How is it that some people can have a few bites of cheese with their salad and find themselves constipated for a few days, yet other people can eat a whole wheel of Camembert without any digestive issues at all…?
Well when it comes to our diets and nutrition, they interplay with the gut, there is still some much that we don’t know.
This is why it is a problem when you have ‘all or none’ nutrition advice from people that think they know exactly what every body needs.
“Paleo is the best way to lose weight!”
“It’s 2018, keto is THE WAY”
“I stopped eating meat and have never felt better, plants and weight is all it takes! ”
“Coffee is good for you.”
“Coffee is a carcinogen.”
“It’s all about anti-oxidants and kale. You can’t eat too much kale.”
“Humans don’t digest raw foods very well, so I’m off all uncooked foods.”
Hopefully you get the point…A lot of people thinks they have it figured out when it comes to diet and can really push their agenda but the truth is even the experts can’t seem to agree on much.
To add another level of confusion to this it seems that their advice keeps changing!
There are dieticians and nutritionists out there who promote high fat, low carb diets, while others prefer a low fat, high carb approach.
The supposed experts can’t even agree on even how many macro nutrients (carboyhydrates, protein, fats) we should be eating.
That being said, if there’s one source of quality nutritional information I trust then it’s Precision Nutrition.
They advocate being ‘nutritional agnostics’ and are open to anything and everything that may work.
Nutrition isn’t a one-size fits all thing. That’s how PN teach their nutrition and thats how we teach our nutrition.
Here’s 5 THINGS that the most effective nutrition plans have in common.
1. They raise nutrition awareness and attention.
Whatever the message or plan being promoted there will usually be some information about what to eat more of, what to eat less of and even some discussion about proteins, carbs, and fats.
Awareness always proceeds action so this is a good thing!
When starting out it doesn’t really matter if your attention is then on avoiding carbs, eating more vegetables, seeking out organic or free-range food, avoiding animal foods or avoiding “non-Paleo” food.
That increased awareness and attention will start the process for change.
2. They focus on food quality.
Very few people recommend you eat more processed, ‘junk’ food. It does have a place in a balanced diet but should’t be the foundation!
Paleo or low carb advocates will have you eating more natural, animal-based foods that are higher in protein, higher in fat and are less processed.
Vegan and high carb advocates want you to eat more natural, plant-based foods that are higher in fibre, antioxidants, and are less processed.
See some common themes here?
Both approaches recommend eating whole, minimally processed, nutrient-rich foods.
This right here, a focus on food quality, may be one of the most important nutrition interventions of all, regardless of the protein, carb and fat breakdowns.
3. They help eliminate nutrient deficiencies.
When eating a diet made up mostly of high quality foods the amount of nutrients you’ll be getting will be a lot higher than when you’re eating more low quality, processed foods.
This can help address a number of nutrient deficiencies which can have a major (positive) impact on how you look, feel and perform.
Sometimes this transformation in energy can have us strongly advocating the nutrition changes we’ve made as being gospel!
4. They help control appetite and food intake.
Increased awareness and eating more high quality foods quite often means we end up eating less food in total.
It’s hard to over eat a lot of whole foods.
Much harder than when you’re eating sugar, salt and fat laden processed foods that are designed to be hyper palatable!
This is why seating with improved food quality can be such a simple win for people. There are a lot of benefits without too much overwhelm that may occur when trying to track calories or macros.
The most success we’ve had with clients is when they loosely track their intake by measuring with their palm, fist and thumb. It’s not super precise but it’s accurate enough and means it can be maintained for a lot longer (as will your results).
5. They promote regular exercise.
A lot of the time, a refocus on nutrition goes hand in hand with an exercise program.
Most diet camps also promote regular exercise.
A diet won’t include exercise because it’s a nutrition plan by definition, but any health or wellness plan definitely does include regular exercise.
There’s a lot of benefits for exercising, most of which go way beyond weight management, but quite often we see that when done regularly it also motivates better eating.
This creates a nice loop of feeling better from eating better and exercising which gives more energy and motivation to keep exercising and eating well.
So whilst on the surface there may seem to be a lot of opposition or conflict with a number of well designed nutritional strategies, there are a lot of similarities that can all promote better health, improved body composition and longevity.