MANSFIELD - Breaking a diet can leave a feeling of hopelessness in the pit of the stomach, but it doesn’t mean all hope to losing weight is lost.
Baylee Leonhardt, registered dietitian nutritionist at OhioHealth, firmly advocates for the food plate method and highlights the importance of eating each of the five food groups a day rather than a restrictive diet.
“I don’t really recommend dieting. I just recommend healthy lifestyle changes,” Leonhardt said.
“A lot of the mediterranean diet goes hand-in-hand with the plate method with portion control and adding a variety,” Leonhardt said.
The main point of the mediterranean diet is eating lots of vegetables, lean meats, some dairy fats like low fat cheeses or low fat greek yogurt, eating seafood twice a week and incorporating plant-based protein such as beans and soy foods.
The mediterranean diet also has a lot of health benefits including lowering the risk of heart disease, chronic disease prevention, weight loss, improving brain function and more.
Leonhardt would recommend the mediterranean diet over the keto diet, but maintaining a healthy balance of food intake should always be the main priority.
“You also want to think about maintenance and sustainability of the weight loss, and so when we’re doing a very restrictive diet, we’re less likely to stay on it long term, whereas with just adopting healthy eating habits we’re more likely to learn and actually maintain the weight loss,” Leonhardt said.
The one downfall she sees with the keto diet is that you can only have 20 grams of carbs a day, whereas on a mediterranean diet promotes high fiber foods with whole grains and non-starchy vegetables recommended.
“The keto diet is a little more restrictive in a sense,” Leonhardt said. “A lot of your calories are coming more from fat and less from carbohydrates. That’s considered a very low carbohydrate diet, so you’re restricting a lot of your dairy products, fruits and your whole grains.”
The American Heart Association recommends 25 grams of fiber a day, making it limited to get that fiber amount through a keto diet where it’s very high fat and low carb, according to Leonhardt.
“Trying to stay below 20 carbs a day, you’re really limiting what varieties of food you can have at meals,” Leonhardt said.
Though Leonhardt prefers the mediterranean diet over keto, she doesn’t rule out someone being able to maintain a healthy diet with keto. The food plate method, however, is her recommendation.
“If you’re doing a keto diet with a medical professional and you’re under supervision then I think that’s a different story, but I think learning healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes is a great way to promote weight loss instead of a restrictive diet,” Leonhardt said.