BESTFIT Issue 14 – Nutrition
Drinking Fruit Juice
You could well think you’re being healthy, but be aware that some of the brands are boosted with sugars and man-made chemicals that are unnecessary and which can seriously affect your health. Even if you select a brand that says 100% pure fruit juice, it can contain the same amount of sugar as a glass of Coke or Pepsi. On top of that, you are consuming the fruit without the fibre. The best bits of the fruit have essentially been left out of the product, leaving you with the rapidly digestible sugar.
Not Reading Food Labels
Be honest, how many of you actually take the time to read the product labels? Do you actually just look at the front of the packet and assume that the product is as it appears? They can be extremely misleading. For example, if it has added omega 3’s it neither makes the product healthy, nor does it make up for the high quantity of sugar contained.
Not Focusing On Real or Unprocessed Foods
We have become a modern world of pre-made and processed foods. This assists with our world of fast moving and convenience, but food in its original form hasn’t had nutrients interfered with or removed. If you can include as many in your diet as possible your intake of micronutrients will inevitably be a more complete profile.
Not Eating Enough Protein
This is one of the biggest mistakes I come across with my nutrition patients. Health authorities advocate a relatively low amount of protein, setting the target at 56g per day for men and 46g for women. Be aware, this is the minimal requirement for your intake to prevent a nutritional deficiency; this is not the optimal amount for good health. If you can increase your protein you could enhance your fat-burning capacity, reduce your appetite as it has a high satiety effect, and you could improve your muscle mass and overall health.
Being Afraid To Eat Fat
In the 1960’s and 70’s scientists led us to believe that fat made us fat and caused heart disease, which then lead to the low-fat, high-carb idea most Americans were encouraged to take up. By 1977, it was common knowledge that fat was a bad thing and should be avoided. There have been multiple studies since then that have shown this system doesn’t work, that it doesn’t cause heart disease, that it doesn’t cause cancer and neither does its removal from your diet assist with weight loss. You should endeavour to cut out man-made fats and remember it is not necessary to avoid eggs, meats and coconut oils, which are natural fats
Believing That Calories Are All That Matters For Health Or Weight Loss
It is a common miss conception that counting calories is sufficient when attempting to lose weight. Yes, a simple formula of calories in versus calories out is okay in theory, but different foods and macronutrients go through different metabolic pathways and can affect hunger and hormones in different ways. Granted, counting calories or portion controlling is a system that can and does work for some people however, for a large number, this system fails. For a general rule of thumb, try reducing sugar and processed carbs and increasing your protein.
Not Eating Enough
This is always difficult for patients to understand. When you have to try to explain to them that the reason they aren’t losing weight is that they aren’t eating enough, they can really struggle with this concept. It goes back to the simple formula – Kcal in vs Kcal out. If you eat less you lose weight right? Well yes, but not if you starve yourself, certainly not a healthy weight loss anyway, it really isn’t the answer. A secure foundation for long-term weight loss is to build muscle. Use a calorie counter to work out the amount you should be consuming daily to cover your minimum needs. A good guide to follow is to split this amount into 30% calories from fats, 40% calories from carbs and 30% calories from protein. If you are having coaching, or you are in training for something, these amounts may vary, so please stick to what you have been advised.
Cutting Out Carbs Completely
It is true many people should probably be cutting back on the quantity of carbs consumed, especially if that source is a hand-cut, triple-cooked chip. Going carb free, however, has several consequences, including a lack of fuel before or after your workouts. More worryingly, I am seeing more and more people in my clinic that are carb-free, but who have stomach problems, and then hit a plateau with their training, changing their shape or weight loss. The stomach issues are becoming increasingly apparent with what appears to be a rise of amateurs competing in fitness shows or having a desire to ‘hit the stage’ without taking good advice on training and diet. Please seek the advice of a professional before undertaking anything more extreme, but try to reduce white processed carbs or alcohol varieties and if you can, aim to eat your carbs around your exercise programme.
Picking Brown Eggs Instead Of White
How many times do you open the egg box and see the white eggs inside, put the box down and take home the box of brown eggs? Is this because we believe that the brown eggs must be better for us? Like with white and brown bread, or white and brown rice? The truth is, that there is no difference in the proportions of white and yolk between the two. Neither is there any significant difference in the nutritional values. The sole differences are that they’re from a different breed and cost different amounts, with the brown eggs being up to 25% extra in cost.
Using Your Favourite Enhanced Peanut Butter As Your Omega Source
I know plenty of nut butter addicts. I am partial to a good nut butter myself, but if you are relying on this as your source of nutrients you are probably not consuming a sufficient amount in your diet. Enhanced and fortified foods can be brilliant and very useful, but they can also be enthusiastically marketed, too. One cup of fortified peanut butter is equal to the amount of omega in a single serving of salmon. That is 1520 kcals vs 200 Kcals. In short, don’t rely on this as your source, use a good quality nut butter (some cheap varieties are in fact depressingly lacking in good macro profiles) and ensure you still have a balanced diet with plenty of variety.