu – it often goes away after a few days. One of the main reasons for this is that keto is a diuretic and you end up losing electrolytes and water by going to the bathroom more. Some other common side effects are cramps, constipation, and heart palpitations. These are all pretty normal and can often be solved by increasing fluid intake.

Muscle building diet

What is a muscle building diet?

A muscle building diet plan for men (or women) can help you add lean muscle mass. Often when you see a diet for muscle building, they involve gaining a tonne of weight in an unhealthy way, and you end up increasing your level of body fat as a result.

muscle building dietThere is no reason the best muscle building diet can’t be a lean muscle building diet plan. The type of diet we are going to look at is a diet to cut weight and build muscle. This is a high protein diet plan for muscle gain, and you will soon see results.

You need to make sure you are planning ahead so you can stick to this diet, if you don’t get all your meals planned and sorted, there is no way you can stick to this diet. You need to be eating the right amount at the right times, so get prepped! There is a difference between what you will be eating on training and non-training days.

Trying to figure out a vegan muscle building diet might seem a bit daunting. But, there are loads out there online to help you.

You will need to make sure you are consuming enough protein in your diet, and this can be quite hard as a vegan – but not impossible! In opposition to the other diets on this list so far, you will be consuming a lot of grains, so, a lot of pasta, rice, and wheat along with all the protein you need. Have a look at plans for lean muscle diet for female and males.

Take note of the number of calories you need to consume at each meal and the differences between rest days and training day. The meal plans are pretty long as you are eating 6 meals a day, so having these listed down somewhere with the calories, protein, carbs and fat levels will be handy for you.

Remember you need to combine this with exercise – check out our article on the best bodyweight exercises.

How does a muscle building diet work?

There is a fine line between eating so much you speed up the fat storing process in your body and eating just enough to help with muscle growth. One way of ensuring you are eating the correct amount is to control all your portions.

You need to be consuming around 40-60 grams of protein and 60-80 grams of carbs each meal. Fat should be as low as possible (except healthy fats). You can be consuming 5-10 grams of healthy fat from things like nuts, fish and olive oil per meal.

Meal timing is important when it comes to making this the best diet for muscle gain. Increasing the size of your meals after breakfast and training will help you gain that quality mass you are after.

Your body is after more calories at these points and eating more on a diet to lose weight, and gain muscle might not sound quite right, but there are workings behind it! At breakfast, you are depleted nutrition-wise after a night’s sleep, and after a workout, your muscles need replenishment to recover.

Giving the body what it needs at these points can help to facilitate growth and keep body fat at bay. Dividing your meals into smaller portions helps boost calorie intake, and those calories can go to your muscles as they need them.

You need fewer carbs on training days as the demand is less when you aren’t training. Sticking to high carbs when you aren’t training can result in the unwanted body fat making an appearance. You’ll take most of your carbs at breakfast and protein will feature heavily for the rest of the day. Avoiding carbs later on in the day helps prevent fat gain due to insulin sensitivity levels later on in the day. You will eat fewer calories on rest days, helping keep off that fat.

Muscle building and exercise

Keep on that training plan you have at the gym, and you will soon be seeing results. The combination of this diet and your muscle building gym plan will work wonders. Take care to make sure you are having your rest days and eating right on those rest days.

Muscle building and exerciseAs you know, those rest days are important for recovery and for building that muscle. It’s worth seeing a trainer on a gym plan (if you haven’t already) and getting a schedule and goals worked out. This will help you to achieve.

Dangers of a muscle building diet

One of the biggest dangers here is not being able to stick to this diet. It can be hard sticking to these diet plans. Making sure you plan your meals and make them as exciting as possible will help you stick with your gym diet plan for muscle gain.

Fat loss diet

What is a fat loss diet?

As the name suggests, these types of diets target fat loss over weight loss. Fat is what gives those unwanted wobbly and lumpy bits that we find to be unsightly. Diets like the “xtreme fat loss diet” have worked for so many people, and they have helped loads of people shift their body fat.

You have to be very strict with yourself on this type of diet. A lot of these body fat loss diet plans are only done in cycles of a month because they aren’t sustainable for much longer than that. You need to take on a lot of protein (to help you preserve muscle) and take in a low number of carbs and drink plenty of water too.

