Now more than ever, people are waking up to the fact that incorporating proper nutrition into your life can have incredible benefits. There are still plenty that simply don’t worry about not eating fruits or vegetables, but people need to understand how crucial having a balanced diet (that can still contain some of your favorite foods) actually is.
Whether you are new to eating healthy or consider yourself a veteran, it always helps to have a refresher on some simple tips to stay on a healthier trend. With over 700,000 deaths per year linked to poor nutrition just in the U.S. alone, having a good understanding of these 10 proven nutrition will help get you on the right track.
What Do We Know About Nutrition?
Although nutrition info seems to always be changing, there are still some founding principles that will always remain constant. A well balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, unprocessed proteins, carbs and fats will help ensure that your body is getting all of the proper macro and micro nutrients it needs to survive and thrive.
In a surprising statistic, diet related diseases are responsible for killing more people each year than cigarettes! Fortunately, there has been much more awareness around proper nutrition and people are more inclined to get well sourced foods that tend to be more natural and organic.
As a general rule of thumb, change up your foods at least every 2-3 days. Too much of anything might not be a good thing, even if it’s deemed a “good” food. Switch up your proteins, carbs and fats, and be sure to go for quality. Bratwursts are amazing, but try not to have them 3 days a week. Switching up your sources will help provide the nourishment needed to maintain a healthy quality of life.
Why Are Nutrition Facts Important?
It is important to be updated on the latest nutrition facts and science because it can be such a maze. And for people who do not work in the industry who need a little guidance, it needs to be as simple as possible. That is why reading articles like this one to help break things down into their most basic and fundamental form is going to aid in improving your diet.
Nutrition is always changing, which doesn’t help make things any easier. As mentioned before, however, there are always going to be staples that will be consistently the same. Knowing where to start is half the battle with most health and fitness journeys, making these 10 nutrition facts some of the most crucial to adhere to. Start with 1 or 2 at a time so you don’t drive yourself crazy. Everything is a process, so take small steps and reach one attainable goal at a time.
10 Nutrition Facts That Stand Out Among All The Rest
If we were to try and go through every piece of advice that most people could really use, we would be here for days. Although there is a lot of good information out there, this list of 10 has the most manageable of tasks and maybe even busts a few myths that get too much traction the internet.
Eat Whole, Unprocessed Foods
Probably one of the most common pieces of advice out there is to eat quality, whole foods that have little to no processing. For example, try to cook with things like ground meats, chicken thighs and breasts, rice, and potatoes. These will have more nutritional value than using stuff like breads and pastas.
Processed foods were originally created for the sake of convenience when there’d be both parents working with kids at home that needed something to eat. It definitely had its place, but the unfortunate reality is that a lot of these processed foods has aided in the obesity epidemic, as well as been proven to reduce energy in people by 50% as opposed to those who ate a whole foods meal.
Processed foods were designed to be palatable, so it makes it harder to get off of them and onto more whole foods. A good starting point would be to swap out one part of each meal at a time to something that is “whole foods” and ease into the new lifestyle changes.
Consume Less Added and Refined Sugars
I get it, the sweet tooth cravings can be relentless at times. A little bit here and there is fine, but when you’re constantly piling on the added sugar throughout your days, that’s where your health can start to get into trouble down the line.
Now, we’re not talking sugar from fruits and things like that. We’re talking about stuff such as candy, sauces, yogurts and bars that seem to just be loaded with extra sugar to make sure it’s not too bland. Too much added sugar has been proven to raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation. It has also been shown to increase the risks of cognitive decline and some cancers.
Although it makes things taste great, it’s important to pick and choose your battles when it comes to sugar.
Avoid Certain Vegetable Oils
It can be easy to neglect cooking oils, but those matter just as much because they are also going in our bodies. The calories from them still count, and the health effects of them do as well.
Certain cooking oils such as sunflower, corn and soybean are higher in omega-6 fatty acids and have been known to drive inflammation resulting in higher oxidative stress within our bodies. This can ultimately lead to heart disease in some cases.
Carbs and Fats are Not the Enemy
Whether we got it from Austin Powers or an internet fad, carbs and fats are not the reason you might be gaining weight. Eating too many overall calories could be the easy culprit.
We got this notion that eating too many carbs or too much fat will make you fat. Well, if you eat a lot more than you burn, any calories will do that. Eating fat is essential for your body, and although it is one of the more satiating of the macros, you should eat fat from quality sources daily.
With carbohydrates, yes they can get stored as fat, but only if you are not expending that energy. Carbs are most peoples’ primary source of fuel, so cutting that off completely might not be the best idea. Carbs can help increase performance and energy, but can also be used to bring down stress and cortisol levels.
Eating Meat Isn’t Bad for You
There have been myths that float around saying that meat can damage your insides. Now, it also matters about what is being eaten with the meat. Is it a burger and fries or is it a beautiful grass-fed steak? Big difference between the two. Meat proteins contain a lot of vitamins and nutrients that the body needs, so unless you have a bad reaction or deal with meat then it should be added to your diet.
It’s OK to Eat Egg Yolks
Another notion that isn’t true is that egg yolks aren’t good for you. The yolk is the best tasting and has most of the benefits for your body. Egg yolks are jam packed with vitamins, antioxidants and good omega-3 fatty acids. Do your taste buds and your body a favor and keep the yolk.
Try to Avoid Artificial Flavoring and Sweeteners
One of the oldest and most controversial debates within the nutrition community, and looks like it’ll be a pretty lengthy stalemate.
The main gist is that there are a lot of mixed reviews, trials and opinions for most to say that they are definitively good or bad for you. There have been studies that show consistent ingestion of artificial sweeteners can cause certain disease and cancer risks. Studies on mice have also shown artificial sweeteners to cause glucose intolerances which led to alterations in their gut microbiome.
On the other hand, we have still seen inconsistent results on how safe sweeteners are or are not. A fair amount of trials showed people with health issues using them extensively in their diet that had complications with other things, not directly from the sweeteners.
Since this data still favors both outcomes, it’s best to limit how many “artificial” things you are putting in your body. I’m not saying a diet coke here and there is going to kill you, but regular consumption of such processed materials may pose problems down the road.
Not Every “Superfood” is Healthy for Everyone
It’s funny when people use the term “superfood” to refer to something like an avocado. There are foods with varying qualities and makeups, and everything has its time and place. The reality is that these foods are not good for anyone and everyone. Some people are allergic to avocados or get bloated off bananas. There are foods that nourish our bodies, but not everybody’s the same.
Not Everyone Needs to Drink a Gallon of Water Per Day
This definitely came from social media “influencers” emphasizing the importance of drinking a gallon of water per day. Everyone has their own shape, size and activity level so not everyone is going to drink the same amount.
A good way to find out how much water you should drink is to take your body weight and divide it by 2. Then add 15. That is the total number of ounces you should “ideally” drink in a day. This number includes 1 hour of exercise, but if your lifestyle is much more active, then drink more fluids.
The Best Diet is the One That You Will Stick to
Everyone wants to know what the best diet is. The best diet is the one you will adhere to and stay consistent with. It won’t always be easy, but it should be realistic, attainable and enjoyable. Stay consistent with healthy habits and you will live a healthy life.
Getting a hold of your nutrition can be a little scary and intimidating at times. Not to mention frustrating! If you’re new, it might be worth hiring a nutrition coach. If you think you’re knowledgeable enough to get by for a while and try some things out, just never lose sight of the basics!