I think that in the main people really know what to eat from a basic level. Unfortunately, as consumers we are constantly being bombarded by so many different diets and fads that people generally have become confused.
Here are my answers to the top 15 questions around diets and healthy eating.
15 Common Question & Answers
1. What is the best diet for you?
The best way to eat is a healthy lifestyle free from processed foods, no added sugars, high in vegetable fibre and lean protein. We want to be able to make life easy for ourselves as we are more likely to stick with something that way.
2. Can A Low Carb Diet Help Me Lose Weight?
Yes, in the short term certainly you will notice a big difference. However, it is about sustaining habits that are good for you for the rest of your life. It is never a good idea to remove whole food groups as there is a lot of goodness especially energy that our body needs from carbohydrates. However, it is fair to say that removing sugary beverages or snacks is worth considering. Including whole grains, legumes, fruit and vegetables in your diet is a must for all the nutrients and minerals they provide.
3. Is Breakfast important for you?
A protein and fibre rich breakfast is important to fuel your body ready for the demands of the rest of the day.
When your body sleeps metabolism slows down and there is not the same demand for food.
For many people ensuring they are eating the right foods at the right time is key to an efficient functioning body without wanting unnecessary sugars.
4. What About Fasting?
Interestingly, I fast 5 days per week and at a later stage I will do an article on this subject.
I mentioned breakfast in point 3 which is also the term used to suggest ‘break your fast’. This therefore can be at any time and is generally the first meal we eat.
5. Are All Calories Equal?
In general, if you eat fewer calories than the body burns throughout the day, then you will find that this will be enough to lose weight.
However, the source of calories can significantly impact your blood sugar levels, energy, heart health, digestion and much more. Therefore, not all calories are equal as some provide the body with no nutritional value at all whilst others provide the body with a substantial amount.
6. Does Meal Timing Matter?
In the main, the time you eat your meals is not a factor to how your body functions unless you are an athlete or sportsman.
In my opinion it is key to eat the right foods no matter what time of the day or night that is.
7. Is It Better To Eat 4 to 5 Smaller Meals?
Not necessarily. It does help some people to keep their metabolism raised throughout the day and stops your blood glucose levels from dropping. You will also feel fuller for longer.
However, those people who fast are also very good at getting energy from their fat stores which keeps their metabolism at an increased rate.
8. How Much Water Should I Drink?
For the average person needing 2000 calories a day a minimum of 2 Litres of water should be enough without exercise.
The water you take during exercise would be separate to your daily allowance.
9. Should I Count Calories?
I am not a huge fan of calorie counting as I believe that if you eat good nutritional food that you should not need too. However, in the short term it can be wise to do this, so you get an idea as to how much you need to eat. In the longer term you will naturally adjust to what you are used to.
10. Can Fibre Help Me To Lose Weight?
Yes, it most definitely can. Fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate. This means that your body cannot break down and use for calories but can be used to bulk up meals to make you feel full. Loaded full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients absorbed by your body, therefore hugely important in our diets. Plus, they are used to sweep through and cleanse our colon and intestines. Minimum daily intake is 25g for Women and 30g for Men.
11. Should I Avoid Gluten?
Specialised “Gluten Free Food” is needed for those who suffer from wheat allergens such as coeliac.
Whilst I do not believe that ‘wheat’ in any shape or form is good for our bodies, food such as wholegrain rice and pasta are perfect alternatives.
Beware also of certain ‘gluten free’ foods as a lot have added sugars and sweeteners in them to improve taste.
12. Can Sugar Make Me Fat?
Sugar in its natural form is a plant high in water and fibre. Unfortunately, manufacturers remove all its goodness and add flavours and lots of other substances to create biscuits, cakes and lots of other bad processed foods. It is in that format that becomes very calorific and can make you fat.
Sugar also comes in forms of glucose and fructose which are more of a natural derived sugar and better for our body providing you control how much you eat.
13. How Can I Conquer A food Craving?
Sometimes this can be difficult as there are so many triggers. Firstly, it is about assessing the trigger e.g. “With a Cup of Tea, I Always Eat Cake”. So, the first thing we need to do is disassociate the cup of tea link.
It could simply be just a question of eating the right foods throughout the day to stop your blood sugar levels dropping and thereby stopping the craving.
14. Does Eating Slowly Help You Lose Weight?
I do not believe eating slowly alone will help you lose weight. Ensuring that you chew your food enough prior to swallowing is a good habit to keep.
There is a lot of science behind the fact it takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that you are full as it takes time for your body to break food down and then pass into your gut. When it is there your stomach releases receptors after your body starts absorbing glucose which then sends signals to the brain to state that you are full.
15. Can Exercise Help Weight Loss?
Yes, exercise can help weight loss and is most definitely recommended. Exercise will help burn calories and build muscle but needs to work alongside good eating habits.
The other important aspect of exercise is that it makes you feel good which in turn can help you to not eat as much.
I hope that I have pointed out the complexities of diets and healthy eating. One thing that is important is understanding what is the right diet for you?
I mentioned that I fast 5 days per week and I also eat a paleo diet. Combined with this I try to have 2 days when I also eat plant-based foods only. I drink plenty of water and try to get a minimum of 7 hours sleep per night. I also exercise 6 days per week mixing my workouts up with Cardio, Strength, stretch and mind. This works for me, but it might not work for you.
Over the next few weeks, I will explore my health regime. Let me know what you think and any questions you might have.