One of the keys to a healthy life is food. Food is extremely important whether you are trying to lose weight, trying to train for a marathon, or just have energy to do things. One of the biggest questions we get asked is “what should I eat or is _______ a good diet to follow.”
Most diets have something that’s beneficial regardless if it is Jenny Craig, Atkins, Paleo, or Ketogenic diet. The thing that all these diets have in common is portion control and nutrients.
There are common misconceptions with diets or eating habits. There is the big issue of counting calories and macro nutrients which are fats, proteins, and carbs. Regardless of your goals there are some good guidelines to follow. If you exercise and burn more calories than you intake then you will lose weight. The goal is to do this in a healthy way and not hurt your body in the process.
A calorie is just a unit to measure energy and does not measure quality. If we just look at the numbers a can of coke would be about 140 calories but to reach that same amount of calories of cooked asparagus would be just shy of 1 pound. To make this a little more dramatic to put it in reference, based off of the 2,000 calorie diet you would need to drink roughly 14 cans of coke or about 5 liters to reach the 2,000 calorie mark. But, if you eat cooked asparagus you would need about 10-11 pounds of it to reach your mark! You get the same amount of calories but a calorie doesn’t include all the other benefits of vitamins, minerals, and macro nutrients.
We know that quality of food absolutely makes a difference but also the ingredients to make the food. Some people may think that if I eat things that have fat or sugar then I will get fat, this is not true. Our bodies need fats and sugars in order to function optimally. When we get foods that are zero calories, sugar free, or reduced/fat free usually means it has been changed or altered to make it fat free or sugar free. Usually these “diet options” have additives in place of normal sugar or other ingredients that make it zero calories or whatever the goal is. These are used because they are usually much sweeter than regular sugar. One in particular, sucralose (aka Splenda), was originally intended to be a pesticide until it was found to be over 500 times sweeter.
This just skims the surface of nutritional information out there. Regardless if your goal is to maintain, get better, lose weight, or train for an event, so one of the best thing is to have your eating and training evaluated so you can be the best and what you want.