Picking the Right Plan

By: Gavin Hemmerlein

I’m back from a short (albeit refreshing) hiatus! We’re here to discuss the little nuances that keep getting glossed over. Frequently we see fad diets taking over. I can’t tell you how many times people have announced to the world the greatness of the ketogenic diet or that animals meals will kill you. That there gluten? Might as well put a gun to your head. It is so absurd that it pains me.

We’ve already discussed gluten isn’t as terrible in the carbohydrates piece (yes, I know it isn’t a CHO). Ketogenic diets aren’t really any more beneficial than a normal diet. [1] It is completely unsustainable of a diet, you’re going to gain back about 5-10 pounds when you cycle off of it (glycogen has weight as does the water with it), and it is far too restrictive for no reason. And don’t get me STARTED on the “plants > animals” talk. There is no substantiated proof (Dr. Campbell’s China Study was a train wreck).

And then there is dairy who has also received a terrible reputation. There have been a plethora of studies that confirm that dairy is not only great for inflammation, [2] but it can have positive effects on vascular health, diabetes, and cancer! [3, 4] It would be one thing if it also helped performance, but since that’s not… Oh? It does that as well? [5]

With all of the bad out there, we need to formulate a way to find the good. You’re in luck, because I have some simple ways to make it easy to find a nutrition plan that works for you. You have to look at it through these simple questions:

  1. Is it sustainable?
  2. Does it take into account activity?
  3. Is it well balanced?

Let’s dive into these a little bit, shall we?

1) Is it sustainable? I think this is self-explanatory. Are you making this a lifestyle change that will last the rest of your life? If not, then it is likely going to result in a “yo-yo diet” issue. Little treats are encouraged, but if you can’t stay with your plan for more than a day, then it’s not a very good plan.

2) Does it take into account activity? Look, the Basal Metabolic Rate is a fantastic tool that we all use to estimate. There was a lot of groundwork laid down to develop it. With that being said, it is only a piece of our estimating pie. It’s one tool in the tool box. If your nutrition plan doesn’t take into account your activity, it’s not worth the paper it is written on.

3) Is it well balanced? Avoid the faulty ideologies of alienating a certain food. Only remove foods with allergies. A diversified diet hitting a certain macro-ratio and high fiber (25-40 grams is what I always target) content will beat out any fad diet.

If you have check marked all three of these, likely that nutrition plan is going to help you succeed. At the end of the day, we want to accomplish our goals while still being concerned with our health.

Look, I’m not saying eat something which you have an allergy. That’s just silly. So is completely denouncing a food group or macronutrient solely on whim. Eat a balanced diet.


  1. Carol S Johnston, Sherrie L Tjonn, et al. ” Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets have no metabolic advantage over nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets.” Am J Clin Nutr May 2006 vol. 83 no. 5 1055-1061 < http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/83/5/1055.full >
  2. Labonté MÈ, et al. “Impact of dairy products on biomarkers of inflammation: a systematic review of randomized controlled nutritional intervention studies in overweight and obese adults.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2013 Apr;97(4):706-17. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.112.052217. Epub 2013 Feb 27. < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23446894/ >
  3. Tong X, et al. “Dairy consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of cohort studies.” Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;65(9):1027-31. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.62. Epub 2011 May 11.  < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21559046/ >
  4. Elwood PC, et al. “The survival advantage of milk and dairy consumption: an overview of evidence from cohort studies of vascular diseases, diabetes and cancer.” J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Dec;27(6):723S-34S. < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/19155432/ >
  5. Josse AR, et al. “Impact of milk consumption and resistance training on body composition of female athletes.” Med Sport Sci. 2012;59:94-103. doi: 10.1159/000341968. Epub 2012 Oct 15. < http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/23075559/ >