Nutrition is a frustrating topic for many people if you don’t go out of your way to study it. There is not a lot of common knowledge on it, except maybe stuff you see in the media. Some examples of “information” are to eat your fruits and veggies, protein is important, soda is bad, sugar is bad, carbs are bad, fat is bad, sugar replacements give you cancer, carbs are actually ok if you have whole grains, there are good fats so fat isn’t actually bad, fruit has sugar so don’t eat that either, and so forth. So, then the question arises, what the heck are you supposed to eat?!?
The truth is, you are an individual whose needs are going to be different than the people around you. There is no blanket diet that fixes every person on this planet. The complicated parts to nutrition that everyone tries to avoid is figuring out how many of each nutrient they should be eating, calorie counting, macronutrient counting, weighing food, meal planning, etcetera. It takes work! Here are helpful bits of information that can make this process of eating healthy easier:
CARBS=SUGAR, but that is NOT bad
I won’t dive into the deep science of it, but anything that is classified as a carbohydrate (even vegetables) will break down into the body as a sugar. There are different types of sugars, but fun fact, your body can’t tell the difference between a donut and a sweet potato. They both break down into sugars, however, the sweet potato has more to offer because of the vitamins, protein, and minerals. Think of your body like a car. If you put fuel (carbs) into the car to make it go, but never get an oil change (vitamins and minerals), it won’t run well or at its best performance. If you put fuel in and get a regular oil change, you will have a car that runs well and for a long time.
There are good fats and “bad” fats, but both have the same caloric density
Fat is essential for your body. You cannot live without it. The “bad” fat that is referred to so frequently are the trans and saturated fats. You will find these is processed foods, some oils, and red meats. The good fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. These fats are in things like nuts, oils, avocados, and olives. The big difference in these are the chemical bonds they are made of and how they breakdown in the body, however, they have the SAME number of calories per 1 gram. When consuming fat, you want to consume more of the mono and poly fats, but having some saturated fat is completely ok and hard to avoid in most American foods. Most importantly, put fats in your diet and do not be afraid to consume them, but make sure you pay attention to how much you are consuming.
How do I know how much of what foods I should be consuming?
A great resource I use for myself and for writing meal plans for clients is https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/. It gives you a simple chart that is not about counting calories, but about counting servings of each food group. This resource is a great way to get a general idea of how to eat healthy, what foods to eat, and how much you should be eating. Here is an example of the most common caloric intakes for adults:
MyPlate.com is a helpful tool as well to understand how much of each food is considered one serving.
If you have any health conditions, it is important to talk to a nutritionist for any additional steps you should be taking to insure you are getting the right amount of nutrients. These guidelines are for the average American with no existing conditions.
If you are interested in learning more or training with Bekka, contact her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org