So many claims and contradictions surround nutrition, people are legitimately confused – what are we supposed to believe!
Nutrition – The Current Landscape
Hope you’ve all had a good weekend! I’ve had some interesting feedback and conversations with different people regarding last weeks newsletter on carbs, hopefully it got you all thinking about your current approach.
This weekend I had an in-depth conversation with a new client about nutrition. In short, she found it difficult to know which advice to listen to, as she’d heard so many different things online and through friends who were following certain diets.
I fully understand this, sport and nutritional science has come far, then you have internet ‘gurus’ to add to this equation. Simply, with a quick Google search you can find a load of information, but how do you then filter the good from the bad?
When it comes to nutrition, some people can be very tribal in terms of what they follow, and the mindset they develop through their chosen approach.
So this week I’m going to highlight a few common eating ‘tribes’ people tend to follow, and some pros and cons to each approach.
This diet is based on how cavemen may have eaten. Benefits of this approach include, consuming plenty of protein and nutrient dense foods. Due to protein having a high thermic effect, where the body has to work hard to digest it, Paleo makes overeating difficult. This approach is generally easy to follow as you’d ultimately be eating meat and vegetables all the time…all the time, so this could be a downside too.
The cons of this approach on the other hand, there are unnecessary restrictions placed upon beneficial foods which aren’t classified as Paleo. Following Paleo means you’d be eating so low carb that performance would not be optimal. Also, Paleo is not based on strong evidence.
If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM)
This approach promotes an inclusive food mentality and is flexible. However this requires close tracking as the flexibility it offers may lead some to over-eat. It’s also easy to misinterpret as some may assume you can just eat anything so long as you don’t go over your daily calorie allowance.
This is a fairly easy approach to follow, and also promotes a high protein intake. However, this approach leads to a low fibre intake and is difficult to sustain over time. It can be anti-social as you’d have to fight cravings during social events due to carbs being heavily restricted.
Clean eating advocates a diet primarily made up of whole foods, therefore plenty of fat and protein would be included. This is pretty easy to follow; however one of the biggest problems I find with this method is that there isn’t a clear definition of ‘clean’ when it comes to categorizing foods. Eating clean can also result in eating issues, where there is a worry or reluctance to eating foods perceived as not being ‘clean’.
Intermittent fasting (IF)
Periods of fasting can suit some lifestyles, such as those who frequently have to travel. Intermittent fasting makes it difficult to overeat and is simple to follow as you only eat within certain time frames. Fasting offers no major advantage however, and the hunger can be pretty intense, making this method difficult to follow over a long period.
All of these methods listed have the potential to produce results if adhered to properly. Whilst they all have different protocols, the one major similarity they have – getting you to eat less, simple. I’m certainly not trying to promote any of these, but neither am I vilifying them.
The fact is, no diet can be considered healthy based on the foods which have been excluded. From my experience, those who tend to be the most successful do the basic things very well and consistently.
If you want to maximise your chances of success, two pieces of advice I’d give would be: (1) don’t go on diets, and, (2) develop your ability to make better decisions around eating as a whole – have a long think about this.
If you have any questions, do feel free to get in touch with us. Forward on to friends, family and colleagues who may find this information helpful.
Check out our site for more information, or to find out about how we can help you develop your health, body shape and strength, contact 07825 215331.