During the month of July, we’ve been concentrating on Debunking Diets here at Healthoholics. So far we’ve covered:
- The Ketogenic “Keto” Diet
- Intermittent Fasting
- Paleo, Whole 30 and the Auto-Immune Protocol (AIP)
Today, in our last instalment of “Debunking Diets”, we’re discussing the Beachbody Diet!
What is the Beachbody diet?
The Beachbody diet is a portion control eating program and exercise plans with many variations associated with the brand. Beachbody is responsible for programs such as PiYo, The Zone Diet, and P90X. But their most popular program by far is the 21 Day Fix eating plan. This 21 Day Fix program is the one we’re focusing on for this blog.
The Beachbody is a predetermined menu plan based on portion control of different food groups. To make it even easier, portions can be separated in colour coded containers.
Red – Protein
Orange – Seeds / oils
Yellow – carbs
Green – veggies
Blue – healthy fats
Purple – fruits
They also have a brand called “shakeology”, which is a whole other bag of tricks.
This diet plan is based on your overall activity level in order to determine your calorie count. The Beachbody diet divides your calories into your recommended daily intake of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats).
The menu guideline for the Beachbody diet is 40% carbohydrates, 30% proteins, and 30% fat. This is somewhat in line with many government diet recommendations, like the Canada Food Guide, which states 45-65% carbohydrates, 10-35% protein, and 20-35% fat.
My experience with the Beachbody Diet
I think most North American’s interested in health through nutrition start our journeys with food in a similar fashion to the Beachbody diet. My first foray into “healthier” eating, was following the Canada Food Guide, which I mentioned has a similar structure to Beachbody. We portion control, learn about the differences between carbs, proteins and fats, and don’t necessarily restrict any one food. The “rules” are simple, so it doesn’t shock your system when you ease your way into making all your own meals from recipes already planned out for you. The skills of meal planning and batch cooking come in handy on a weekly basis, but also when prepping for large events like Christmas, Thanksgiving, or birthdays, where more food is often necessary to feed more mouths. Portion control is also a great thing to learn, because many of us don’t realize when we’re full, and eat more as a result.
The Beachbody diet plan is geared towards your overall activity level, and has portioned your macronutrients accordingly, thus achieving a calorie deficit. The prevailing theory being that if you eat less calories that you burn in a day, this will result in weight loss. Most North Americans do eat larger portions than necessary to sustain themselves throughout the day, so learning what a portion looks can be an important step to maintaining good health.
With this diet it’s next to impossible to “fly by the seat of your pants” and/or “eat anything under the sun” because it is so structured. With structure comes planning which, for someone like me who loves planning, is great! You can buy enough groceries, and batch cook/prep them so they are ready to go for your week ahead.
The Beachbody diet is advertised as a transitional diet so that you can begin to train your body to accept the flavours of whole foods and learn to love your kitchen.
This diet is great as an introduction to whole foods. If you’re used to take-away meals, restaurant portions, or prepackaged groceries, this may be the stepping stone you need to retain your brain and your taste buds. Beachbody can help curb the need for refined sugar and super salty highly saturated foods.
For people who are obese, or just looking to lose a tricky 10 pounds, this diet may help get your body fat ratio down.
Their carbohydrates are focused a lot on grains, and not a lot on starchy vegetables. With any high consumption of grains there is likely high yeast or sugar; both of which promote candidiasis (aka. an overgrowth of yeast in the intestines). Also, current digestive health is not taken into account in the Beachbody plan. If you have issues with gas and bloating, food combining may be something to consider, so you may not want to eat your carbohydrates/fruits and protein together.
Blood Sugar Balancing
With fewer calories means fewer opportunities to regulate blood sugar. For many of us, eating carbohydrates first thing in the morning after an 8 hour fast overnight may not be the best thing for our brains or our blood sugar. Eating grains without proper fat or protein accompaniment may cause you to have sugar cravings or hunger pains an hour or two later.
While this diet allows you to eat most foods as long as it fits within your allowable portions, it doesn’t allow for spontaneity, or the opportunity to treat yourself and indulge a little. This may lead to the yo-yo diet effect, the desire to “cheat”, and the guilt of eating the foods your body is asking for because you are in need of more calories or more variety.
Things to Consider
Bread and Baked Goods
Grains are not the only place to get your carbohydrates from, so if you are choosing to try this diet on for size stay mindful of your bread and baked goods intake. Try things like sweet potatoes and squash as they can be just as satiating as two slices of bread and have a lot more nutrients in them.
Your Specific Body
In the realm of holistic nutrition there is no one right answer to how to feed someone; it all depends on their current physical and mental state, their access to different foods, and what their personal goals are. I would be cautious with this diet if you are dealing with blood sugar imbalances, digestive distress, or transit time/bowel issues.
Not only do you have to keep track of your containers/portions, but also calories. With everyone having more and more to do in a day, is there time in your life for all of the extras that come with this diet? Fatigue is something we all experience when we don’t take proper care of ourselves emotionally, physically, spiritually, or nutritionally. Is there space for the containers in your fridge, a diet diary in your pocket, meal planning and batch cooking on the weekend, or the emotional capacity to say no to eating out with friends or family? These are all important considerations.
My Closing Thoughts
If this is your way of dipping your toes in the waters of good nutrition, or you just need someone to lay out exactly what you should eat, the Beachbody diet makes it really easy. You don’t have to restrict any one food like dairy, sugar, or gluten — rather, you just make sure to keep them in-line with your portions and calories for the day.
I personally don’t know that I would be successful or satisfied with this diet because I eat WAY more fat (don’t worry, it’s the healthy kind) than this diet would ever recommend. This is because I have a history of blood sugar imbalance and need fat to sustain the energy my body gets from food. Fat is slower burning than carbohydrates, so I tend to eat more fat and less carbs. I also like to try new recipes, new restaurants, and be spontaneous with food, so a strict regimen isn’t for me.
That being said, I know people who would love this diet for the exact reasons I don’t! They don’t want to be spontaneous with food, instead they’d prefer to eat what they planned to eat, even if that’s the same thing every day. And, while they send me on a blood-sugar roller coaster, some individuals love bread and carbohydrates, tolerate them well, and feel a void when they restrict them.
In short, diet is an individual choice. Just make sure you are listening to your body, and its needs, when pursuing any diet or lifestyle change.
If you’re interested in the Beachbody diet plan, but want to ensure you’re undertaking this new way of eating in the healthiest way possible — move over expensive “Shakeology” powders — we’ve got a one-week menu plan for you! Download your copy today!