Principles of Nutrition, Part 2

Timing only matters to the extent it affects quantity of daily calories.

For literally almost most of us, WHEN you eat food (time of day) does NOT have an effect on weight, body composition or performance unless that changes the total amount of food consumed. Meaning, if timing of your eating helps control total number of calories throughout your day, great.

The biggest question we get – should I have my protein shake right after I workout? Having a post-workout protein shake is beneficial IF it allows you to reach your protein goal for the day. But that shake could be moved to anywhere in the day and have the same effect.

The quality of food (micronutrient density) determines your health.

While weight does affect health regardless of food quality, we find that time and time again, whole, unprocessed foods are associated with health.

What foods are these? They are high in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), as well as non-essential but health-protective compounds like fiber and phytochemicals.

It is never one thing.

The body needs close to 40 essential nutrients and is also positively affected by thousands of other non-nutrient health-protective compounds like phytochemicals. So, there is never ONE nutrient (e.g., saturated fat) that is “good” or “bad.”

It’s the total amount of all the nutrients you eat in relation to your genetics and other factors (e.g., stress, training) that determine your outcome.

This is important to keep in mind for when someone recommends you ‘watch’ your X intake. There’s a bigger picture to be looking at.

All diets control quantity to varying levels of precision.

All diets can be plotted on a continuum of low/no (paleo) to high/complete (macros) control of the quantity of food one eats. This dictates weight or body composition changes. Although Macros gives the user the most control, most people do not want to weigh and measure their food. Therefore, the rules of MANY diets attempt to control quantity without weighing and measuring. For example, the diet may restrict certain foods. Go back to principle number 1 from Part 1.

Sustainability is the most important factor in diet selection.

Which ‘diets’ work best? The one you stick with.

You only get results by sticking to a diet program in the long-term. While some diet approaches may not be ideal in terms of physiology, you have to accept trade-offs based on what diet an individual is able and willing to adhere to. This is where your psychology has an effect on diet outcomes.

The main diet problem is processed foods.

No one is overeating baby carrots, ground turkey, and apples. Eat the whole banana!

The major diet problem is processed foods – which remove water and/or add fat and sugar – making them more calorically dense and hyper-palatable. Crazy right? They are found everywhere and are all-too-easy to eat in our modern, busy, on-the-go lives.

Work with one of our Nutrition Coaches to come up with ways to combat this battle.

There are diminishing returns on attaining perfection.

The closer you get to a goal, the harder it is to get there. Optimization is a time and energy-intensive process, and the notion of a perfectly-optimized-diet is likely outside the scope of what someone wants or can do. And because so many things besides nutrition affect weight, health and performance goals (e.g., sleep, training), there is some point at which optimizing any one diet factor (like protein intake) will be outperformed by focusing on a different factor (like training).

Again working with a CrossFit Torque Nutrition Coach can help stay the course!

Huge Thanks to EC from OptimizeMe Nutrition for creating and establishing these principles.

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