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10 types of diets: What’s the best fit for your feel-good body?

muesli jogurt bowl
Fitness & Nutrition Editor
Undine is currently studying fitness, health, and wellness to become a certified trainer. She writes articles for foodspring about nutrition and fitness. She also creates free food programs.

These days, there are so many new eating trends that it can be hard to know what’s best for you. Here’s what you need to know about the most popular types of diets today, whether your goal is weight loss or building muscle.

Protein Diet: Fill up on protein throughout the day

A protein diet is exactly what it sounds like: lots and lots of protein with every meal. It’s an especially ideal eating plan for anyone interested in building muscle, but it can be a boon for weight loss as well.

A plate with an apricot-glazed chicken breast and wild rice
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What foods does this diet include?

As you’ve probably figured out by now, high-protein diets involve a lot of protein-rich food. While many choose to focus on incorporating more animal-based products in order to supplement protein, there are plenty of plant-based protein alternatives that are ideal for anyone on a vegan or vegetarian diet. Here are some protein-rich foods to keep in mind:

  • Eggs
  • Lean meat and fish
  • Vegetables
  • Legumes and beans
  • Dairy products

Our tip: Protein shakes can help you hit your weight loss goals, no matter your diet. They taste just like milkshakes and are packed with the protein you need. Our Whey Protein comes in tons of mouthwatering flavors, like cookies and cream, mango, or caramel, to suit your every mood.

a Mason jar of cookies-and-cream-flavored Whey Protein which is suitable for many types of diets
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Metabolic diet: the calorie-burning method

This weight loss diet is only intended for short periods of time, because it involves greatly reducing caloric intake. No snacks are allowed, while focusing on foods that stimulate metabolism – this is intended to guarantee weight loss.

A light-gray plate with golden-brown nuggets coated in a crispy coating
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What foods does this diet include?

This diet encourages eating plenty of protein-rich food, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats, and avoiding refined carbs and highly processed food. And even if this diet sounds tempting, make sure you maintain balanced nutrition in the long term. Don’t forget to eat a few complex carbs and healthy fats. Some of the foods you can expect from the metabolic diet include:

  • Lean meats, fish
  • Low-carbohydrate fruits and vegetables
  • Low- and full-fat cottage cheese
  • Eggs

The low-carb diet: replacing carbohydrates with fat

Though we’re all familiar with the idea of low carb diets to lose weight, there are several kinds of low-carb diets out there. For example, keto diets and paleo diets, though different, are both low in carbohydrates. That doesn’t mean you have to sign up for a fancy meal plan to go low-carb, though. Reduce your carb intake to a maximum of 26 percent of your total diet, and you’re good to go.

a parchment-paper parcel of salmon with a lemon slice on top and cherry tomatoes on the vine, zucchini rounds, and quartered cremini mushrooms next to it
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learn more about low-carb weight loss

What foods does this diet include?

This diet limits carbohydrate intake while increasing the amount of protein you consume. Skipping carbs for a short period can result in quick weight loss results, but ditching them entirely isn’t sustainable in the long run. Unlike refined carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates contain many of the nutrients that our bodies need to function. Here are a few low-carb foods:

  • Meat and fish
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Avocados
  • Legumes
  • Nuts, seeds, and oils
  • Dairy products

Our tip: Our Protein Pasta is a great way to start a low-carb diet without having to give up noodles. Made largely from peas, it tastes just like regular pasta but is packed with protein.

A bowl of Protein Pasta decorated with bright basil leaves, capers, and black olives as well as red and yellow cherry tomatoes
©foodspring

The paleo diet: eating like a caveman

The idea behind the paleo diet is that we feel our best when we eat like our ancestors from the Paleolithic era. Things like yogurt, cereal, and cheese weren’t around in the Stone Age, so we aren’t built to eat them, either. Or so the thinking goes.

shakshuka recipe
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What foods does this diet include?

Obviously, you don’t have to personally hunt and gather your food to start your own Paleo diet. However, you will want to avoid processed foods like cereals, pasta, and cheese, especially if they contain added sugar. Some people on paleo diets choose to avoid foods that weren’t cultivated until after the era ended – think pineapple or chia seeds. You can choose how stringent you want to be. In general, paleo diets include foods like these:

  • Meat and fish
  • Local fruits and vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Unsweetened, dried fruit
  • Eggs
  • Avocados
  • Oatmeal

The IIFYM diet: all about macronutrients

The acronym IIFYM stands for If It Fits Your Macros, which means you can eat whatever you want as long as it fits within your macronutrient needs. You need a bit of preparation before you get started on this diet. You’ll need to know what macronutrients are and how much of each one your body needs. Macronutrients are divided into carbohydrates, protein, and fat, and each person has their own specific needs. Luckily, we’ve got a convenient and free Body Check that calculates your macro needs in just minutes. Staying within these limits can help you hit your goal, whether it’s weight loss, weight gain, or staying at your hard-earned feel-good body.

a muesli yogurt bowl with a package of Protein Cream next to it
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learn more about IIFYM

What foods does this diet include?

