Over the last few weeks, I have been listening to a lot of podcasts related to food, nutrition and health. As a professional personal trainer and instructor, I love to hear what other professionals advise, what the latest food trends are and educating myself is really important to me.

I have listened to two podcasts recently that have completely contradicting advice… ONE with completely different extreme food choices and both presented by two very educated, interesting and experienced doctors. Both make their arguments clearly and support their content well, but I was left confused afterwards.  It got me thinking “how on earth is anyone supposed to know what to do and what to eat, and which way is correct?” The answer is: there is no ONE correct diet that suits everyone.

In a world of conflicting nutritional messages, a balanced diet still remains the best way to go. If in doubt, add a few extra portions of fruit and veggies to your daily intake.

In my opinion, although there are certain important guidelines that apply to everyone, the choice is an individual thing. You cannot tell someone who loves meat to never eat it again or someone who finds meat disgusting to dig into a steak. It can be very hard for someone who is not a professional dietician to ensure they get enough protein if they turn vegan. Similarly, following a diet that only contains animal products and no vegetables or fruit is likely to leave you deficient in fibre, vitamins and a lot of vital nutrients only found in plant-based products.

Research shows that animal products are great for complete protein but also contain saturated fat (the bad one) and contain no fibre. On top of this a lot of meat is very processed, full of additives and hormones which are unhealthy.

My advice, across the board, is to increase your fruit and vegetable intake. Include some fruit and/or vegetables in every meal, eat healthy protein (but you don’t need as much as you think), drink LOTS of water and judge your health by your bowel movements, your energy levels, your skin and your sleep. It’s important to remember food and nutrition is not just calories in vs calories out. We eat to be social and enjoy friends, family, and special occasions.

I know I will not be giving up meat completely or going completely vegan. Less is more for sure and the different food groups all have important roles to play in your health. If you want to lose weight: cut down on portion sizes, fatty foods, alcohol, cut out sweet treats, try intermittent fasting and start exercising more. Why not sign up to do a fitness challenge, join a class, a gym or a hiking group and go to bed earlier to get good quality sleep. It’s as simple as that.

For more information follow me on Instagram at dd_health_fitness or visit my website on www.danieladietl.com.