Wellness Challenge #28- 5 Principles of Solid Nutrition
*Nail these and you’re 90% there!*
I can’t tell you how many times people ask Myles or I what type of diet is best for them. Or if red wine and red meat is good for them? Or if the keto diet works? Or is intermittent fasting really a good idea? The honest answer to all of these questions is it totally depends on the person and a whole host of circumstances.
So no- there is no end all be all diet that we swear by and tell everyone to try. But we can tell you that if you do these 5 things listed below, you will find a higher degree of success with weight management, body composition goals, and overall well being.
Principle #1: Weight loss and weight gain come down to one key equation.
Calories (energy) in - Calories (energy) out = changes in body stores.
(CICO) is a real thing. If you eat more and expend less you will gain weight, if you eat less and expend more you will lose weight. It’s simple, it’s proven and it’s true.
Where it gets a little murky is all the variables that affect the energy balance equation. I won’t go into all the science behind it in this article but next week we will delve deeper into how this equation can be skewed by our habits and our hormones and what it means when people say not all calories are equal.
Principle #2: Protein is the most important macronutrient to get right.
Ya ya, you know this one. Protein is important because it fills us up, keeps us feeling full longer and helps our body build muscle.
Principle #3: As food processing increases, nutrient density decreases.
Principle #4: Fruit and vegetables reduce disease risk—and may help you lose weight, too.
What do most of the most successful diets have in common? Asking the dieters to consume more whole foods. It’s not just about eating veggies and fruits to round out your vitamin and mineral spectrum but it’s actually about how much fuller you feel when you eat those foods too. Think about eating a whole apple vs a half cup of applesauce. Which one will fill you up more? The farther we get from the whole food (the more processed the food becomes) the less nutrient dense the food is. Therefore we need to eat more of the processed food to feel full and get the same benefit (if that’s even possible) than if we just ate the apple. Plus the whole food is chuck full of good fiber and other vitamins and minerals that you can’t get from the processed version. Not to mention all the “extra” stuff they pump into the processed food (sugar, sodium, preservatives, chemicals, dyes, etc)
Principle #5: Sleep affects what you eat—as well as your overall health.
Sleep deprivation can affect your hormones and mess with some important ones that regulate hunger and satiety. For example
Ghrelin levels rise, triggering hunger.
Leptin falls, so it takes longer to feel full.
Endocannabinoids increase, making your perception of foods seem more pleasurable.
In other words, not getting enough sleep means you feel hungrier and don’t feel full as fast. Also you have less time asleep and more time awake allowing you more time to raid the pantry. And of course when you are tired you don’t feel like working out, the couch is much more appealing.
In conclusion, if you feel like picking our brains about what is the best nutritional course of action for you, we will need to gather a lot of information in order to devise a specific plan that fits your individual needs. However if you just want to improve your overall health and take some simple steps in the right direction you can apply some of these principles and see if you can move that notch toward the healthier version of you.