The nice thing about this diet is that you can eat anything – and we mean anything – as long as it fits within your macros. Doesn’t matter if it’s ice cream, pizza, or a low-fat salad! As long as it has the nutrients you need, add it to your meal plan. Use a nutrition app or check the nutrition label to find out what each food contains before you dig in. Here are some foods you can include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish, or dairy products
  • Legumes
  • Avocados, nuts, seeds, high-quality oils
  • Whole grains

The high-carb diet: when more carbs are a good thing

A high-carb diet is ideal for the low-carb adverse. Instead of cutting carbs, this diet is low fat instead. That doesn’t mean you’ll be eating pasta round the clock, though. Fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes are also excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. This diet also encourages eating slowly so that you’re better able to detect your body’s hunger cues, as well as feelings of satiety.

filled sweet potato
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What foods does this diet include?

High-carb diets are mostly carbs (of course). Not just any carbs, though – complex carbs. Whole grains, fruits, and veggies are some of the best options. Here are some others:

  • Legumes
  • Wholemeal bread, pasta, rice
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Lean meats, fish
  • Dairy products

Our tip: A balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats is the secret to most diets. Our Omega-3 Capsules have the healthy fats you need, without the saturated fats found in meat and dairy products.

Ketogenic diet: fill up on fat!

The ketogenic diet (also known as keto) is the exact opposite of the high-carb diet because it’s all about high-fat foods. Any carbs should come only from fruit and vegetables. The goal is effective and long-lasting weight loss.

chocolate cheesecake
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learn more about the keto diet

What foods does this diet include?

Although this diet involves a lot of fat, it doesn’t include every kind of fat. The focus should be on healthy fats that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, instead of saturated fats or trans fatty acids, which is found mainly in processed meats and fast and frozen food. These are some of your options:

  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Nuts, seeds, and oils
  • Oily fish
  • Green vegetables
  • Berries

Intermittent fasting: eating in intervals

Intermittent fasting, also known as interval fasting, requires alternating between periods of fasting and periods of eating. During your eating hours, you can enjoy whatever you want, but during fasting periods you can’t even snack. The most common intermittent fasting method is to simply skip breakfast or dinner.

a poke bowl with salmon, and a jar of Organic Peanut Butter on the side
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more information about intermittent fasting

What foods does this diet include?

Intermittent fasting allows you to eat whatever you want, provided it’s not during a fasting period. When you do eat, opt for foods rich in protein and complex carbohydrates to keep yourself full and satisfied during the hungry hours ahead. Here are some food inspirations:

  • Whole wheat bread, pasta, rice
  • Meat, fish
  • Eggs
  • Lean cottage cheese, cottage cheese
  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Legumes
  • Avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils

Our tip: Even though nothing is forbidden during intermittent fasting, avoiding added sugar will always be beneficial to your health. Our Protein Cream is sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without a single grain of added sugar.

Two plates of crepes - one light in color, one chocolate-colored. The light crepes are topped with a dollop of chocolate-brown Protein Cream, while the chocolate crepes have banana and strawberry slices peeking out of them and are drizzled with lines of white Protein Cream
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The military diet: losing weight the old-fashioned way

Although definitely the strangest and most specific diet on this list, the military diet doesn’t actually have anything to do with the army at all – it gets the name from being so strict! Designed to help you achieve 5 kilos’ weight loss in 7 days, you’ll follow a low-calorie meal plan for the first three days and an adapted plan for the last four. If you see results after the diet, you can do it over and over until you reach your ultimate goal.

tuna sandwich loaded with tomato slices, red onion, and baby Swiss chard leaves
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What foods does this diet include?

For the first three days, you have to eat exactly as the diet dictates. After that, you can eat whatever you want, though overdoing it will likely undo any progress from the three previous days of dieting. The foods you’ll be eating include a lot of vintage favorites, like canned tuna, steak, green beans, and vanilla ice cream. Here are some other foods you’ll be eating on the military diet:

  • Grapefruit, apples and bananas
  • Toast or bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Tuna and meat
  • Green beans or peas
  • Vanilla ice cream

The Mediterranean diet: eats Greek to me

This diet is all about eating as if you lived on the Amalfi coast – plenty of fresh veggies, lots of fatty fish and oils, and a fair amount of cheese and whole grains as well. Along with a glass of red wine and a good chunk of physical activity, it will help you feel healthy without depriving yourself. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes plants first and meat second. In some cases, Mediterranean diets avoid red meat entirely – making it a breeze to combine with a vegan or vegetarian diet! Processed foods are generally off the table, as well. Here’s more of what you can expect from Mediterranean diets:

  • Fruit
  • Seafood
  • Herbs and spices

Summary

  • No matter what diet you choose, healthy and balanced nutrition should always be your foundation.
  • Almost all diets encourage eating a balance of fruits and vegetables, complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.
  • Many types of diets are based on the same concept: fewer calories, more protein. That said, consuming whole grains from time to time is not only acceptable, but necessary. We don’t believe in cutting out an entire group of macronutrients for the rest of your life, and with carbs there’s nothing to worry about if you’re eating mostly whole-grain carbs.
  • Though diets can be a good way to start eating healthier or lose weight, steer clear of cutting out any macronutrient group permanently.
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