Which Style of Eating Is Best For You?

By John Krueger (About the Author)

In today’s world, there are tons of different type of eating styles to choose from, how do you know which one to pick? What’s the difference between them? Which one is successful? This article will cover five different type of eating styles, and share a secret with you that all of them have in common.


The old school way of thinking that there are "clean" foods and "dirty" foods. Clean foods being whole natural foods not found in boxes, or made in a factory like lean meats, fruits, veggies, certain grains, ect. Dirty foods are the highly processed 'junk' like cereals, pizzas, cakes, candy, breads/bagels, etc. A good example would be the stereotypical bodybuilding meals consisting of chicken/fish with broccoli 3x a day with egg whites and protein shakes as the other meals. While this can be very effective if followed correctly, it will not work over the long haul due to the boredom that will arise of constantly eating the same things as well as the cravings that will arise. 


IIFYM or 'if it fits your macros' and flexible dieting are pretty much one in the same, the only difference being IIFYM is on the extreme side of things. Basically the concept revolves around having a target number of macronutrients (protein, fats, carbs) to hit each day and being free to choose any food to hit these numbers. This can be good because it allows you more options and freedom when planning meals or picking foods, however a simple google or hashtag search of IIFYM will show tons of people eating copious amounts of 'junk' and claiming it is okay because it fits their macros. While this is true to some extent, the quality of food consumed still matters. Spending a large portion of your daily calories or macros on a pint of ice cream or a box of candy will probably lead to chronic hunger or bland boring meals for the rest of the day. It is understandable while this approach has become so popular due to the freedom, but if you decide its for you make sure to load up on nutrient dense foods before going on an all out binge. 


The concept is based off of eating only foods that our ancestors would have eaten thousands of years ago. This would mainly include meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, and nuts while excluding processed foods, dairy, and grains. As you can see this style of eating is very similar to that of clean eating, but with a tad bit more restrictions. The benefits of paleo are that everything you eat will be whole foods and nutrient dense therefore you will only have to shop on the perimeter of the grocery stores (typically where all the fresh foods are located). A few downsides are the same as those listed under clean eating like limited options, boredom, while also making a harder and more expensive shopping trip.


This is an eating style based around the idea of eating no type of animal by product. This would include but is not limited too things like meats, fish, eggs, dairy and any other by product of animals. Meals are primarily made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and grains. While this style of eating would certainly be nutrient dense, it would be harder to receive one main macronutrient: protein. No meats, dairy or eggs mean vegans miss out on three large protein sources and are forced to receive their protein from nuts, seeds, grains, protein powders and other plants. While this is certainly doable, it also increases the volume of food one would have to consume in a day to reach their protein needs. The reason this could be a problem is things like nuts, seeds, beans, and grains are more calorie dense than they provide protein or in other words have a low protein to calories ratio. By this I mean one serving of peanuts, or peanut butter is roughly 150-200 calories while only providing a mere 7-8 grams of protein. Most grains and beans have a low protein to calorie ratio as well. The issue is that your calorie count for the day would rise much faster than your protein number. 


Most everyone knows a vegetarian is someone who does not eat meat, but will eat other animal by products. This does not leave you as limited on protein sources as veganism and would certainly involve you becoming more creative with meal creations. It would also allow you a lot more options on foods you can eat throughout the day, excluding protein choices. The main downside with vegetarians is that without access to meats, fish, and seafood ones protein sources are limited to the same as those listed under vegan with the addition of eggs, and dairy. 



They are all based around eating in a calorie defecit or consuming less calories than you expend in a day. It is simple. Realistically you can have any eating style you wish as long as you follow the simple rule of eating in a calorie deficit. or calorie surplus (if your goal is to gain weight). Yes the types of food you eat can help determine your body composition, but at the end of the day you gain or lose weight based on the amount of food/calories you consume, not the types of food you consume.