Woman doing the 80 20 diet

Dieting 80 20 rule: Should you follow it?

5 min read


29 Jun 2023

Things you’ll learn in this blog

  • Benefits of the 80-20 Diet
  • Drawbacks of the 80-20 Diet
  • Can I lose weight on the 80-20 diet?
  • What healthy foods should you eat 80% of the time?
  • What else can help me lose weight?
  • Should I try the 80-20 diet?
  • The 80-20 method is simple: 80% of your food should be healthy and nutritious, and the other 20% can be less healthy. 

    This is one of the reasons why it is such a popular diet and one of the secrets to its success.

    The reason people use the 80-20 diet all comes down to motivation and sustainability. A very strict diet with ‘no fun’ is extremely hard to maintain over a long period. 

    People often slip up a few times and then give up because they feel they’ve failed. Leaving yourself space to eat some unhealthy foods reduces your risk of giving in to cravings or binge eating, and because the diet is more enjoyable, it's easy to stick to.

    So is the 80 20 a healthy diet, and does it really help you with weight loss?

    What is the 80:20 diet?

    Less of a diet and more of a guideline for eating.

    It’s simply this…

    Eat well 80% of the time, and the other 20% of the time can be cheat time. 

    It’s a good way to order your lifestyle to ensure that it’s sustainable, keeping you healthy the majority of the time while allowing you a little leeway to enjoy life. 

    Benefits of the 80-20 Diet

    This diet plan has many benefits, making it attractive to those trying to lose weight.

    • It’s easier to stay consistent with this diet compared with very restrictive diets
    • It contains all the main food groups, and there is a focus on eating nutritious foods, helping you feel happy, lively and healthy
    • It reduces the likelihood of craving because you aren’t cutting anything out altogether
    • It is sustainable as a long-term diet plan
    • It is easy to follow - no requirement for counting macros, calories or weighing food
    • It is inexpensive - you don’t have to buy any special diet foods

     Drawbacks of the 80-20 Diet

    Sounds easy, right? 

    Well, as you know by now, it’s never that simple! There are a few reasons why you may struggle to lose weight using the 80 20 diet, along

    • It is easy to overeat during your 20% of bad meals. If every 1 in 5 meals is unhealthy, and you are consuming 1,500 calories in that meal alone, you probably won’t create a calorie deficit.
    • You can overeat on healthy foods. Packing your plate full of brown rice, chicken, and fresh veg is a great idea but eating too much of anything is possible. You still have to limit your portion sizes.
    • It won’t heal an unhealthy relationship with food. How do you decide which foods are good and bad? And do you really want to look at foods in that way? For some, this is totally fine, but those with any history of eating disorder may be triggered by making these distinctions. 

    Can I lose weight on the 80-20 diet?

    As long as you burn more calories than you eat, you will still lose weight, and this is possible on the 80-20 diet. However, the traditional 80-20 diet doesn’t include calorie counting, which is why it is so easy to overeat. 

    The 80-20 diet is more suitable for long-term maintenance of a healthy weight. In order to lose weight, you will usually have to count your calories or follow a diet plan for a period of time. 

    You could, however, use the principle of calorie counting. Eating 2,000 calories per day means you can have 400 ‘unhealthy’ calories. So perhaps a chocolate bar and one can of soda. The other 1,600 calories should come from filling, nutritious foods that will supply you with lots of energy.

    What healthy foods should you eat 80% of the time?

    When following the 80-20 diet, 80% of your eating plan should consist of lots of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, plenty of lean protein, healthy fats and foods low in sugar and saturated fat. There is a focus on whole foods to ensure that you have a highly nutritious diet 80% of the time. Some great examples include:

    Healthy food
    • Fish
    • Chicken
    • Tofu
    • Apples
    • Berries
    • Oranges
    • Brown rice
    • Whole grain bread
    • Potatoes 
    • Leafy green vegetables (e.g. spinach and kale)
    • Broccoli 
    • Asparagus
    • Carrots
    • Beans
    • Quinoa 
    • Lean red meat
    • Eggs
    • Nuts and seeds
    • Chickpeas 
    • Greek yogurt

    Simple healthy meals to keep you on track

    Home-made meals are the best way to ensure you keep your calorie intake low - dining out, takeaways and store-bought ready meals often add extra cream, milk and sugar to their dishes. But we know finding the time to cook is tough! 

    So check out our articles on “The best healthy 30-minute meal ideas” and “The best Instant Pot recipes to prep in under 30 mins.”

    What else can help me lose weight?

    Eating healthy foods and maintaining a calorie-controlled diet is the most important thing when it comes to losing weight. However, you have to look at the whole picture to give you the best chance for success:

    • Get enough sleep and go to bed and wake up at the same time each day
    • Find time to relax and keep your stress levels low
    • Move as often as you can; you might not have time to hit the gym, but getting out for a walk at lunchtime can make all the difference!
    • Take a weight loss supplement to give you more energy and fight cravings

    Should I try the 80-20 diet?

    The 80-20 method is a great tool to help you maintain healthy eating habits and a well-rounded, balanced, sustainable, easy-to-follow diet. You don’t have to cut out any of your favorite foods, so you can still enjoy eating and drinking!

    However, it does need to coincide with limiting your calories, which can be tough. 

    One of the things you can do to make this easier is to invest in an all-natural, powerful diet supplement.

    PhenQ is an amazing 5-in-1 pill that burns fat, slows fat production, suppresses your appetite, improves your mood and gives you more energy. If you are doing all the right things but not getting the desired results, give PhenQ a try!