The nutrition debate is one that is likely to continue forever. If we went to three separate experts, we’d probably leave with three different opinions.
Our observations of current trends in nutrition leads us to believe that too many people are focusing on the details instead of looking at the bigger picture.
As more and more data become available, marketers are using it to convince us why we need their latest products. There’s now a whole host of nutritional products for almost every conceivable nutrient. In addition, vast networks of affiliate marketers are now trying to sell these products so that they can earn a commission from the sale; this has led to many ‘experts’ in nutrition, but they are in fact salespeople.
Below we are going to briefly share our thoughts on a couple of common nutrition questions we’ve recently seen.
Do calories matter, or should we only focus on quality?
In order to know where to start, we need to know what the goal is.
If a client tells us that their goal is to lose 20kg, we’d start the conversation with the number of calories being eaten, because calories determine body composition, in other words how lean or fat an individual is. Yes, there are other factors to consider, but in terms of weight loss, addressing calories is going to be the best place to begin, in our opinion.
If a client tells us that they want to live to be over 100 years old, never get sick, and feel great all the time, we’d start the conversation with the type of foods they should be eating. We would begin by focusing on quality.
If a client tells us that their goal is to run an ultra-marathon, we’d start the conversation with their macronutrient composition; how much carbs, protein and fat do they have in their diet. This approach determines their performance.
Quality determines health, quantity determines how lean somebody is, and macronutrients determine performance.
Should we track what we eat?
The answer to this question is the one that most of us despise, it depends!
If you’re the type of person that likes data and is analytical, then tracking is likely for you. If you’re the type of person that likes to do things by feel, then tracking probably isn’t the way to go.
‘Success’ cannot be replicated. If we were to replicate every workout of the fittest athletes; we still wouldn’t be as fit as them. Just because our role model tracks every meal that they eat doesn’t mean we should.
As fitness professionals, we encourage our clients to track what they eat because it’s very difficult to improve anything that isn’t measured, however, if a client tells us that they hate tracking, we would simply suggest an alternative such as taking a photo of every meal and sending it to us. Sure, the data won’t be as accurate, but that’s not the goal; the goal is to help our clients achieve their goals and eat a healthier diet.
Which approach do we think is best?
We believe in keeping it super simple. In the words of Greg Glassman, “Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.”
1. Eat meat that’s been ethically sourced, and fed the correct diet e.g. grass-fed beef or wild caught salmon
2. Eat a variety of vegetables, different colours, and preferably ones grown above ground as they usually have a lower level of starch
3. Nuts and seeds provide us with essential fats
4. Avoid sugar; read the label because sugar can be disguised under many different names such as Dextrose, Fructose, Galactose, Glucose, Lactose, Maltose, Sucrose, Crystalline fructose, Dextrin, Diastatic malt, Ethyl maltol, Florida crystals, Maltodextrin, Agave Nectar, Barley malt, Blackstrap molasses, Evaporated cane juice, High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), Treacle
5. Eat until satiety. Just because there’s still half a plate of food left doesn’t mean we should finish it. Wrap it up and have it for lunch the following day
The less ‘rules’ and restrictions we place on our diet, the more likely we are to stick to it. Let’s not put the cart before the horse, we must learn to crawl before we can walk.
Thank you for reading this post
We truly hope that you found this post valuable. If you have any questions or if you’d like to work with one of our experienced personal trainers, please feel free to contact us