We have all heard about the keto diet and intermittent fasting, but have you heard about the 80/20 diet? If you are on a weight-loss journey, and none of the diet plans seem to work out for you, this might be your chance to try out the 80/20 diet. It is easier to follow and can show long-term results for various reasons.
The 80/20 diet, also known as the Pareto Principle diet, is a nutritional process based on the Pareto Principle, which suggests that roughly 80 percent of outcomes come from 20 percent of inputs. In the context of dieting, this principle is used to encourage individuals to maintain a balance between healthy eating and occasional indulgences.
Nutritionist Avni Kaul further explains, “The core concept of the 80/20 diet is to pay attention to consuming nutrient-dense foods 80 percent of the times, while allowing flexibility for treats or less nutritious options the remaining 20 percent of the time. This approach aims to promote sustainable, long-term healthy eating habits by avoiding strict restrictions and fostering a balanced relationship with food.”
Here are some reasons why the 80/20 diet could help reap long-term weight loss benefits.
The 80/20 diet could be useful for weight loss by promoting a sustainable and balanced method of eating. “By focusing on consuming nutrient-dense foods 80 percent of the time, a person can ensure he or she is meeting nutritional needs while supporting weight loss efforts through controlled calorie intake and improved overall dietary quality,” says the expert.
The flexibility to indulge in treats or less nutritious options 20 percent of the time helps prevent feelings of deprivation and reduces the likelihood of binge eating, making it easier to adhere to the diet long-term. Feelings of deprivation are commonly associated with strict diets, and increase the likelihood of binge eating or abandoning the diet altogether
The 80/20 diet could be a beneficial approach for weight loss due to its emphasis on moderation and flexibility. By prioritizing consumption of mostly nutrient-dense foods, people may create a sustainable eating pattern that promotes both physical and mental well-being. This approach creates a healthier relationship with food, encourages mindfulness in eating choices, and can contribute to gradual, steady weight loss over time.
By concentrating on whole foods rich in nutrients during the 80 percent portion, people could improve overall dietary quality, support metabolic health, and maintain steady energy levels. All of these are conducive to weight loss and weight maintenance. The 80/20 diet encourages a balanced and realistic approach to eating, making it easier to adopt as a long-term lifestyle change rather than a short-term restrictive diet, ultimately leading to sustainable weight loss results.
In the 80 percent portion of the 80/20 diet, you need primarily include nutrient-dense foods that give essential vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. As per the expert, this portion of your diet needs to consist of whole foods such as:
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1. Lean proteins: Chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, beans, lentils, and low-fat dairy-based products.
2. Fruits and vegetables: A variety of colourful fruits and vegetables to ensure a wide range of nutrients and antioxidants.
3. Whole grains: Quinoa, brown rice, oats, barley, whole wheat bread.
4. Healthy fats: Avocado, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon and mackerel.
5. Dairy or dairy alternatives: Greek yoghurt, almond milk, or other fortified plant-based milk.
These foods present essential nutrients while also helping to promote feelings of fullness and satisfaction, which can aid in weight management and overall health.
In the 20 percent portion of the 80/20 diet, one has the flexibility to include foods that are considered less nutrient-dense or higher in calories. This portion allows for occasional indulgences or treats without derailing your overall dietary goals.
Some examples of foods that can be included in the 20 percent portion as reckoned by the expert include:
1. Desserts: Cake, cookies, ice cream, chocolate, and pastries
2. Processed snacks: Chips, pretzels, popcorn, and crackers.
3. Sugary beverages: Soda, fruit juice, energy drinks, sweetened coffee, tea.
4. Fast food or takeout: Burgers, pizza, fries, fried chicken, etc.
5. Alcoholic beverages: Beer, wine or cocktails
While the 80/20 diet might be suitable for many individuals seeking a balanced approach to healthy eating and weight management, it might not be appropriate for everyone. These people should refrain from following this diet.
Those with certain dietary restrictions or medical conditions that require strict dietary control, such as diabetes, celiac disease, or food allergies, probably find it challenging to adhere to the 80/20 principle while meeting their nutritional needs.
Individuals having a history of disordered eating patterns or who struggle with self-control around certain foods may find the flexible nature of the diet triggering and potentially exacerbating unhealthy eating behaviours. Consulting with a qualified dietitian is recommended before starting any new diet plan, particularly, for those with underlying health concerns or unique dietary requirements.
It is essential to note that while these foods can be enjoyed occasionally, moderation is important. Consuming them in excess could still have negative impacts on your health and weight loss efforts. The focus should still be on maintaining a balanced diet that consists mainly of nutrient-dense foods from the 80% portion.