Try hard as we might to eat right, most people can’t figure out exactly what the hell “right” even means anymore. Here are 14 facts about nutrition that we know, that you can use to craft a well-balanced diet.
1. Calories ALWAYS matter.
Calories will always be an important factor of dieting. That doesn’t mean they’re the only factor, just don’t fool yourself into thinking you can eat 5,000 calories of chicken and broccoli and still lose weight.
2. You don’t need to eat small meals every 2-3 hours.
“Your metabolism is like a fire, and if you stoke it just a little bit every few hours it’ll burn more effectively than throwing a big ass log on.”
That’s usually the thinking behind this idea, and it sounds really damn good. Except that human metabolism and all the components that make it up are far more complicated than some wood burning. For dieting purposes, calories are calories. If you eat those in one meal or eight it doesn’t matter. Do what is most comfortable for you.
3. If you can’t see yourself eating the same way a year from now, you need to find a better diet.
4. Juicing is cool, but there are better ways.
You know those goofy machines where people shove apples, oranges, cucumbers, bananas, and a whole bunch of other shit in there and then on the other side a weird colored sludge pops out? Yeah, that’s a juicer. And in case you didn’t know, people are all about juicers. There are entire diets built on juicing your fruits and vegetables.
Why in the world removing all the fiber from a fruit or vegetable has become a good idea is completely beyond me, but it’s a terrible idea. Sure you may get the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients but you lose all the fiber. That’s one of the main reasons fruits and veggies should be eaten. Instead just throw them in a blender. It tastes the exact same but is a hell of a lot better for you.
5. Cleanses and detoxes are bullshit, at best.
Contrary to popular internet belief, toxins don’t build up, then need to get cleaned out. It sounds nice and almost makes sense, but the body doesn’t work that way.
Next time someone asks you to do cleanse or detox, ask them which toxins will be cleansed, and the mechanism in which they’ll be cleansed. Then take the $50 you saved and go to the liquor store. You’ve earned it.
If you want to read more on this, you can check out this piece I wrote on cleanses.
6. Supplements can be useful, just not nearly as useful as we like to think.
For the most part, I’m indifferent on supplements. There are some that I really like, and some that shouldn’t ever be sold again. Most supplements have some sort of use, and the more advanced someone gets with their nutrition macros, the more likely they’ll see some benefit from supplements.
The average person who just wants to drop some fat and build muscle would benefit greatly from focusing on eating and training above all else. Supplements are there to supplement a nutrition program. Nothing more.
7. The 30-minute anabolic window isn’t as strict as we used to think.
For years there’s been a mad rush to get a protein shake down within 30 minutes of working out. It was thought that this “anabolic window” was the time in which the most gains could be made by taking in some sort of protein.
We now know it’s not that simple.
Depending on when your last meal was before training, you could have an anabolic window of anywhere from 4-6 hours. Do you have anything to lose by slamming protein right after a workout? No way—but no need to stress about that.
8. You can absorb way more than 30 grams of protein in one sitting.
9. It doesn’t matter the diet, as long as you stick to it.
Zone, Mediterranean, Dash, Atkins, Vegan. It doesn’t matter which one. As long as you stick to it. Too many people hop from one diet to the next, when in reality if they just gave themselves a year or more on the same diet, they’d likely be happy with the results they got. The worst dieting mistake that could possibly be made is diet hopping.
10. Carbs aren’t the devil.
11. Fat doesn’t make you fat.
Fat is a necessary part of life and is necessary for us to live and be healthy. Fat alone isn’t the reason people become obese or have heart issues. It’s usually a perfect storm of problems, with excess fat being one of them.
Fat is completely necessary for hormone production, heart health (!), cellular function, and recovery. It’s also a strong source of calories since fat is 9 calories per gram – more than double the amount of calories in protein or carbs.
12. You need to be eating junk food.
Incorporating small treats of junk food into your diet is one of the signs of a successful dieter. Allowing yourself to have small treats is hugely important for psychological well-being while dieting. If having that piece of chocolate or ice cream satisfies your craving and prevents you from eating the entire gallon this weekend, it was well worth it.
13. Flossing is good for your heart.
14. Breakfast is NOT the most important meal of the day.
Truth be told, there is no most important meal. Thousands of people have gotten in amazing shape by skipping breakfast altogether. Intermittent fasting is an incredibly popular tool, and some scientists suggest that those who fast have healthier hearts, hormonal profiles, and live longer, healthier lives. Fasting = awesome.
What does this mean for you?
It means that a lot of what you may have been told about nutrition is actually false. It also means that nutrition, while it can seem incredibly complicated, at the most basic level it’s simple. Eat foods that have lots of colors, eat lean protein, and if it sounds too good to be true, you can bet that it is.
Be patient, don’t get too overwhelmed with the details, and try to make a choice at every meal that moves you closer to your health and hotness goals.
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