Count calories or don’t? Eat fruit or avoid em? How late should you eat?
There are lots of information and opinions out there in regards to effective dieting. All that info can sometimes be confusing and hard to decipher. Thus we’ve gathered 7 top burning questions about diets! Take a look as unless you have a solid plan like this one, you’ve probably have wondered about one of these 7 questions!
- Do I need to count calories? Not necessarily but you may want to! Ideally you should aim to eat balanced, nutritious meals. By balanced I am referring to a diet that includes lean proteins, good fats, veggies and starches like ones suggested in this plan! The first step to getting healthy and fit is to remove all junk food and processed foods and replace them with more whole foods. Once that becomes a habit, you MAY want to keep an eye on calories and your macronutrients to ensure you are not overeating and getting enough protein, fats and carbs! Calories counting can be very useful for those with strict goals but cumbersome for those who are just trying to maintain their weight and live a healthy lifestyle.
- Are carbs “bad” for you? Should I be cutting out carbs? Carbohydrates aka carbs are an essential macronutrient that is contained in almost all foods. They are used as a source of energy in our bodies. There are two different types of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbs include foods like sugars. Complex carbs include foods like green vegetables and starches like quinoa. It’s NEVER a good idea to remove a macronutrient completely from your diet. However, replacing refined carbs and simple carbs with unrefined, whole ones is a good idea. Carbs are a great source of energy and include fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. It’s not about cutting out carbs but rather reducing the unhealthy ones and adding healthier options. Also please note that vegetables and legumes are still considered carbohydrates!
- How much protein should I be having? If you are weight lifting, you wanna aim for 0.8 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Those who gain weight easily (muscle or fat) should aim on the lower end, those who find it hard to gain weight should aim on the higher side. It may be daunting to eat that much protein during the day (specially if you are not used to it!) so best to divide up your protein in 6 to 8 equal meals!
- Do I need supplements? Yes and no! Some basics like a quality multivitamin, fish oil, a quality BCAAs and protein supplement is necessary for almost everyone! You many need more specific vitamins and supplements like B vitamins or magnesium or CLA based on your goals and your specific body needs. I would recommend speaking to a nutritionist or naturopath to identify your specific needs for vitamins, minerals and supplements! It should also be emphasized that supplements are well, SUPPLEMENTS! They are there to supplement your diet not RESCUE it! Start with a good diet (like the one here) and add supplements based on your goals and needs. Do not rely on supplements to help you with bad eating habits. Last but not least not all supplements are created equal so seek the advice of a trusted nutritionist or naturopath for what brands are good.
- Am I eating enough? This answer to this question very much depends on your body and your goals. The best way to find out if you are eating enough is to LISTEN to your body and track your food intake for a few days! Clues that you are not eating enough through during the day: feeling hungry all the time, feeling lethargic, have cravings late at night, have mood swings associated with food! Best way to ensure you are getting enough calories is to divide up your meals and eat every 2 to 3 hours and keep an eye out on your BMR (Base Metabolic Rate). You never want to dip below your BMR! To find out your BMR use a online calculator like the one here!
- Is fruit juice OK to drink? How about fruit? This is a bit of a tricky questions as fruits are GREAT for your and super nutritious but contain simple sugar that you may want to avoid if trying to lose weight! I would suggest sticking to cold pressed or fresh squeezed fruit juices (with no extra added sugars or preservatives). If you are on a strict diet or trying to lose weight I would recommend sticking to green veggie juices and reduce the amount of fruit in your diet.
- How late is too late to eat? Each dietitian or nutritionist has a slightly different take on this, but generally speaking for optimal health and hormone balance it’s best to cut off eating 2 to 3 hours before you sleep. This little trick can do WONDERS if followed!
I hope this helps decipher some of the myths out there in regards to diets and get you on your way to your fitness goals! You can also check this plan here for a more specific and detailed diet!