Nutrition is a notoriously sticky subject. It’s both simple in theory but complex in practice. Every single person eats, which winds up qualifying nearly everyone out there to have an opinion on just how you should eat, what you should eat, and when you should eat it.
So while there is no shortage of people out there telling you how things should be, there are 13 things we definitely know will always be true about nutrition.
1. Calories will always matter.
Calories will always be an important factor in dieting. That doesn’t mean they’re the only factor, just don’t fool yourself into thinking you can eat 5,000 calories of chicken and broccoli and still lose weight. But at the end of the day, there’s a reason why every single diet finds a way to get you to eat less food.
2. You don’t need to eat small meals every 2-3 hours.
“Your metabolism is like a fire, and if you stoke it just a little bit every few hours it’ll burn more effectively than throwing a log on.” That’s usually the thinking behind this idea, and it sounds great. Except that human metabolism and all the components that make it up are far more complicated than some wood burning. For dieting purposes, calories are calories. If you eat those in one meal or eight it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you find something that is regular and manageable for you.
3. If you can’t see yourself eating the same way a year from now you need to find a better diet.
Dieting successfully is going to involve changing some fundamental things about how you behave on a daily basis. That takes time, patience, and an open mind. But it doesn’t require you to go to the extremes of eating. Instead, find small and manageable things that you can implement on a daily basis – then repeat those things. Most people underestimate just how much they can accomplish in a year.
4. Juicing only works at Hogwarts.
Juicing can be a really fun way to change up your fruit and veggie intake. Sometimes it can even taste so good you’ll question whether or not it really is just fruits and veggies. But don’t go thinking that juicing is actually magic. It won’t cure you or cleanse you of anything. It’s just another way to get more veggies.
5. Supplements can be useful, just not as useful as you think.
For the most part, I’m indifferent on supplements. There are some that I really like, and some that shouldn’t ever be sold again. Most supplements have some sort of use, and the more advanced someone gets the more likely they’ll see some benefit from supplements. The average person who just wants to drop some fat and build muscle would benefit greatly from just focusing on eating and training above all else. Supplements are there to supplement a program. Nothing more.
6. There aren’t actual rules when it comes to eating protein.
Too much protein going to wreck your kidneys? Can I only have 30 grams of protein in a meal? Protein isn’t like you or I, it doesn’t follow weird and arbitrary rules. The truth is that research has shown that higher-protein diets not only help with hunger but also help with building muscle and losing weight. The best part? You really don’t have to stress about when you eat it. At least not as much as everyone says.
7. It actually doesn’t matter the diet as long as you stick to it.
This is the case for keto, Zone, DASH, or any other diet permutation. They all work for as long as someone sticks on the actual diet. The trick is finding a way to stay on it forever. And that’s where we come in. At Stronger U we use macros to find the diet that is the most comfortable for you. Over time and working with a Coach you can find a way of eating that is the most realistic and sustainable for you because, in the end, that’s the sort of thing that really matters.
8. Carbs aren’t the devil.
Carbs are good for us. Really good for us actually. Carbs are necessary to fuel activity, fuel our muscles, and fuel our brains. As we get older we become less tolerant of carbs, but that’s no reason to forgo them altogether. In fact, the more active you are, the more carbs you’ll be able to take in on a daily basis. Oh, and remember veggies? The things that are good for you? All of those are carbs.
9. Artificial sweeteners aren’t either.
Artificial sweeteners are much maligned in the media. We’re constantly told that they’re the source of all of our health and obesity issues. The problem? Everyone always forgets to mention the death is in the dosage. Artificial sweeteners are manageable in normal doses. And if you’re controlling your calorie intake + eating plenty of whole fruits and vegetables, you’re going to be fine.
10. Junk food can actually help you stay on track.
Allowing yourself to have small treats during the day can be one of those things that are hugely important for the psychological well-being of some dieters. The thing is, some people fall under the delusion that they should never eat junk food and that only causes their cravings to intensify – sometimes up until there’s a nasty breaking point. If having that piece of chocolate or ice cream satisfies your craving and prevents you from eating the entire gallon this weekend, it was well worth it.
11. Breakfast isn’t the most important meal of the day.
Truth be told, there is no most important meal. The most important meals are when you like to eat meals, and can regularly eat those meals. Nobody got together and made up a bunch of laws about when we can or cannot eat.
12. Water never stops being good for you.
Want to drop more fat? Drink water. Get better sleep? Drink water. Have healthier skin? Drink more water. Drinking water isn’t ever going to be a bad move. It’ll help you regulate your appetite, aid your digestion, and keep your organs happy.
13. Eating fruits and vegetables has never been and will never be a bad choice.
The only people this doesn’t apply to are vegans/vegetarians. For the rest of the population though? One of the most simple and effective ways you can increase your chances of seeing success is to just start focusing on making fruits and vegetables the main focus of your meals. They’re high volume and low calorie, which makes them a really filling option while dieting. Plus they come in a variety of flavors and options, helping to keep things fresh.