How To Eat For Good Health: Diet vs Nutrition
Eating for good health is not about calories but nutrition. When most people think of the word diet they often associate it with weight loss and calories. However, weight loss diets focus on calories in and not what those calories actually consist of, so long as you stay below a certain number of calories you can supposedly eat whatever you want and you will hit your “healthy” weight.
The word diet needs to become synonymous with the word nutrition and optimal nutrient intake needs to be its focus.
If you are eating a diet devoid in nutrients, even if you were eating 5000 calories a day, you would still be starving – literally so. The modern diet is so chocked full of empty calories that people are actually eating more yet are actually malnourished.
If your body is lacking the right amounts of protein and fats that it requires to function and is low in vitamins, minerals and trace elements you will constantly be signalled to eat more.
Eating foods that are low in nutritional value and high in carbohydrates (sugars) leads to spikes in the sugar levels in your blood. The body then signals the pancreas to release insulin to bring the sugar levels back down. The sugar levels drop and you feel flat and reach for more sugar leading to another massive outpouring of insulin and a recipe for ill health and increased risk for diabetes.
Insulin is a storage hormone which means it tells your body to grab that sugar and turn it into guessing what – fat!
Interestingly protein is made up of smaller parts called amino acids – there are 20 amino acids that your body requires from your diet, 10 of which are called essential amino acids. That means you have to eat them and obtain them from your diet as your body cannot produce them for itself. This is also true for certain types of fats called essential fatty acids or EFAs. These are specifically omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids.
Failure to obtain enough of even 1 of the 10 essential amino acids, results in the breakdown of the body’s proteins, from muscle, so it can get the one amino acid that it needs. Unlike fat and carbohydrates, the human body does not store excess amino acids for later use, so amino acids must be provided in the foods you eat every day.
Fascinatingly and tellingly so there are no, I will repeat that, no essential carbohydrates, which reveals that you actually do not require sugars to survive.
Carbohydrates in our modern diet come mainly in the form of processed and refined sugars, flour, rice, pasta, bread etc. Whereas in the past the main source came from vegetables. If you want to eat for good health then skip the processed stuff and go back to nature.
The modern carbohydrates are quick release sugars which spike blood sugar and insulin levels. Carbohydrates from vegetables and some fruits are slower release so do not trigger the insulin troops to rally themselves for action. Vegetables and fruits are also packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytochemicals when they are grown in good quality soils, so provide you with much more than a slice of bread ever could.
Eating a modern high carbohydrate low-fat diet starves the body of nutrients, spikes insulin and blood sugars so you swing from highs to lows and one food craving to another.
The key to obtaining more sustaining nutrition is to eat quality protein and a small amount of quality fat with every meal and get your carbohydrates from vegetables. This evens out the blood sugar levels across the day and will improve your mood and energy levels without the highs followed by the crash and burn. And more importantly, will supply you with the nutrients your body requires for health and optimal nutrition.
Eating a carbohydrate-rich diet will ultimately increase inflammation, hamper gut function, increase your risk for diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, gum disease and a myriad of other health conditions.
You do not need to be overweight to be unhealthy, but that is how society has become conditioned to think and perceive what a healthy body is.
Skinny people can be malnourished, low in nutrients, have inflammation, be acidic and full of toxins too. So don’t be fooled into to thinking that because your weight is in the ideal range that you are actually in good health.
Good health and great nutrition are linked. Your body can not work to its best potential if you feed it the wrong fuel. When it comes to a measure of health your weight is not a good yardstick.
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