Your 10 Basic Nutritional Questions Answered
Ok so while most people reading this will already know the basic do’s and dont’s of what they can or can’t consume when they are trying to get in shape I believe it is critical for long-term lifestyle change that you understand exactly why you are making these choices.You will find it much easier to stick to the basics if you know how and why they work.We as trainers often give people the guidelines to follow and make it sound simple but we forget that its simple to us because we understand why.At the end of the day if you want to be good and anything whether it be fitness, hairdressing, building, driving or whatever then you need to educate yourself on the basics and master them.Then and only then should you look to complicate things further.Below are the Top 10 Nutritional Questions answered that I come across and why they are important:
Whats the deal with Breakfast?
We know from the research that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. But what should you eat for breakfast?
- Breakfast should comprise about 15-20% of your calories for the day, which makes sense if you’re eating 5 to 6 times each day. Translation: a quick cup of coffee is not breakfast!
- Like all of your meals, breakfast should consist of real food as much as possible. Translation: adding a croissant to your cup of coffee does not make it a healthy breakfast either.
- Protein and Fats are optimal for breakfast.They will give you sustained energy, keep you feeling fuller longer(stop you snacking) and prime your body to be burning body fat for the day instead of burning off some shitty carbs you consumed ie. bread + cereal.
- Tip – Get rid of the excuses that you have no time or that you cant eat meat in the morning.It really comes down to how much you want it.There is no easy way around it.Surely getting up 20mins early is not that much of a sacrifice???
Fruit is it good or bad?
Consuming whole fruits will provide an abundance of essential vitamins and minerals that will improve your health.While there is sugar in fruits(fructose) it is not the same as the sugar in sweets and drinks(glucose).Fruits also contain fiber which helps the digestion of the fructose.The W.H.O guidlines for sugar intake is approx 50g per day for average person.You will NOT gain weight by including 1/2 pieces fruit in your diet.Is eating 5/6 pieces of fruit a day optimal if fatloss is your goal? No.
But lets put this into context :The RDA for sugar is 50g… 2 Bananas + 150g Strawberriess + 100g pineapple + Small apple = Approx 58g sugar while 1 bottle of coke = Approx 54g..Which do you think is worse for you and which do you think average person is more likely to over consume?
Is milk healthy?
Again if optimal body composition ie. fatloss is your goal then i would not recommend consuming large amounts of cows milk.It is high in calories, high in sugar, easy to over consume and a lot of people are intolerant to it without even knowing about it.Remember the actual function of cows milk is to turn a tiny baby calf into a large 500lb+ cow! Is that what you are trying to do?:).
How can I live without Bread?
The problems with bread are it is high in calories( 4 slices = 640 calories), highly processed, contains preservatives,contains gluten, poor carb source, leaves you feeling bloated.
Removing bread from your diet may be awkward for you as your so used to it and can’t see an alternative but trust me you will instantly feel the benefits.Just eat what was in the sandwich without the bread. Ie. meat and salad.Your calorie intake will be lower, you wont feel bloated you will probably increase your intake of fruit and veg (real food) to fill you up.
Also try making some healthy bread with natural ingredients like the 1 below as a treat on the weekends.
Surely Low fat means i will lose Fat?
Ok first of all let me just tell you that the Fats in food do not automatically get stored as body fat once you eat them! They are actually an energy source.But like carbs not all are good. There is major difference between the fats in whole foods such as nuts, avocados, coconuts and fish than processed crap like vegetable oil, cookies, cakes ect.When they remove fats from the fat free products you see in supermarket guess what they replace them with to make it taste better? SUGAR!
Fats are actually responsible for the construction of every single cell in your body including your brain which is made out of, you guessed it FAT. It is essential for a healthy human to consume fats in a balanced diet.Without them you will get sick very fast, your hormones will get screwed up. So my advice would be to try to have approx 25% of your diet coming from healthy fat sources.( fish, nuts, coconut oil, avocado,eggs,cheese and meat).
Is sugar the enemy?
The problem with sugar is that in this day and age it is massively overconsumed mainly due to all the processed foods that have added sugar to it in order to make it taste better and leave you wanting more.When your body is constantly overconsuming sugar this messes with your insulin production which overtime leads to fat storage,weight gain, heart disease and diabetes.One sugar we should all look to avoid is high fructose corn syrup this causes havoc with hormones in the body.
The RDA for sugar is approx 50g.Funny how it shows the %RDA for everything else except sugar on food labels??My guess is it’s because these massive food companies fought tooth and nail to prevent you knowing that you are overconsuming sugar whenever you eat their product.
Processed foods vs Real Food
The term food has changed dramatically over the last 100 years.Since the dawn of time people have survived eating what we call today organic, whole foods. Sadly, organic whole foods are considered almost a luxury today. Now all the hidden ingredients that make food more appealing to our taste buds are added to a large percentage of all heavily processed foods. The 3 main ingredients, fat, sugar, and salt, are known to excite our taste buds and make us want more. They build up an addictive cycle many people struggle with.
Whole foods contain vitamins, minerals, water, fatty acids, amino acids, carbohydrates, fiber and much more.We require the full spectrum nutrition for optimal functioning, which only whole foods can provide.Whether it be from fruit, whole grains, meat, fats.
Processed foods have their natural composition altered in some way.Most food processing also involves natural or artificial agents (salt, sugar, sodium or potassium benzoate, parabens, etc.) to preserve freshness and prevent spoiling.Solid fats and added sugars are known to excite our taste buds, however they provide nothing but empty calories (e.g. pizzas, conventional pastry and breads, cakes and sugary drinks).Although convenient these heavily processed foods and drinks promote weight gain and obesity throughout the world and with that, increases our risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancers.
Is coffee really that bad?
In the short-term, caffeine can boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning, but after a while people become tolerant to the effects and it stops working.If you are dependent on it to wake up in the morning then that is a tell-tale sign that something is not right with your lifestyle.So if you are already drinking lots of it 3+ cups a day then cut back for a few weeks and reintroduce it pre workout.It gets your adrenalin going and will help mobilize fat tissue to be burned during the workout. However pumping your coffee full of cream, sugar, and other exotic additives reduces any potential health benefits by adding unnecessary calories and artificial flavours and sweeteners.
Surely if im good all week i can have few drinks at the weekend?
If you were to be eating a good healthy whole food diet for 90% of the week then on a Saturday evening having 2/3 glasses of wine or Spirits then in the grand scheme of things this will not have a detrimental effect on your progress however the problem with most people is restricting it to just that.Example having a really good Monday to Friday then justifying the fry-up on Sat morning followed by the bag of Doritos and pizza with the wine for xfactor then waking up on Sunday hung over with no motivation to cook or eat saying to yourself feck it “back on it now from Monday”.This is a cycle that will simply undo all of the previous weeks work and leave you back where you started.So no it’s not the 2/3 glasses of wine on a Saturday it’s the combination of everything that stops people’s progress.
What Supplements should I use?
First off supplements are not the magic pills and powders that are stopping you from been ripped.They are simple designed to supplement a good diet and assist with recovery.So unless your diet is already really good and full of the nutrients you need then spending money on supplements such as fatburners,protein powders,creatine, pre workouts, bcaa’s is just a waste.Focus on your diet and lifestyle as that’s more than likely were the issue lies.Supplements like the above maybe offer an extra 5%.
If i was to recommend Supplements to anyone they would include a good quality Multi-vitiman, Omega 3 Fish Oils, Zma,s, Vitiman D.All of which are usually deficient in most people in the western world and will aid recovery which is what it’s all comes down to because you can only train as hard as you can recover.