DIET AND NUTRITION
Why should this affect me and/or my family and what we consume?
In nutrition, diet is the sum of food consumed by a person or other organism. Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons (with the two often being related). Although humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos. This may be due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy.
Proper nutrition requires ingestion and absorption of vitamins, minerals and food energy in the form of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in the quality of life, health and longevity. It can define cultures and play a role in religion.
Some cultures and religions have restrictions concerning what foods are acceptable in their diet. For example, only Kosher foods are permitted by Judaism, and Halal foods by Islam. Although Buddhists are generally vegetarians, the practice varies and meat-eating may be permitted depending on the sects. In Hinduism, vegetarianism is the ideal, Jain are strictly vegetarian and consumption of roots is not permitted.
Many people choose to forgo food from animal sources to varying degrees (e.g. flexitarianism, vegetarianism, veganism, fruitarianism) for health reasons, issues surrounding morality, or to reduce their personal impact on the environment, although some of the public assumptions about which diets have lower impacts are known to be incorrect. Raw foodism is another contemporary trend. These diets may require tuning or supplementation such as vitamins to meet ordinary nutritional needs.
A particular diet may be chosen to seek weight loss or weight gain. Changing a subject’s dietary intake, or “going on a diet”, can change the energy balance and increase or decrease the amount of fat stored by the body. Some foods are specifically recommended, or even altered, for conformity to the requirements of a particular diet. These diets are often recommended in conjunction with exercise. Specific weight loss programs can be harmful to health, while others may be beneficial (and can thus be coined as healthy diets). The terms “healthy diet” and “diet for weight management” are often related, as the two promote healthy weight management. Having a healthy diet is a way to prevent health problems, and will provide your body with the right balance of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
An eating disorder is a mental disorder that interferes with normal food consumption. It is defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive diet. A healthy diet may improve or maintain optimal health. In developed countries, affluence enables unconstrained caloric intake and possibly inappropriate food choices.
It is recommended by many authorities that people maintain a normal weight by (limiting consumption of energy-dense foods and sugary drinks), eat plant-based food, limit red and processed meat, and limit alcohol. However, there is no total consensus on what constitutes a healthy diet.
Your understanding of nutrition can be your key to optimal health. The Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Association defines nutrition as “the science of food; the nutrients and the substances therein; their action, interaction, and balance in relation to health and disease; and the process by which the organism (i.e. body) ingests, digest, absorbs, transports, utilizes, and excretes food substances.” The purpose of our diet is to consume foods that provide the six essential nutrients: carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, and water. The correct amount and variety of food provides the correct amount of nutrients for health and weight management.
One thing that we all have in common is that we all eat. What, when, why, and how much we eat varies from person to person. We often choose our foods based on taste, familiarity, cost, and/or availability. What we choose to eat is not necessarily what our bodies need us to eat. A diet that is deficient in nutrients is one that can lead to health and weight problems. Fortunately, guidelines have been established to assist each of us in deciding what foods to eat to provide our bodies with the nutrients that we need.
Research to determine the appropriate amount of nutrients for health began in the 1940’s because men were being rejected from the military during World War II due to the effects of poor nutrition on their health. The first Food and Nutrition Board was formed to evaluate the nutritional intakes of large populations. Since then, the Food and Nutrition Board has undergone many changes and published comprehensive guidelines on nutrition for both maintenance of good health and disease prevention.
With media outlets so widespread in today’s age, we’re able to access information and entertainment at every turn it seems. With that brings the opportunity to advertise and market products to consumers by companies that really are only interested in making money. The general population has now been trained to think that a cover model’s body is the ultimate goal of fitness, so every little gadget that has to do with improving your fitness is being offered to you everywhere you look.
So many fitness and exercise products have gained access to the airwaves. Exercise machines, as well as weight loss products, can be purchased at every store you can imagine. But what our population must get under control, in order to achieve positive results, is the way we eat.
Our diets are so essential to not only our fitness levels, but our overall health in general. The foods we consume provides us with the nutrients we need to perform regular exercise, as well as help our worn out muscles recover and grow. I’ve read in a number of fitness and nutrition outlets that diet can contribute to as much as 90% of your overall fitness results.
That’s right; your training contributes roughly 10% of your fitness results. Now, this may seem a little hard to believe and I’m telling you what I’ve read in order to make a point. In my own experiences I would say that 70% of my results were due to the food that I put in my mouth.
Now, I would not consider myself an expert on diet but I know enough to be confident in its overall importance to fitness goals. Think about how long it takes you to get through a workout. Generally, you’re looking at about an hour out of your day to get some sort of physical activity in. Now, what are you doing for the other 23 hours of the day? And how are you using those 23 hours to contribute to the hour of exercise that you’ve just performed? An hour of exercise, especially intense exercise, can take a lot out of us. More specifically, we expend a lot of energy to perform exercises, and our bodies need nutrients in order to recover and grow stronger. So during those next 23 hours, we need to find the time to prepare nutritious meals in order to make the most of our fitness efforts.
So what we put into our mouths on a daily basis should never be taken for granted. Think about how much time and money you invest in your other daily activities and none of those are as important as your own personal health. With that in mind, all sorts of fitness and diet professionals have created programs and diet methods in order to improve and build on our exercising efforts.
There’s been the massive low carb craze that started taking off around a decade ago as well as the low fat craze that came before it. There have also been diets that focus on consuming high amounts of carbs and diets that focus on high amounts of fats. But which is better? High carb diets are utilized for glycogen stored in the liver and muscles. Glycogen is a glucose complex that provides large amounts of energy for use in anaerobic exercises.
On the other hand, fats are well known to be the richest source of calories among the nutrients we consume. Fats contain 2.5 times more calories than carbohydrates and proteins alike. Studies also show that it takes the body 24 calories to metabolize carbohydrates while it only takes 3 calories to burn fat.
Anyone can follow a high carb and low fat diet or the other way around. But it is not recommended to follow both at the same time because you’re more than likely to pack on the fat. Another important factor to consider is not just getting rid of fat on your body but actually keeping it away in the first place. So if we really want to succeed, we should look into what the research tells us, which is that succeeding at keeping up a certain way of eating and losing weight while doing it comes down to one that suits the individual’s food preferences, medical profile and lifestyle.
If you really want to lose some pounds, you can find diets all over the place that can help you. But if you want to keep those pounds off, then you need to find the healthiest way of eating that you can stick to and one that satisfies you.
So no matter what type of diet you try, you must make sure that you’re getting the nutrients that your body needs and one that you can stick to. And just because you find a way of eating that works for you doesn’t mean that you have to stick to it for life either.