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Nutrition Myth Busters

Everything You Think You Know About Healthy Eating is Wrong and it’s Making You Fat and Tired

Well that may be a little dramatic. But it got your attention right?

Nutrition and diet info is everywhere. New diet trends, the latest super foods, cleanses, high fat, low carb.  Where do you begin? To make things worse, the food marketers have become brilliant at confusing us as to what is healthy and what is not.

I’m going to help create some clarity among all the chaos. Debunking a few Nutrition myths and helping you make more informed decisions for your health.

You may  have heard (and maybe lived through) the intense focus on how much you eat. Counting calories, strictly depriving yourself to not exceed the calculated totals.   This has gotten way too much attention because while this does affect your weight and energy level, it’s certainly not the “holy grail” of health.

Let’s focus a bit more on the often overlooked, and proven,  benefits of what you eat and drink and how you eat and drink it.

 

What you eat and drink

The “calories in, calories out” philosophy is being drowned out with research on other factors that may be just as important.  Don’t get me wrong limiting calories, carbs or fat can certainly help you lose weight but that’s simply not the only factor for long-term weight loss and maximum health.

There are numerous programs out there that focus solely on calories in vs calories out.  If It Fits your Macros, Weight Watchers, just to name a few.  Unfortunately, these programs do not place emphasis on the quality of foods for their weight loss plans. With these plans, theoretically speaking, you could be eating a burger and fries with a shake on the side and it would still fit into your plan as long as the total calories do not exceed your calculated calorie intake. These approaches towards weight loss have been shown to be unsuccessful long term.  The strategy of limiting your intake to lose weight will leave you feeling deprived and ultimately rebound into weight gain once again. You are not learning a new way of eating and old habits creep back in.   Also, by not focusing on the quality of foods, you may be taking in nutrient void, processed products that can wreak havoc on your hormones.  A zero-calorie diet soda, for example,  in my opinion has no place in a healthy diet.  Yes, there may not be a caloric impact but a can full of chemicals can distort your hormones, gut flora, contribute to cravings, and anxiety.

You can certainly still continue to count your calories, carbs, and fat but don’t forget to also pay attention to what you eat.

Ideally, you need a varied diet full of minimally-processed foods.  This simple concept is paramount for weight loss, energy, and overall health and wellness.

Every day this is what you should aim for:

  • A colorful array of fruits and veggies at almost every meal and snack. You need the fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Enough protein. Making sure you get all of those essential amino acids (bonus: eating protein can increase your metabolism).
  • Healthy fats and oils (never “hydrogenated” ones). Some fatty acids are called “essential” which means you need them as building blocks for your hormones and brain and to be able to absorb essential fat-soluble vitamins from your uber-healthy salads.  Use extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, eat your organic egg yolks,avocado,  and get grass-fed meats when possible.  Don’t overdo it here. Still be mindful of portions.  But make sure you’re getting some high-quality fats.

How you eat and drink

How you eat has more of an impact than you may think.

Are you rushed, not properly chewing your food, and possibly suffering from gastrointestinal issues? Do you drink your food?

When it comes to how you eat let’s first look at “mindful eating”.

Mindful eating means to eat without distraction.  No phones, no tv, not while driving or rushed. Take smaller bites, eat slowly, chew thoroughly, and savor your meal.  Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture.  Breathe.

This may sound meaningless, but from a digestion perspective it is very important. Thoroughly chewed food is easier to digest allowing the body to absorb all of those essential nutrients. We possess enzymes in our saliva, amylase, that help to breakdown carbohydrates. When food is broken down in our mouths from chewing it becomes saturated with these enzymes to further the breakdown. If you are a fast eater, you are limiting your ability to properly breakdown food particles.  The food particles then travel into the stomach and can cause bloating and discomfort. A slower meal time will also trigger the body to start to secrete other necessary enzymes for digestion.

Mindful eating is also effective with weight loss. Being more aware of each bit often leads to eating less. It also takes 20 minutes for your brain to receive the signal that your stomach is full

 

Drinking your Meals?

Smoothies can be healthy and tasty way to get in fast nutrition. Toss leafy greens, some fruit, and whatever else your heart may desire, blend it up and your good to go! However, drinking too much food can contribute to a weight issues and feelings of sluggishness.  Adding high sugar fruits, too much dairy, or fat and extra sweeteners will work against you not for you.  Too often when making smoothies they become too caloric dense with high amounts of sugar and you are left questioning why the scale won’t budge.  Just because you can slurp it down easily, doesn’t mean it’s a snack.  Consider a smoothie a meal. Great for a breakfast to start the day or as a post workout meal. CLICK HERE for my signature Green Detox Smoothie.

 

Smoothies vs Juicing

Have you heard of the latest juice fast? Seen the infomercial for the super high-powered juicer? Juicing has become another dieting trend.  But is it right for you? When you are juicing your fruits and vegetables you are taking all of the fiber out.  What’s left is a concentrated liquid that is full of nutrients and natural sugars.  Sounds great right? How could that be bad for you?  Its not.  But will it support your goals?  By taking out the fiber, the juices get straight into your blood stream.  This is perfect for people who have compromised digestion and do not have the capabilities to break down fiber rich foods on their own.  However, for most people juicing is not necessary.  Keeping the fiber in your juices can be beneficial.  A slower release not the blood stream will reduce the insulin secretions into the blood.  This is another helpful tip for those looking to lose weight.  Lower blood sugar surges, less insulin, reduced cravings, lower weight. Fiber is our friend.  Why not get the best of both worlds with a balanced smoothie? Nutrients and fiber all in one.

 

What About Drinking with your meals?

Need something to wash it down? You may wan to think twice before reaching for you glass during mealtime.  Taking in too much liquids at mealtime can dilute your digestive juices.  This may impair your digestive processes and cause bloating and indigestion. If you absolutely need to drink something, take small sips.  And of course, water is best.

 

What Diet Plan is Best?

As a nutritionist, this is a question that I am asked regularly. Keto, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Vegan, Paleo.  There are many strategies developed to keep people gain control of their food, and their weight.  The answer is simple.  Whichever one works for you, that is sustainable and nutrient dense.  I don’t believe there is one best way for everyone. I come form a family of heavy meat eaters.  When I ate that way, I did not feel well. My digestion was off, and my clothes were tight. Keto and Paleo do not work for me, but I have witnesses it work well for others.  Low carb? Sure, that can help with weight loss.  But will you really go the rest of your life without fruit? Are you ensuring your nutrient requirements are being met? If so, great. Go for it. There is no real right or wrong answer to this question.  Every body and lifestyle is different and a diet plan should suit both to be sustainable.  I encourage people to choose a plan that you know you can stick with.  A plan that does not leave you feeling deprived or overwhelmed with complicated instructions. Rebounding on and off different diets is more harmful to our health and metabolism.  Take your time when looking into different plans or work with a Registered Nutritionist to develop a plan that is best for you. Not sure where to start? CLICK HERE to book a free consultation call.

Summary:

Consider not only how much you eat but also what and how you eat it.

Slow down at meals.  Chew your food completely.

Minimize liquids at mealtime.

Treat smoothies as a meal. Load them with fruit, veg, good fat and fiber.

Choose way of eating that makes you feel well, ensuring that it is nutrient dense and sustainable.

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