Nutrition is a complicated subject. At least for me it is. The reason I find it complicated is because the information seems to be ever-changing. One day eggs are “bad” with all their artery-clogging cholesterol. The next day eggs are “good” with all their muscle-boosting protein. It gets confusing, and complicated, to try to eat right.
Add to that back-and-forth nonsense all the fad diets that encourage people to cut out entire food groups because they are “bad” (with research backing that claim up, no less)…now you have a serious dilemma when trying to eat healthy.
Of course there are a few areas in which every “expert” seems to agree…trans fats (hydrogenated oils) are bad, excess processed foods with added sugars are bad, and too many calories per day is bad. All across the board these are accepted to be true. I suppose those few commonalities are supposed to make us (consumers) feel better about eating. Well, those rare agreements between “experts” do not make me feel any better. Not one bit.
Another aspect of nutrition that makes it more complicated for the consumer is language. When manufacturers were required to label their products with nutrition information and ingredient lists, the language changed. Sugar was no longer just called “sugar” in most products. Instead “sugar” became corn syrup or lactose, which deceived consumers into purchasing something they maybe would not have if they knew it was added sugar.
The following are random tidbits I have picked up over the course of the last eight and a half months. (I am not a nutritionist, nor do I claim to be any sort of expert on this subject. Additionally, what information is included below is likely to change within a few months/years.)
Sugar is also known as:
barley malt, brown rice syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice invert syrup, fructose, fruit juice, galactose, glucose, granular fruit grape juice concentrate, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, lactose, maltodextrin, maple syrup, molasses, organic cane juice, sorghum, sucrose, and turbinado (this list is courtesy of WH Big Book of Exercises).
1. The healthiest foods you probably are avoiding are: pork chops, mushrooms, red-pepper flakes, full-fat cheese, iceberg lettuce, scallops, vinegar, and chicken thighs.
2. Fatty foods you should eat (without guilt) are: meat with flavor (such as bacon, rib eye, dark meat chicken, and ham), whole milk, butter (not margarine), full-fat sour cream, coconut, chicken skin, and eggs.
3. Saturated fat is *not* a nutritional villain. In fact, most types of saturated fat (there are over 13 types) have a positive effect on cholesterol (and some do not have any effect on cholesterol at all). This, of course, means that the consumption of saturated fat is in *no way* linked to heart disease risk.
4. Foods that you think are healthy (but probably are not): yogurt with fruit on the bottom (added sugar), baked beans (enough sugar added to equal an 8-oz soft drink), california roll (two main ingredients are white rice and imitation crab), fat-free salad dressing (added sugar), reduced-fat peanut butter (added icing sugar), corn oil (high content of omega-6 relative to omega-3 has been linked to an increase in risk of cancer, arthritis, and obesity).
Info pulled from WH Big Book of Exercises.
The number one problem with my current diet is probably my ratio of carbs to protein. I will be honest, I am not big on counting calories and I am not big on calculating how much of each nutrient I am consuming each day. This is about to change, though. First of all, my weight loss has slowed tremendously. I think that can be attributed to many factors, one of them being my diet. It has worked for me up to this point (eight and a half months). However, now that my activity level is *way* up and the level of intensity is also *way* up, I think it is time to re-evaluate things.
The nutritionist I met with a couple months ago recommended I eat 85 to 90 grams of protein each day, which I easily manage. However, this book recommends “1 gram of protein per pound of desired body weight.” That would actually bring me to 180 to 185 grams of protein per day. They also mention that sometimes that is just too much protein for a person to consume, but say that 125 grams should be considered the minimum requirement. Maybe if I were consuming that extra 40+ grams of protein my muscles would be recovering more quickly. When I work really hard (which is majority of the time I am in the gym, of course), that muscle group will be sore for 3 to 5 days. Absurd. I want to get back to an alternating schedule of working muscle groups, but I need the muscles to recover much more quickly to make that happen.
All of this seems unnecessarily complicated (in my opinion). I wish things were much more cut-and-dry. Conflicting information is everywhere and most of it is “backed by research that proves its validity.” Ridiculous.
How do you figure out what you should and should not eat? Are you following a specific dietary “plan?” Do you calculate daily nutritional content (if so, how?)?