Posted at 21:47h
“I eat pretty healthy."
Many of my clients are already pretty health-conscious when they find me. This is the response given when asked about their diets during our initial meetings. I have seen it worn with pride, despite glaring indications to the contrary.
My clients come to me seeking a path towards less body fat, more muscle, more energy, improved health, and to just feel better. If their nutrition is so “healthy,” why is it they complain of such unhealthy problems?
Could their nutrition actually be that good, but they’re just not getting the results they’re after?
As Dr. John Berardi likes to say, sure it’s possible but it isn’t likely.
Their “healthy eating” is based on loose and variable definitions. Without a stable framework, how will you ever know if your nutrition habits are on the right track?
What does "eating healthy" even mean?
Is it eating low-fat? Low-carb? Low-calorie?
Is it the absence of junk foods, or is it the prevalence of nutrient-dense foods?
Is it eating local organic? Vegan, vegetarian, lacto-ovo-pescatarian?
Is it The Mediterranean Diet or The Zone Diet?
Rest assured. One by one, the next five articles will answer the question, “what is good nutrition?”
Enough questions. Let's get to some answers.
Principles of Good Nutrition
#1. Good nutrition controls energy balance.
What is energy?
You might be familiar with the common practice of calorie counting.
Calories are a unit of energy that food provides us to perform countless chemical reactions inside our bodies. We absorb calories from the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the food we eat.
Most of our daily calories come from food, but we also keep a stock of this energy source in our own body tissues, particularly body fat. As a protective mechanism, this stored energy is reserved for times of need (like starvation). For this reason stored calories are used secondarily to incoming calories from food. Special situations...