Is there a 'right diet' for everyone? How much depends on the individual? How much is universal?
Yes. And no.
The simplest question is "energy," or how many calories one needs. Individual energy expenditure is only partially predictable with universal formulas. There are large individual differences in actual energy expenditure.
Beyond calories, there are other questions about optimal nutritional intake - how much protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and other micronutrients do we need?
The optimal diet seems to be low in fat, moderate in protein, and high in "good" carbohydrate and fiber.
The right diet for an individual depends on their physical condition and activity pattern. With increased activity comes additional nutritional needs (more energy!).
Achieving the right diet is an individual process, based on our history, habits and preferences.
In our clinic we help promote a self-discovery process that does not depend on a particular diet or overly rigid control of eating and exercise, but a natural way of being that is consistent with one's values and preferences.
The real purpose of obesity treatment is to support the individual in discovering a lifestyle that works for them. That is the "right diet."
Stephen Stotland, Ph.D.