January 11, 2019
It might make sense to skip meals, however research suggests that when we restrict ourselves, we’re more likely to end up bingeing. This can creates a vicious cycle and may encourage an unhealthy relationship with food. Eating little and often is a great way to keep your metabolism constantly working, feeling fuller all day long. Meal prepping is key to ensure you’re eating balanced meals.
The brain has the highest concentration of fats (lipids) after adipose tissue – possibly the best reason why our cognitive health relies on a healthy fat consumption (including enough healthy fats in your diet is essential for optimising your memory, concentration and mood). Some vitamins rely on fat for absorption too, like vitamins A D E & K, which are all fat-soluble, meaning they can’t function without daily fat intake. Healthy fats such as avocado, whole eggs (great for protein also), fatty fish, nuts, extra virgin oil are great!
When you cut out a whole food group, you risk missing out on essential nutrients. For example, cutting out dairy may result in not enough calcium in your diet. We always need to be mindful that when you take something out of our diet, we may need to replace it with something else, in order to ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.
There are a number of reasons why people opt for a dairy-free diet (such as myself), these include digestive stress, inability to lose weight, acne and IBS and some may opt for a vegan lifestyle. Whatever the reason, it’s important that you are still getting the nutrients that are found in dairy products such as protein, vitamin D and minerals such as calcium and phosphorous. As diary protein is a complete protein (meaning the body does not produce this on it’s own) an alternative such as rice protein can be used. Non-dairy sources of calcium include leafy green and broccoli, chia sees, flaxseeds and quinoa are great great. Potassium can be found in sweet potatoes, beet greens and tomatoes. Mushrooms are a great source of Vitamin D and kale is great for Vitamin D.
Not only do carbs provide vital energy for our body, they fuel our brain too. Instead of cutting them out completely, think about the quality and the quantity in which you consume carbohydrates. If you're determined to lose weight, consider portion control and what healthy foods to put in your diet. Complex carbs like wholegrains are advised to consume as part of a healthy diet, as they contain a variety of nutrients and are high in fibre e.g. choose healthy carbohydrates such as sweet potato, quinoa and rice.
It’s claimed certain foods and drinks can boost your metabolism, including green tea, black coffee, spices and energy drinks. But the evidence behind these claims is weak – there are no miracle foods that ‘burns fat’. Body size, age, gender and genes all play key roles in the speed of your metabolism. Muscle cells require more energy to maintain than fat cells, so people with more muscle than fat tend to have a faster metabolism.
Remember that low fat or low calorie doesn’t equal healthy. Often foods labelled as ‘low fat’, such as yoghurts, contain less nutritional value than the full fats ones. Read the ingredients label carefully on foods. Snack bars posed as 'healthy' often contain hidden sugars and added sweeteners. I am sometimes shocked when I pick up a ‘heathy’ snack bar and see the breakdown of sugars and carbs! Know what you’re consuming and do not trust the fancy packaging.
This is such a misconception, particularly if you’re someone who leads a busy lifestyle – snacking could be hugely beneficial. Snacks keep your performance and concentration levels up in between meals, helping you avoid those awful hunger pangs. The key to healthy snacking is to think about what your body needs and what it hasn't had. If you haven't had enough protein, then snack on a boiled egg. If you're missing some greens, then grab a pot of edamame beans. Snacking is only bad when the choice of snack is a poor one such as a large chocolate block - a couple squares of dark chocolate is a snack - not an entire block of Cadbury fruit and nut (post comp binging is not included!)
Unless you ensuring you’re eating the correct foods and getting the right nutrition in, vegans can run a danger of being deficient in essential nutrients such as omega-3, B12, protein and much more. This is because animal products containing a lot of important micronutrients that are otherwise never consumed. Vegetarians may struggle to consume enough protein and could have a diet high in carbohydrates with a small variety of vegetables. If you’re thinking about going veggie or vegan, consult a registered nutritionist or dietician to ensure you do it in the healthiest way possible.
For some reason, gluten-free foods are perceived to be healthier. But the truth is, you should only be avoiding gluten if you have been diagnosed with coeliac disease or have a gluten intolerance. Cutting out gluten won’t make you lose any more weight and if you do opt for gluten free options (I always do as I find I don’t bloat) make sure you look at the sugar content as some products are astoundingly high which will immediately eliminate any chance of fat loss.
Few lies about health and wellness can be told in a single word, but ‘superfood’ manages it. The word is so powerful that people buy products simply because a superfood label has been slapped on it – but the idea that some foods are healthy, some unhealthy and some super healthy is misguided. The truth is that nutrition is amazingly complex and different for everybody. We know that if you eat a balanced diet and do regular exercise, you will benefit from it. And if you don’t, no superfood will save you. Foods that have been classed as ‘Superfoods’ are great and I use them all the time however a balanced diet with less energy in (food) than energy out (energy expenditure) will lead to weight loss.
Article assisted by Nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert
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