Diet Foods-How To Add Variety To Your Diet And Still Lose Weight

The topic of diet foods has been on my mind lately. Can you have variety in your diet and still lose weight?  Do you have to eat the same mind numbing, taste bub crushing foods day after day to lose fat or can you get your six pack abs while eating some tasty food?

Think about the most “popular” diet foods. I mean they aren’t popular at all, they are just the most frequently recommended because most diet coaches either stop learning, work with athletes on performance enhancing drugs or just accept long standing mythes.

Let’s see

Chicken breasts

Lean beef



Brown rice

Sweet potatoes





And that’s about it in terms of mainstay dieting foods. Exciting right? Makes you want to diet NOW. Those are the diet foods, eat anything else and kiss your potential success good bye.

Now let’s look at reality.

What should our criteria for diet foods really be?

A sweet potato is better for us when we diet than a white potato right?  What’s “better”?

A white potato is just as nutrient dense as a sweet potato, it’s just different. A white potato has more magnesium, which is involved in over 350 different processes in the body including muscular contraction, hormonal recovery and energy. All of which we need when we diet, no?

A white potato also has more calcium. Another very important nutrient in terms of blood sugar control, muscular contraction and fatigue prevention.

Oh but a sweet potato is better because it causes less of a insulin spike.

Listen, there’s no on/off switch for fat loss. When you compare a 100 grams of a white vs sweet potato you’ll see that the sweet potato has the SAME amount of carbs as its white counterpart, 1 more gram of fiber and 5 more grams of sugar!

But it’s better for control our insulin spike, right? Now I can compare brown rice to white rice as well and you’ll see that there’s not that big of a difference either but I feel like I proved my point already.Fat loss will still happen.

So I made the statement yesterday on my facebok page that

“The types of food you eat matter not, your macro nutrient numbers do”

And, as I expected, I was immediately hit with disagreement.

Jonathan Wisemean (shout out to Jon) was the 1st to reply with this

“To an extent, I am sure we can agree that 20g of fruitloops will not add up to the same effect as 20g of brown rice, yeah?”

Brett Keeler then gave this example (Good job Brett)

“Using the Froot Loops example above – Froot Loops – 1 Cup: 120 Cal / 1g Fat / 28g Carb / 1g Protein |||| Peaces – 2 Peaces: 132 Ca / .84g Fat / 32.44 Car / 3.1g Protein — Very similar macros, would you tell clients to either eat 1 cup of froot loops or 2 peaches?”

Hitting your macronutrient numbers is far more important than the foods you choose to eat to hit them.

Now the minute I posted this, people assumed that I was giving my clients doughnuts and french fries.

Well why do we eat food?

1) For the nutrient composition. As I stated above, a sweet potato isn’t any better for us than a white potato. Same with white rice vs brown rice and whole wheat vs white bread. Now I generally stay away from white bread because it’s a lot more processed than a white potato or white rice thus it contains less “good stuff” but you get my point.

So again, white rice or white potatoes still get you to your end goal in the same time provide that they fit into your macro nutrient numbers.

2) To meet our energy demands. So if I give a male client 40 grams of fat for the day, where is he going to get it from? Is he going to burn it all on french fries or is he going to have a few tablespoons of natural peanut butter throughout the day?

Can he have a slice of pizza provided that he knows it has 14 grams of fat from low fat mozzarella cheese and 20 grams of carbs? Why not? There’s no reason to say that he shouldn’t. The cheese on the pizza is the same cheese that he might put on a salad and it’s roughly the same types of fat (give or take a gram or two) that he’s get in the peanut butter.

I don’t generally advise pizza on a diet but if he cheats and has a slice or two, he’s fine. I would like him to make better choices but he’s human.

Same thing with the Fruit Loop vs Peaches example from above. Is my client going to burn those carbs on Fruit Loops in the am or eat two peaches to give him sustainable energy throughout the day. One does nothing for him and one helps him.

And Fruit Loops are vastly different from the cheese vs peanut butter example above.

3) For behavioral reasons. Anyone that has ever really dieted for  the time that it actually takes to get shredded (20-16 weeks) knows that it’s going to be hard. Only those who use drugs will tell you that you need to be a robot.

There’s nothing wrong with getting 20 grams of carbs on a diet from jelly beans. What’s wrong with that? You’ve been dieting, you ate a few jelly beans and you now remember why you hate sugar and don’t like how you feel. Well now you’re more committed to the diet.

If you eat the whole bag, then we have a issue. There’s not much difference between eating a bag of baked chips and eating a bowl of oatmeal. Meet your protein, carbs, fats and fiber numbers and you’ll win.

Plus insulin going in means cortisol goes down.

Stop over complicating and over thinking dieting, that’s especially going to the trainers and nutritionists that read this site. Focus on hitting your macronutrient numbers and doing your cardio. The hard and defined stuff only comes when you want to be anatomy chart shredded and even then, it’s not what you think.

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Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

  1. Jonathan Wiseman
    8 years ago

    Good post, definitely see where you’re coming from with the examples given here.

    So… *chewing froot loops*, I guess I should stop eating these, eh? 😉

    – J

  2. admin
    8 years ago

    Thanks for visiting and commenting and for your response yesterday on facebook. I’m happy that I got my point across. Hopefully it’ll help you. Keep reading the site.

  3. Brett Keeler
    8 years ago

    Hey Jimmy,

    Great article, I knew you would explain yourself in your post 🙂 And thanks for the shout out!

    Also just wanted your advice on what macros you would recommend for 200lb guy trying to lose 10-15lbs of fat?

    Thanks in advance!

  4. peptide
    8 years ago

    i hear what you are saying, but it kinda throws evrything up in the air and what you are then saying is basically measure what u eat or know its nutrient content and use that in conjunction with basal metabolic rate etc to loose weight, keep it at a deficit?

  5. Clement
    8 years ago

    I definitely agree with you that people’re just too crazy about their diets these days. They think that they must suffer the rest of their lives to get lean! Me, I prefer sweet potatoes to white ones as the latter are just too plain. I follow Martin berkhan’s leangains approach of 16h fasts every day for the weekdays and have 2 cheat meals on weekends. I normally eat 2 square meals a day anyway, and have maintained my bodyfat levels at 12-15% for much of this past year. And I don’t give a damn about macronutrient breakdown or nutrient timing. I’ve never been more alert and fresh! Dieting is simply exercise and a modest calorie deficit, focusing on whole natural foods and a90% compliance to this rule!

  6. Roger
    8 years ago

    Great post Jimmy. Never completely thought about it like that.

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