Most nutrition advice you hear comes in 'buzzwords' and 'slogans'.
"Just eat whole foods'
"Eat more fat and fewer carbs"
"If it doesn't run, fly or swim, or isn't a green veg, then don't eat it"
It is easy to simplify healthy eating into sound bytes, but they don't actually help people to eat better and get the results they want.
So here are three sound pieces of nutritional advice that will stand the test of time and out perform any here today, gone tomorrow diet plans.
Advice No.1: Identify And Remove Nutritional Deficiencies
Most people think they need a complete overhaul when they decide to change their eating. But a complete overhaul rarely addresses what's making most people eat poorly.
Often people struggle with how they look and feel because their physiology doesn't work they it should. This is often down to dietary deficiency, i.e not getting the right nutrients, in the right amounts.
Therefore dietary deficiencies are the first red flag somethings wrong. It has been found that in most peoples diet, 15 key nutrients are missing. The most common are:
This is a problem because when you are suffering from dietary deficiency, your physiology doesn't work properly and you feel not at your best.
When this occurs with any of my clients I advise them to eat more natural foods, as they are always higher in essential vitamins and minerals; take in more essential fats (omega 3); and drink more pure water, as this aids in nutrient transportation around the body.
Advice No.2: Adjust Food Amount And Food Type
Once you are implementing advice No.1, getting all the raw materials from essential nutrients, then you are start to look at how much food you are eating and what your food is made up of.
The amount of food you eat is not down to the amount of calories you consume, as knowing exactly how many calories you are consuming is virtually impossible. By learning how to listen to our own bodies and tuning into it's powerful hunger and appetite cues, the better chance you will have to control how much you eat.
The best tool you have when it comes to control how much you eat, is your eyes. For most people 1-2 palms of protein dense food, per meal, is enough to create a feeling of fullness, alongside 1-2 fists of vegetables or 1-2 cupped handfuls of carb dense foods, and 1-2 thumbs of fat dense foods.
When it comes to food, your body just needs the nutrients in the food. When it achieves that, then the brain is told to stop eating. Foods higher in nutrients are more likely to be low in calories anyway, with foods being low in nutrients, being higher in calories.
Advice No.3: Meal Frequency
So far we have looked at identifying and removing nutritional deficiencies and controlling how much we eat through consuming high nutrient foods. We now look at how often you should eat.
So should you eat three square meals a day, or should you eat smaller meals more often?
Well research is mixed on this subject. Some research says you should eat three good meals, where others state that you should eat 5-6 small meals every 2-3 hours. So who's right? Well, both of them.
It's down to what works for the individual. Some people getting better results and perform better when consuming three big meals, where the opposite works for someone else.
My advice is listen to your body and the hunger and appetite cues. As hunger and appetite cues are mainly down to the types of foods you eat (nutrient dense vs calorie dense), it is recommended you change what you are eating if you want to eat three meals a day, without going hungry, and the same for eating more often.
Work out what works best for you.
Chris, Your Health Coach