Breaking Down Top 5 Diets for 2021

Did you hear about the latest diet? Probably not because there seems to be a new one created every 15 minutes (or more). We reviewed over 100 diets and discovered there are literally diets whose names start with EVERY letter of the alphabet except one! Every letter – and for some letters there are dozens! In this video, I’ll fill you in on 5 of the most effective diets, provide a few important considerations along the way and let you know which letter is missing from among the top 100+ diets and why that isn’t likely to last long.

I’m Dr. Bradford Cooper of the Catalyst Coaching Institute where we partner with current and future health & wellness coaches and so many others to move toward #BetterThanYesterday. If this is your first time on the YouTube Coaching channel, thanks for joining us.

Out of the gate, let’s talk about the word diet. Many people don’t realize it comes from the Greek word “diaita,” which means “way of life.” Way of life, folks. Think about the “diets” you may have tried during your lifetime – did they represent a “way of life”? or a temporary game w/ temporary results? My first memories of “diets” as a child was my parents eating grapefruit with every meal as part of the “grapefruit” diet. Did it work? No idea – I was probably 7 years old at the time. But it’s a classic example of how many diets are built. Whether you’re a health & wellness coach or someone looking for the healthiest way for you to guide your own nutritional pursuits, I’d encourage you to keep the concept of “way of life” in the forefront of your mind.

5 of the Top Diets
• #5 – Flexitarian – this one combines the words “flexible” and “vegetarian” – so that gives you a pretty good sense of the structure. The word originates with Registered Dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, who noted you don’t have to eliminate all meat from your diet to reap the benefits of being a vegetarian. It puts a focus on a generally vegetarian, plant-based diet most of the time, with an occasional burger, chicken or fish as the urge hits. It’s important to consider how you’re taking in adequate protein on the days you stick w/ the plants.
• #4 – DASH – DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is recommended by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to help reduce issues with high blood pressure. It places a focus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy and leans away from fatty meats, full-fat dairy, some oils and sugar laden drinks and other sweets. It also limits sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams/day and eventually 1,500 milligrams/day.
• #3 – Intermittent Fasting – This one is the anomaly on our list. Instead of focusing on “what” we eat, it focuses on the “when” we eat. There are a variety of formats by which you can integrate intermittent fasting, but the most popular is the 16/8 strategy. In a nutshell, you will eat all of your food during a consistent 8 hour window of time. For example, you might take your first bite of the day at 11 AM and finish your last bite by 7 PM. Once the pattern is established, it’s a relatively easy approach that not only provides benefits in terms of weight management due to essentially skipping one meal/day and eliminating late night snacking but may also provide additional benefits to health & wellness. If you’d like to dig into this one, we were fortunate to have one of the world’s leading researchers on the topic – Dr. Mark Mattson of Johns Hopkins – join us on the Catalyst Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching Podcast and his episode has turned out to be one of the most popular of all time. We’ll provide a link down below in the description if you want to hear his insights.
• #2 – Volumetrics – this strategy, coined by Penn State University nutrition professor Barbara Rolls via her book by the same name, doesn’t eliminate any foods but rather provides a straightforward way of reducing the density of your meals and choose foods that reduce hunger. In short, it places foods into one of 4 categories, ranging from low to high density. Low density foods include non-starchy fruits and veggies while high density foods would include candies, cookies and butter, among other things, with Category 2 and 3 sitting between these two spectrums. This one builds 3 meals, snacks and desserts into your day, with a focus on the lower-density categories 1 & 2 as the cornerstones. The individual decides how strict they choose to follow the plan.
• #1 Rated Diet across multiple reviewers, is the Mediterranean diet. The name comes from the idea that those living near the Mediterranean Sea live healthier and longer lives. It’s important to note that there isn’t a single “Mediterranean diet.” For example, the French and Italians eat differently, as do Greeks and Spanish. However, there are common approaches across all of these populations, including low amounts of red meat, sugar and saturated fat along with greater intake of produce and nuts. If you want to look into this one, a non-profit called Oldways, in partnership with the Harvard School of Public Health, offers some tools and resources and would be a good place to start.

Wait – what about Keto, Paleo, HCG, Dukan and other popular diets we’re hearing about? Well – those are all more on the extreme and our goal with this video was to focus on the original meaning of the word diet – “way of life.” Those also don’t generally do well in the annual rankings of the most effective diets. But of course, every diet has it’s proponents – and please don’t hesitate to mention your favorite in the comments below. We’ve had several well-known nutritional experts as guests on the Catalyst Health, Wellness & Performance Coaching podcast, so you might want to take a peek there. And just a reminder to the coaches out there that while it’s important for us to stay up to date on the latest diets, nutritional advice is not in our scope of practice. If one of our clients is looking for specific advice, partnering with someone with expertise in that arena is imperative.

So which letter of the alphabet is missing from the list of 100+ diets we reviewed? Q! Yes – Q. Obviously, with this video being produced in 2020, that’s likely to change soon with the obvious option if it hasn’t already. I’m thinking the “Quick Diet” or the “Quantum Diet” also have nice rings to them, but I’ll leave that to one of you out there to address 😊

There are more tools and resources to improve your coaching and your life available at Or – I’d love to have you check out this video if you’ve got time to hang around with us for a few more minutes. This is Dr. Bradford Cooper of the Catalyst Coaching Institute – thanks for joining us on the journey.

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