A new year signals a chance to renew your commitment to healthier eating, but many of the most popular diets, like the keto diet and paleo diet, eliminate entire food groups, which can cause you to fall short on nutrients you need.
For example, a study in the “Journal of Clinical Lipidology” suggests low-carb diets may not have meaningful long-term benefits for weight or heart health compared to other diets and could actually restrict foods that are good for your heart.
This new year, instead of jumping on restrictive diet bandwagons, focus instead on consuming real, wholesome foods you can still enjoy, like dairy milk, that deliver benefits backed by decades of research.
Consider these tips for incorporating nutrient-rich foods into a few trending diets to make them work for you.
Intermittent Fasting: Skipping meals could do more harm than good if you’re not getting the nutrients you need to be your best. A better bet: balanced, flavorful meals that incorporate multiple food groups. If you really want to try intermittent fasting, consider not eating past a certain time in the evening so you can “fast” throughout the night, and make sure to eat a nourishing breakfast in the morning, like oatmeal made with real milk, topped with fruit and a handful of nuts.
Plant-Packed Plates: If you’re considering a vegetarian or plant-based diet in the new year, it’s important to pack the right nutrients into your meatless meals, particularly protein, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12. Make sure you’re getting enough by enjoying a variety of plant-based foods like beans, nuts, fruits and vegetables along with some other thoughtfully chosen options. Real dairy milk is a good choice in a vegetarian diet, providing as much as eight times more protein than many non-dairy milk alternatives. Each 8-ounce glass is also a source of vitamin D, and an excellent source of calcium and vitamin B12.
Focus On Fats: If you’re keeping closer tabs on your fat intake, it’s important to choose the right ones and know that a growing body of evidence suggests not all saturated fats are the same. For example, whole milk, which has more dairy fat than skim or low-fat varieties, may actually help raise “good” cholesterol and could be considered part of a diet that’s also good for your heart, according to research in the “European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.”
Calorie Conscious: Monitoring the calories you consume versus the calories you burn through exercise and everyday activity can help manage the fuel your body needs. When you consistently burn more calories than you eat, you are more likely to effectively lose weight. However, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo all your favorite foods. For example, when it comes to dairy, swapping full-fat options for skim or low-fat alternatives is one way to receive the same nutrient package with less fat and calories.