With practically everyone becoming more health-conscious these days, it’s hard not to be aware of the different diets popping up — Atkins, Vegan, South Beach, Paleo, Ketogenic, you name it. And you’ve probably heard people talking about the 80/20 diet rule. Not really sure what it is? In a simple breakdown of the term, the 80/20 rule refers to dietary balance and is one of the easiest ways of staying healthy.
The rule: 80 percent of the calories you take daily should be nutritious whole foods, while 20 percent should be favorite treats for yourself.
This particular diet rule has been touted as an incredible way of enjoying the meals you love while keeping your body weight in check.
Probably, the next question you might ask “is there a good side and a bad side to the rule.?” The answer to this is YES — the rule has its pros and cons.
Pros and cons of the 80/20 rule
The advantage is that this is a practice you can engage in forever since you can still enjoy taking special treats without feeling guilty.
However, the downside of this rule is that it is not entirely effective in achieving weight loss. If weight loss is your aim, try to avoid filling the gap with too many calorie-rich foods such as larger portions of whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and nuts. Focus on fresh fruits and vegetables instead.
It does make your healthier. And while not being the perfect diet I have noticed that it is a great in-between diet for many people who are not ready to give up their less-healthy comfort foods. It’s a great start and most people who start enjoying the benefits of a whole food, healthy diet usually have no problem to gradually leave more unhealthy foods out of their diet. It’s a matter of adding more healthy stuff to your diet and eventually, the good stuff will overpower the bad.
If you start applying the 20/80 rule in your life, you’ll quickly notice that the 20 percent comfort foods will be replaced by new healthy flavors you discovered. Most people associate healthy food with bland, tasteless food… which is so wrong. Go to the recipe section to get some inspiration for healthy, yummy dishes the whole family will love.
What is the most appropriate way of introducing the 80/20 rule in your daily diet?
Well, one should practice moderation when enforcing this diet rule. Just because the 20 percent is allocated to your favorite treats does not mean that you should stuff yourself with chocolate, pizza or ice cream. Do not force yourself into finishing a whole bag of chips. Stop when you’ve had enough; there is no need to fill up that 20 percent since those are considered “throwaway” or “comfort” calories anyway.
Also, take note that numbers aren’t important — what’s more crucial is how to portion your diet to follow the 80/20 rule. For instance, if you are on a 2,000 calorie diet, then 400 of those calories should come from favorite treats or comfort foods. But remember, it would be more beneficial to you if you strive to consume less than 20 percent of your favorite treats daily.
Also, it is important to remember that any bite you take presents an opportunity of nourishing your body with the essential building blocks it needs.
Try homemade peanut butter instead of cake or have roasted brussels sprouts or kale chips instead of fried, processed potato chips as a snack. This will help in eliminating your craving for the other 20 percent, which in turn will help you stay healthy.
ALSO READ: Healthy Treats: How To Snack Mindfully
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Thanks for reading. I hope this information was helpful. Until next time!
Crazy cat lady, life and food lover, certified biologist, and holistic health coach.