Popular Workout Diets: Which One is Best for You?
There are a lot of popular workout diets out there that promise to help you lose fat and gain muscle. Some of them have some good evidence and science behind them. Others, not so much.
So, which workout diet is right for you? That depends on your needs and your means. So, let’s take a look at a few of them.
If you’ve spent much time at the gym, you’ve probably heard about Keto. Maybe you’ve even tried it yourself. But, what is this diet – and how good is it as a workout diet for weight loss and muscle gain?
What is it?
The Keto Diet is a way of eating that focuses on high fats, some protein, and no carbs.
The keto diet, being an idea rather than a copyright, has more potential for disagreement and conflicting info than other workout diets. There’s also more room for personalization.
How Does Keto Work?
The keto diet is named after “Ketosis.” Ketosis is a state that your body enters when it digests fats and proteins for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are large molecules that your body breaks down for energy. When your body takes in more energy than it burns through activity, it stores that energy as fats. Though, fats can also be taken in through your diet.
A lot of people don’t realize it, but your body can also break down protein for energy. When you cut carbs out of your diet and emphasise proteins and fats, your body breaks down your own stored fat reserves as well as proteins that you take in through your diet.
Another good thing about this workout diet is that it is high in protein, which your body uses to build energy. Further, because of its promotion of fats, you have access to a lot more foods, like vegetables and nuts, that you can’t eat on some of the other diets that we’ll look at.
So, why not go on Keto?
The first reason is a recurring theme that we’ll see in this article: not all fats are created equal. You are allowed healthy fats like those from nuts and vegetables. However, you also have (a lot) of access to unhealthy saturated fats. These fats, found in red meats, are linked to heart disease and other health problems.
Further, proteins and fats include acids that are released into the body when they are broken down. These, and other acids produced by your liver called “ketones” can actually change your whole body chemistry on the diet.
So, is a keto diet the right work out for you?
There’s a lot to be said for keto. However, it can still be a drastic dietary change and most doctors will still shake their heads at the sheer amount of fat that the diet calls for.
You’ve probably heard of this workout diet. After all, it has commercials! However, those commercials don’t tell the whole story.
What is it?
The Atkins Diet is a specific, copyrighted diet named after founder Dr. Robert Atkins. It’s also an organization that publishes – and profits from – resources, products, and foods.
The diet is similar to keto in that it restricts carbs but it prioritizes protein over fat consumption.
How Does Atkins Work
Atkins works similarly to keto diets. By restricting major sources of easy energy, your body burns your own bodyfat.
Because Atkins is low or no carbs and lower in fats than keto, the diet is extremely restrictive.
Just like not all fats are potato chips, not all carbs are bread. A low or no carb diet like Atkins means that you also go without fruits and even most vegetables. That can mean missing out on a variety of healthy nutrients.
Is Atkins the workout diet for you?
While people have seen huge weight loss goals on this diet after the first few weeks, most people eventually plateau and stop seeing those results. Further, many doctors believe that the diet may lead to heart problems if followed long term because of the emphasis on fats and lack of grains.
The Paleo Diet
The Paleo Diet is a bit like Atkins in that it is technically a trademarked diet plan and a bit like keto in that it’s also a template workout diet that different people approach in different ways.
However, from a dietary perspective, the paleo diet is totally different from other diets that we’ve discussed so far.
How it Works
The paleo diet is built on the belief that the diet that many of us currently eat is incompatible with human health. As a result, it seeks to reset our diet to one that doesn’t involve processed foods.
When you think of “processed foods” you might think of fast-foods or food-adjacent edible products like most things that you eat out of a can, bag, or wrapper. However, those things are actually what dieticians call “ultra-processed.” The “processed” foods that you aren’t allowed to eat on the Paleo diet include oils, dairy, and grain.
The good news is that it allows you a wide variety of foods including fruits, vegetables, and nuts. It also promotes lean meat over fattier meats. All of this means that while it is more restrictive than the diets most of us eat, it’s a lot healthier as well as easier to follow than the other diets we’ve discussed.
So, what’s the downside of paleo?
The two major downsides of the paleo diet have to do with the avoidance of grains and dairy.
It’s true that grains are a major source of carbs. However, they’re also a major source of fiber, which is good for your digestive system. It’s true that you can also get fiber from fruits and vegetables, so as long as you incorporate lots of these into your diet – which you should anyway – you should be okay in this regard.
The prohibition against dairy is another story. Dairy your body’s best dietary source of calcium, which is a hugely important part for any workout exercise. It’s important for bone health but even more important for nervous system health including muscle contraction. Even this isn’t a nail in the coffin for paleo, as you can get protein from non-dairy sources including dark, leafy greens like spinach. Just expect to eat a lot of them.
You have to shake the tree pretty hard to find problems with this diet and if you shake it a little harder you find solutions. All things considered, it’s one of the best workout diets on this list.
Choose Your Fighter
It’s true, there are other diets out there. Some of them are even decent workout diets. However, those that we picked today are among the most popular workout diets because they are high in protein.
If none of these diets seem to fit your needs, you can always do a little more research and create your own workout diet based on your preferences and goals.