The field of nutrition is notorious for having conflicting ideas, opinions, and science. This has resulted in confusion about what to eat, how much to eat and when to eat it, in order to be healthy.
Food for your body
All foods are not born equal when it comes to your health. A popular school of thought is that as long as your energy intake (what you eat) is lower than your energy expenditure (how much you use), you can eat whatever you like and not have to worry about your weight loss. However, calorie counting often leads to overly restrictive diets that make the dieter miserable and fail in the long run.
Human physiology is far more complicated than “burn off what you eat”. What’s more important is sustainable changes to your diet that focus on health. One needs a mindset of eating better rather than eating less.
A balanced approach to healthier nutrition
Food is more than this. Healthy whole foods are more voluminous per calorie compared to processed food, this means you will feel full for longer. They are also more nutrient dense, to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need to feel your best.
Fitness apps that track your food intake and nutrients such as MyFitnessPal can have their uses. They help make people aware of the nutrients in foods. For example, some ‘healthy’ foods. may surprise you in how much sugar is in them.
This knowledge and understanding makes it easier for people to make informed decisions on what to eat. However, use of these apps can be negative, particularly for your mental health and relationship with food if you become too fixated on the numbers.
Simple tips to improve your diet
- Eating whole or minimally processed foods as the main part of your diet. Things such as whole grains, fruit, veg, meat, fish and legumes such as lentils.
- Get enough protein and fibre in your meals. Both of these nutrients will help you feel full for longer and need to snack less. Protein is also very important for recovery and muscle growth.
- Keep your sugar intake low. Public Health England recommend adults have no more than 30g of added sugars in your diet per day.
- Check your other lifestyle factors. Are you getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, overly stressed? People with disrupted sleep routines are more likely to be overweight and suffer from metabolic diseases. Have a read of our blog on 5 ways you can improve your sleep.
- Enjoy your treats! Most of your diet should be whole foods. There’s nothing wrong with a small part of your diet being ‘unhealthy’. An overly strict approach to your diet won’t be healthy, enjoyable, or sustainable.
All of this results in a less hungry, healthier, more energetic you. This means you are far more likely to stick to your “diet” and achieve long term sustainable changes to your weight and health. You create a healthy relationship with food, where you can enjoy your food rather than feel guilty about it.