What foods do you need for good nutrition?
With obesity and ill health at an all time high it seems like very few people really understand how to eat to stay healthy.
Low fat, sugar free, gluten free, low carb, high fibre – everyone has different advice and often even the experts get it wrong.
Much of what we have been taught was wrong!
It is not surprising that there is so much confusion, in the past we relied on The Food Pyramid and eating Fat Free. And we got fatter and more and more unhealthy. Now the research shows that these approaches are not conducive to healthy living.
The truth about fat free
The Fat Free diet has been devastating for our health. The idea that fat is bad is ingrained in our collective psyche.
The truth is that the research now shows that fat is essential for healthy living!
Fat is crucial for brain and body function, for the uptake of certain vitamins and digesting food. A lack of good fats in our diets can contribute to nutritional deficiencies and impact your health.
The problem with fat free food
As well as starving ourselves of good fats, the problem with most fat free products is what they replace the fats with.
The manufacturers of fat free, usually take out the fat and add other ingredients to improve the taste, like sugar, chemical taste enhancers and more.
Not only are these foods lacking the good ingredients, they have added unhealthy ingredients too!
What are good fats?
Good fats include butter, cold pressed olive oil, cold pressed flaxseed oil and animal fat, yes animal fats! Unless you are a vegetarian try using duck fat when roasting vegetables – yummy!
Bad fats include most cooking oils available in the supermarkets and the oils included in processed foods.
What to look out for?
When choosing what food to buy, aim for healthy non-processed foods such as fruit and vegetables. If your food contains ingredients, flip the packet over and read what is included.
Ingredients like margarine, canola oil, artificial sweeteners, aspartame and MSG are simply not good for your health.
Unfortunately some items are not so obvious like the pesticides and genetically modified produce.
As yet, no long term studies have been undertaken on the impact of consuming these unnatural items on humans.
Be a health detective!
The first step to better nutrition is to understand what goes in your mouth.
To start, have a look in your pantry and fridge and read the labels on the all of the packets, bottles and jars. How many ingredients can you find that look like they belong in a science lab?
Look for products that have large numbers of ingredients. In general the more ingredients there are, the less natural the food is.
Look for ingredients that are codes like E951, E621 or are “hydrolyzed” or contain “high fructose corn syrup”. Processed and synthetic ingredients are generally not the best choice to put in your body!
Begin to notice how marketing makes some products seem more healthy, for example with “added vitamins” or “no artificial colours”, “fat free” or “sugar free”.
Over time you will start to see these claims as a possible smokescreen for unhealthy processed food. And now you can start to be a health detective!
Develop new healthy habits
Regardless of your habits up to this date, it is never too late to develop great nutritional habits. You can start today!
Here are some nutrition tips that will set you on the path to better health:
- Reduce the number of times per week you eat packaged, takeaway and ready made foods, buy and cook fresh produce for the majority of your meal
- Save freezer food for emergencies only!
- Choose to shop in independent shops rather than the supermarket. Visit your local butcher, baker and green grocer instead.
- Review your favourite food items, is there a similar option that is healthier or less processed?
- Replace sugary fizzy drinks and processed juice with water or freshly made vegetable juice. Reduce the sugar in your tea or coffee and eat less sweets.
- Subscribe to my list! I will send you nutrition tips and information about my health and fitness events.
To your health!