Your average fat loss diet plan for male gym goers can yield up to 5 pounds of weight loss a week, and it’s not far off for your fat loss diet plan for females. These diets can yield serious results if you put your mind to them. Top foods for helping you increase bodybuilders fat loss; diet well and make sure you are eating plenty of the following:

  • Egg whites – no fat or cholesterol and they are pure protein
  • Oatmeal – low in sugar and high in fiber, they release energy slowly
  • Green vegetables – great healthy foods with loads of nutrients and antioxidants

Get online and look up fat loss diet plan for female and male, and you will find lots of meal plans available for you to use. The best fat loss diet is one which works for you and is easy to follow, so make sure you record all your new meal plans and get prepping.

How does a fat loss diet work?

If you are bodybuilding fat loss diets will probably be on your radar, but how do they work? Essentially you are speeding up your metabolism to increase weight loss. Making sure you exercise and do plenty of cardio will also help to increase the amount of fat you are losing.

You create a calorie deficit, and you are soon shedding that wobble. You must be careful to follow diet plans strictly and make sure you eat everything on your diet plan. Eating too little can cause your body to go into starvation mode and result in you retaining more fat.

Fat loss diet and exercise

It’s recommended you up the amount of cardio you are doing while you are following an extreme fat loss diet. This will help boost your results, and it is recommended you go 2 cardio sessions each day while on a bodybuilder’s fat loss diet. It is suggested to do a 45-minute cardio session on an empty stomach in the morning and another 30-minute cardio session in the afternoon/evening.

Low-fat diet and exercise

Dangers of a fat loss diet

With these diets, the biggest dangers are your cravings. Because you are limiting yourself a lot, you may find that you experience very strong cravings. You need to find a way to kick your bad habits and make sure you aren’t giving in to McDonald’s when you are on your fat loss muscle gain diet. Allowing yourself a cheat meal can help with these cravings.

Low-fat diet

What is a low-fat diet?

A low-fat diet plan can help you out with losing weight, combining low-fat diet foods with calorie controls and increased exercise can really make a big difference to your diet achievements. A low-fat high protein diet can help you make serious strides with your weight loss.

There are loads of low-fat diet recipes you can find online to help keep your meals interesting and tasty, meaning you will have a better chance of sticking to your diet plan. A diet high in calories and fat and low in fiber will not lead to superb weight loss, so make sure you are looking at what you are eating, as well as how many calories are in it.

Low-fat diets are probably one of the easier diet plans to follow. But, it gets a bit harder to follow a low-fat vegetarian diet as things like cheese are high in fat. But, if you are a healthy vegan, following a low-fat vegan diet should be a breeze!

Cutting out processed foods will easily cut the amount of fat you are eating. Most things that are in a packet or pre-cooked have a lot of fat in them. So, things like ready meals and cakes are out of the shopping basket! But there are so many recipes about if you are following a
high carbohydrate, low-fat diet plan and you will be able to find tonnes of great meals to keep your low fat, low cholesterol diet interesting.

You might now be wondering; how many grams of fat on a low-fat diet? The average woman shouldn’t be consuming more than 60 grams of fat and 12 grams of saturated fat a day. You may even consume less than this if you are really dieting hard. Concentrate on eating lots of fresh veg and fruit and using as little oil and butter as possible, and you will soon see a difference.

How does a low-fat diet work?

You can’t eliminate fat completely from your diet as your body needs it to function. Low-fat diets are great to help you lose weight, as well as lower your cholesterol. Low-fat diets are really about eating more healthily and as a result, consuming fewer calories.

If you swap cakes for carrots, you are bound to see a difference in your weight. Concentrating on following a low saturated fat diet is probably easier for people than some of these other diets where you need to count how many grams of protein you are consuming.

Low-fat diet and exercise

Keep on with your exercise regime, and you will notice the pounds dropping off you! Make sure you are eating enough, or you will feel lethargic, and you won’t fancy a hard session in the gym. Cardio is great for weight loss, but building muscle also helps you burn more calories. The more muscles you have to use, the more you use them and the more calories you will burn as a result!

Dangers of a low-fat diet

One potential problem with a very low-fat diet is that it may be deficient in good fats, as we do need fat for our bodies to function. We also need to make sure we eat protein, and some low-fat diets discourage things like eggs and meat. Make sure you are consuming enough calories as well as if you aren’t you are more likely to experience cravings and succumb to that bar of chocolate. If you are finding it hard to cut down your fat intake, start slowly and work up to it.

Finally – So what diet is for you?

Choosing the right diet for you is important. Ensuring you know what you are looking to gain from your diet will help you choose the right diet for you, and achieve what you want to achieve. Always make sure you are keeping an eye on your health when you are dieting.

If you are feeling unwell, you need to make sure you get checked out. Your health is more important than any weight loss or muscle gain – and there is no shame in stopping your diet for a bit to make sure you are well.