80/20 Diet Guide: Pros, Tips + What You Can Eat

Written by Powertrain Sports,  3rd June 2022
80/20 Diet Guide Header
If you're looking for a sustainable way of eating with no food restrictions and no calorie counting, just look at the 80/20 diet.

The 80/20 diet is a rule for everyday eating that allows you to enjoy your favourite foods without feeling guilty. In this diet, 80% of your food intake should go to nutritious foods (such as whole grains, vegetables and lean protein), while the other 20% goes to less healthy foods and treats (like chocolate cake or pizza).

This diet is based on the Pareto Principle, which states that 20% of inputs create 80% of the result. By keeping your ‘treat’ intake at 20%, you can maintain a sustainable diet without constantly craving your favourite meals. Over time, this can leads to healthier eating and better results

Although the 80/20 diet is not necessarily strict, a lot of people make a habit out of it because it’s well-balanced without being restrictive. Staying healthy has never been easier with this diet, and you don’t even have to limit your food intake. You just have to proportion it properly!

How does the diet work?

For the 80/20 diet to work, it’s important to consider which foods are best for the 80 and 20 per cent.

Healthy foods can include:

  • fruit
  • vegetables
  • whole grains
  • lean protein, and
  • unprocessed or minimally processed foods.

These are the foods you should eat for 80% of your everyday diet.

And since there are no food restrictions in the 80/20 diet, you can enjoy any type of food when it comes to the remaining 20 per cent. Whether it’s chocolate, cupcakes or bacon, you can basically eat anything you want so long as you keep it in moderation.

Cool, right? Unlike other diets, this regimen is not at all restrictive and encourages healthy eating habits that would help you in the long run.

20 per cent treats and 80 per cent nutritious food
The 80/20 diet lets you maintain a sustainable lifestyle without giving up your favourite treats.

Benefits of the 80/20 diet

Still not sure if this diet is right for you? Here are some benefits that might just convince you!

  • No limitations: You don’t need to track food choices, count calories and carbs or limit yourself from eating your favourite foods when it comes to this type of diet.
  • Encourages healthy eating habits: Given its flexible nature, the 80/20 diet promotes healthy eating habits. It lets you practise mindfulness when you pick which foods to eat or make.
  • Sustainable in the long term: Most people can maintain the 80/20 diet because it’s not as demanding and restrictive compared to others.

Tips for sticking to the 80/20 rule

Like other diets, this regimen also requires self-discipline to pull off. There are also a number of dos and don’ts you should pay attention to in order to stick to the 80/20 diet.

A woman preparing a salad at home
Prepping your meals in advance can help you stick to the 80/20 diet.
  • Don’t overeat either healthy or less-nutritious food. It’s important to keep both types of food within the proportion allotted for them: 80% and 20%. Try not to make a habit out of eating clean for five days but binging on the last two days of the week. The same goes for too much healthy food. Overeating can cause multiple health issues, no matter which type of food you take in.
  • The diet only works if you also take care of other aspects of your health. Nutrition goes a long way to help you stay fit and healthy — but so does working out regularly. These two go together alongside taking care of yourself.
  • It’s not one size fits all, so don’t be alarmed if it’s not for you. Although quite flexible, the 80/20 diet can only do so much for you. There are several other diets that are catered to more specific health concerns. However, if you just want to maintain your health, the 80/20 diet is a good option.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the 80/20 diet help me lose weight?

The 80/20 diet is a sustainable way of eating that can aid in weight loss. It helps you avoid food fixations and cravings that can lead to overeating or binging.

Can I follow the 80/20 diet if I have a medical condition?

The 80/20 diet is not one size fits all. Consult your doctor first if you have any medical condition that requires a more specific or customised diet.

Wrapping Up

The 80/20 diet is a good way to start building healthy eating habits in the long term. Combined with regular exercise, it can be the first step towards becoming healthier and fitter!

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