It has become increasingly clear to me that people are confused about nutrition. There are so many rules and lists of food we should and shouldn’t eat. We feel guilt and judgement and every week a new piece of research will be published that contradicts the previous one.
I have been watching the Eat Well for Less programmes, which have been so interesting to me, and I see in my own clients, a lack of knowledge about the basics of nutrition and not knowing where to start. Being stuck in lockdown might have introduced people to home cooking but it didn’t necessarily make life easier and we still stayed stuck.
This of course hasn’t been helped by the Food Pyramid legacy which is highly contentious and political and was changed from a plant based pyramid to one that better represented the meat and grain industries.
We hear the call to ‘Eat a balanced diet’ or ‘Eat in moderation’….what do these words even mean?
The dictionary defines ‘balance’ as different elements in the correct proportions. So what are the different elements and what the hell are correct proportions.
The different elements are really carbohydrates, fats and proteins. These are our big nutrients that we need to thrive. Carbohydrates and fats provide energy and protein are our building blocks.
The best quality carbohydrates are vegetables, grains, legumes and fruits and also dairy (not muffins, chippies and pies).
The best quality protein is nuts, seeds, legumes, tofu, fish, chicken, red meat and dairy.
The best quality fats are nuts, seeds, avocado, fish and oils such as olive, flaxseed, walnut and sesame and a little bit of butter and coconut oil.
It’s important to remember that no one food is just carbohydrate or protein or even fat…most foods have a mix, it’s just that some might have more of one nutrient than the other. For example, some grains like oats are higher in protein than other grains such as brown rice which is higher in carbohydrate.
The correct proportions are to some extent really individual. There are so many diet proponents out there proclaiming that higher amounts of either fat, protein or carbs is how they got well and skinny and there are just as many saying that either low carbs, low fat and low protein got them buff and balanced.
The truth is there is truth in all of that and that is why nutrition is so damn confusing. I know people who have reversed disease through the ketogenic diet (high fat and low carb), I also know people that got extremely sick and fat on the ketogenic diet. I know people that had hormonal and mental issues because of low fat diets and low energy because of low carbohydrate diets.
So what the hell does that mean for me Sarah? I hear you shout.
Well, you have to find your own sweet spot. Every plate, in my opinion, should have some carbohydrates, some protein we actually need 25-30g to build our body) and some fat. I see clients that have low fat, high carb and diddly squat protein and by tweaking the balance they lose weight, gain energy and feel flippin’ awesome.
This is exactly why I have created a healthy eating course which covers this in much more depth. I also offer nutritional analysis and coaching. Please contact me if you want to know more about either of these services.