Nutrition is one of the hardest subjects
to talk about because the answers are the ones you never want to hear. “No more late-night desserts,” or “Time to ditch my McGriddle for a McSalad” are some of the decisions that seem easy on paper but are torture at the moment.
Thankfully the toughest questions in nutrition can be solved one of two ways: through restrictive dieting which is destined to fail or working smarter for your body and finding a balanced, sustainable way of eating that won’t make you crazy. Today, all our answers will fall into the latter camp.
Is Cutting Calories The Only Way to Lose Weight?
Calories are the unit of energy it takes for your body to burn a specific food off. Whenever we eat something, our body raises its internal temperature to burn off what you consumed. Funny enough, calories aren’t determined by weight or size, but by how difficult it is for your body to burn it off. Hence the fact that five Oreos is the same amount of calories as a bag of broccoli.
Due to our over-reliance on restrictive dieting we’ve become slaves to calories. We think everything in nutrition begins and ends with calories and that eating less is the sole way to lose weight. This is not true.
A recent study from Harvard
shows that individuals following a low-carbohydrate (20% of total calories) diet burn between 209 and 278 more calories per day than those on a high-carbohydrate (60% of total calories) diet. This is clear evidence that a calorie doesn’t equal a calorie.
Instead, focus on eating whole, quality foods like grass-fed meats, pasture-raised eggs, fruits, vegetables, and mixed nuts. Also, when you eat carbs, always opt for complex carbohydrates over simple, refined carbs.
So whole wheat bread instead of white; vegetables instead of chips; Oatmeal instead of donuts and muffins, and so on. You won’t have to skip out on dessert if you’re eating quality foods throughout the day.
Is it Ok to Have Cheat Meals?
Yes, it’s ok, even recommended to include cheat meals into your diet. Cheat meals are not only vital to your mental well being — giving you that much-needed break from strict dieting — but they play a key role in boosting metabolism.
If you adhere to a disciplined diet throughout the week, a cheat meal will shock your system. Your metabolism increases levels of leptins, the “anti-starvation” hormone responsible for sending hunger messages to the brain. To put it simply, you’ll feel fuller for days after giving yourself a cheat meal.
Cheat meals also replenish glycogen for increased energy and ramp-up mechanisms for fat-burning. They also give you a psychological boost as you can have something to look forward to during the week. Personally speaking, a cheat meal helps me realize that eating so much food makes me sick and resets my relationship with food.
Be that as it may, tread lightly with cheat meals. Some people let their cheat day turn into days, weeks, and entire lifetimes. Experiment with cheat meals before you go all-in and start committing to them.
Are There Any Superfoods?
If you’re looking for a miracle food that will shred 50 pounds of fat and turn you into a Victoria Secret Model, then the answer is no. But if you’re looking for foods that are more nutritious than others, help build a better body composition, and make you healthier in general, then yes, there are foods like that.
The word “superfood” is clickbait and overused today, but it does pertain to the following underrated, nutrient-dense foods (of course vegetables are still MVP):
- Kiwis – 42 calories, 2 g of fiber (8%), 64 mg of Vitamin C (That’s 106% of your daily Vitamin C in one fruit)
- Wild Caught Salmon – 238 calories, 40 g of protein (80% of RDI) and high in Potassium, Vitamin B-6, and Omega-3 fatty acids
- Mixed Nuts (Almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, brazil nuts) – 173 calories and high in many nutrients including Vitamin E (12% of RDI), Magnesium (16% of RDI), Phosphorus (13% of RDI), Copper (23% of RDI), Manganese (26% of RDI), and Selenium (56% of RDI)