Food for Thought

When it comes to nutritional information, how much can one take!  There is a plethora of research, studies, fad diets, crash diets, and so forth the media throws at us on a daily basis.  And if you are struggling with weight or trying not to poison your family, how does one sift through all the junk information out there.

First and foremost, where did the information originate?  Was it from an actual four year educated dietitian, or a weekend certified holistic guru?  There is a mountain of studies proving everyone’s fad diet works, but what some do not realize, is there is a mountain of science-based research disproving the crash diet claims.  It’s quite easy to pick out the junk by the names or claims of the diet.  Anything that has the words “30 day flat belly diet” or “target and tone diet” usually refers to a fad where someone is getting rich pretty quick. 

There are wholesome foods and there are junk foods.  We can all name some junk foods really quickly, however, can we accurately estimate how many calories are contained in that wonderful blueberry muffin?  Majority of people are about half the calories short when estimating how much is in the food they are eating.  That is quite substantial!  The average active adult needs between 1700-2200 calories per day.  How fast do those calories add up during the day?  Let’s just look at a typical breakfast and lunch on the run.  A coffee shop breakfast of a muffin (500 cal) and large latte (400 cal), adding in a drive-thru lunch consisting of a chicken sandwich (900 cal), along with a large fry (550) and a large soda pop (350 cal) alone exceeds the daily amount needed for an average adult. 

How to break the vicious cycle of empty calories is an extremely hard feat for many.  However, careful planning in advance can lead you down the path to success.  Making coffee at home, meal prep the night before you go to work, and avoiding or minimizing lunch outings with your workmates are great steps in the right direction. 

Cutting calories is one step, the other is consuming the right food.  Dietitians will advise to stay away from the junk.  However, they know how difficult it is to break the cycle.  The first step is to keep a diary for two weeks on everything you eat and drink.  Every meal, all the little snacking we are all guilty of, and everything you drink.  From here, you can get a bigger picture of what your daily food cycle is and make the necessary adjustments to cut out things we can all do with out.  Examples are the half a bag of chips at night, or the bacon sandwich for breakfast.  Start with small battles and you will win the war. 

Keep in mind, gaining an edge on nutrition is a lifelong journey.  There will be no quick fixes, no magical pill or supplement, just the time you are willing to dedicate to making healthier choices for you and your family.

Tyson Hornby