If you're like most people, When the New Year comes, have good intentions to make positive changes in your life. In fact, about 25% of us make resolutions in January, with the majority focusing on weight loss, exercise and nutrition.
The difficulty with nutrition-based goals is that there is a lot of confusion between what is good and what is not. Since 1992, the UK government has published dietary recommendations containing four main components: 1. Eat more fruit, vegetables and salad, 2. Reduce fat, 3. Eat more fibre, 4. Eat more starchy carbohydrates.
When researchers asked the public ten years later if they could name some of these recommendations, despite spending large sums of money on awareness campaigns, only 16% of the people interviewed could remember even 3 or 4 of these basic principles.
When reviewing the current dietary guidelines provided by the NHS some 30 years later (https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/Although there has been little shift in dietary guidelines, confusion remains. So what are the simple things that we need to understand without using any jargon?
Carbohydrates – Either complex or simple sugars which are commonly found in cultivated foods.
protein The body breaks them down into muscle-building amino acids, and they're usually found in foods that can be hunted and killed.
Fats – An essential storehouse of energy-rich fuel used by the body.
water – Essential fluid to moisturize the body.
So it all seems simple enough, right….? mistake. There is a lot of debate about how important carbohydrates are in our diet, and this is especially true given the fact that most people's carbohydrate intake consists of white pasta, white bread, rice and other types of simpler sugars. With this type of carbohydrate as a fuel source, our bodies will generally have a constant supply of glucose (sugar) on hand. Now, if you're participating in the Gobi Desert Ultra Race, this might be helpful, but if you sit most of the day reading emails and working at a desk, your constant need for sugar diminishes. The body must remove excess sugar from the bloodstream throughout the day if it is not needed, and once your body fills up the stores in your liver and muscle tissue (such as glycogen), it will store the rest as fat.
The next element to consider is fat. The 1992 guidelines gave the impression that fat is responsible for making you fat. More current research has found minimal evidence that fat in your diet increases weight. In fact, researchers hypothesize that eating fats, including avocados and oily fish, can help you lose weight. It's just a matter of eating these foods in moderation because fat is full of energy, also known as calories!
So simple takeaways from the day ensure you get a mix of essential nutrients. Fat does not necessarily cause obesity. Drink plenty of water. Try changing your carbohydrate intake to brown pasta, brown rice, and sweet potatoes. Finally, wait until at least one month to see if you… You get good results.
Author: Dr. Adam Greenfield, co-founder of WorkLifeWell | Chiropractor | Wellness specialist
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