With every google search, magazine, or commercial, it seems that we’re receiving conflicting information about what constitutes a healthy diet. Fad diets everywhere try to convince us that eating a certain eccentric way, at a particular time of day, under just the right conditions, is the optimal path to better health. Somedays it seems you need a Master’s Degree in Nutrition just to finish your grocery shopping. FitClub has sorted out the science and put together the only dietary recommendations you need to achieve your best health.
- Fat isn’t a bad word. Your body actually needs fat to survive. Foods labeled “low fat” though, aren’t healthier than their full-fat counterparts. Manufacturers remove fat, slap the “low-fat” label on the food and market it as a healthy substitute. To duplicate the flavor of the full-fat alternative, though, manufacturers add sugar, leading to more calories and less of the healthy fat your body actually needs.
- Not all calories are created equally. If you eat more calories than you burn, your body will store the extra calories as body fat. If you eat fewer calories than your body burns, you will lose weight. Foods and beverages that contain calories but no nutrients (i.e. soda, fruit drinks, and junk food) don’t give your body the nutrients it needs to operate at its best, leaving you craving more food without any benefit from the calories you’ve already consumed.
- Eat more whole foods. “Whole foods” are natural, unprocessed, real foods; i.e. fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Whole foods are less likely to have a label or more than one ingredient. If the food looks like it was produced in a factory or comes in a box, it is not likely whole food. A diet that consists of 80-90% whole foods can eliminate all of the guesswork. You’re likely to be eating all of the nutrients your body needs simply by eating a diet primarily consisting of whole food.
- Eat nutrient-dense foods that make you feel full. Fiber is the magic nutrient that leaves us feeling full after a meal. A diet high in fiber keeps you regular, fills you up, and keeps you away from junk calories. Adding vegetables, beans and nuts to your diet in appropriate portions rescues you from hunger and an impulse trip to the vending machine.
- Drink more water. The only beverage your body needs is water. Skipping the sodas, fruit juices, flavored drinks, and miracle fad drink of the week is an easy way to eliminate unwanted processed ingredients, added sugar, and empty calories from your diet.
Nutrition information should be common sense, but heavy marketing campaigns, trends, and social media have overcomplicated the issue. Listen to your body, eat more real food, and skip anything that comes in a box, drive through, or vending machine, for a healthier diet.