Choosing a Diet to Shed Pandemic Weight Gain

There are so many diets out there – how do you choose one that’s right for you? Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, tells us what to look for.

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CLEVELAND – Nearly half of Americans say they’ve gained weight during the pandemic, according to a recent survey.

If you’re one of them, you may be thinking about going on a diet.

But there’s so many to choose from, how do you pick the right one?

“Often times when my patients say, ‘What diet should I be on, which is the best one?’, my answer is always, the best diet for you is one you can stay on long-term,” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, RD, of Cleveland Clinic. “One that has the most sustainability and one that you’re happy on. If you’re on a diet and it’s nothing but deprivation and you’re miserable, that’s not the right one for you and chances are you won’t keep the weight off.”

We ultimately have to decide for ourselves what diet is best, Kirkpatrick said.

Diets aren’t one-size-fits-all and she recommends picking one that’s easy for you, personally, to follow and stick with.

She reminds us, some diets have more research behind them, like the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and fish.

Then, there’s the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet – which focuses on foods to help lower blood pressure.

And there’s also a newer combination of the two called the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, or MIND diet.

“That diet has been shown, with rigorous adherence, to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia by about 53%, so this is really a brain boosting diet,” said Kirkpatrick. “This year a lot of my patients and a lot of trends are going towards how we improve our brain health, so I think the MIND diet is another great option.”

Kirkpatrick said her patients have also done well on the ketogenic diet, as well as whole foods and low carb approaches.

If you’re having trouble deciding what diet is right for you, talk to your healthcare provider or enlist the help of a dietician.

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