Edit ModuleShow Tags
Published:

Is Flexible Dieting More Than a Fad?



Is Flexible Dieting More than a Fad? | Food and Nutrition Magazine | Stone Soup Blog

Article author photo. Gillean Barkyoumb, MS, RDNThis featured post is by Gillean Barkyoumb, MS, RDN. You can follow this blogger @MillennialNutri.

It's tempting to dismiss the newest diet trend — called "flexible dieting" — as just another fad. But, the thing about flexible dieting is that it's deliberately "anti-fad," and, when done right, could help build life-long habits for healthy, balanced eating.

Rather than focusing solely on total calorie intake, flexible dieting takes into account the source of calories by tracking consumed grams of macronutrients — protein, carbohydrate and fat.

The concepts behind flexible dieting are not based on any new philosophy in the nutrition world. At the diet's core is the idea that you should be able to enjoy any food in moderation — yes, a diet that says you can have an occasional donut or brownie — just as long as you can account for it in your total macronutrient intake for the day. For this reason, the phrase, "If it fits your macros," has become something of a flexible dieting slogan.

How to Get Started on a Flexible Diet

How can you start flexible dieting? First, determine the total calories you should be consuming in a day, using ChooseMyPlate.gov. Then, calculate how to distribute those daily allotted calories using the USDA's Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges: 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates; 10 to 35 percent from protein; and 20 to 35 percent from fat.

Or, even better, consult with a registered dietitian nutritionist to get a truly customized analysis of your macronutrient needs to achieve body composition goals.

After you've set your daily macronutrient totals, you track your total grams of protein, carbs and fat consumed from meals and snacks every day. While this can be the most inconvenient part of following the flexible diet, it serves as a strong educational tool. Knowing how many grams of carbohydrate are in a donut or how many grams of protein are in a chicken breast can help people make healthy food choices even when they are no longer tracking every morsel eaten.

Another advantage of following the flexible diet is that all three macronutrients are accounted for in the diet. These all play important roles in health. Many traditional fad diets reduce or eliminate a macronutrient (think low-fat, low-carb, etc.), leaving the dieter feeling deprived and often leading to overindulgence. While these diets may work for the short-term, they are not realistic life-long eating routines.

If you're interested in integrating the philosophy of flexible dieting, commit to seriously tracking your dietary intake for at least two weeks to gain an understanding of the macronutrient composition of foods you commonly consume. As you become more aware, you will not need to track every meal. While it's not a point of focus for flexible dieting, it's also important to take into account micronutrient intake and fiber. After all, you still need to make sound nutrition choices. Otherwise this would just be another fad diet.


​Gillean Barkyoumb, MS, RDN, is a health and science writer based out of Gilbert, Ariz., specializing in topics such as nutrition, exercise and food science. She works for a leading health and wellness company and is the Arizona Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' marketing coordinator. Gillean enjoys spending time at her family's cabin in northern Arizona and hosting trendy, fun nutrition parties. Read her blog, Millennial Nutrition, and connect with her on Twitter.
 

(Photo: Jacob Wackerhausen/iStock/ThinkStock)

Edit Module

More Stone Soup

Summer Produce All Winter Long

Summer Produce All Winter Long

You're heard of the ant who works all summer, saving food for the winter while the lazy grasshopper just watches. It was that enjoyable, old Aesop's fable. Growing up, I would sometimes visit my grandparents' farm in Turkey. What I saw there was this same practice of saving summer produce for the winter. It was not just a fable though; it was a way of life.
Making Your Own Salad Dressing

Making Your Own Salad Dressing

These three dressings are tried-and-true favorites.
A Bunch of Reasons to Cook Seafood in Banana Leaves

A Bunch of Reasons to Cook Seafood in Banana Leaves

The leaves of the banana plant, which can typically be found in Asian markets, impart a tea-like flavor to seafood dishes. Fold up your seafood in a banana leaf to create a zesty seafood parcel for dinner!
Celebrate National Beer Day with Chocolate Stout Bread

Celebrate National Beer Day with Chocolate Stout Bread

Sure, you can kick back with a cold one at the end of the day — or you could get more creative and try baking or cooking with beer.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Advertise with Food & Nutrition
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags


Stone Soup

Guest bloggers from around the world share with Food & Nutrition Magazine.

About This Blog

Stone Soup is a guest blog written by members of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Content — including information, recipes and views expressed — is that of the authors and does not reflect the positions or policies of Food & Nutrition Magazine or the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Bloggers are required to pledge they will not write for Stone Soup on topics, companies or trade organization they currently represent or have represented at any time.

Learn about our guest blogs!

Comments Policy

Food & Nutrition Magazine provides this forum to exchange ideas, opinions and contributions within a positive community. Diverse viewpoints and constructive, respectful dialogue are welcome. Rudeness, misinformation, self-promotion and abuse are not. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate this policy or our Terms & Conditions. You must include your name or be logged into a personal account on Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ to comment.

Archives

Edit Module

Get Stone Soup in Your RSS

Use your RSS reader's instructions to add Stone Soup to your list:

Atom Feed Subscribe to the Stone Soup Feed »

Get Our Blogs in Your Email

Stone Soup
Student Scoop