By your Fitness Trainers at Century Fitness

Proper nutrition is so vital to a healthy life, especially if you are active.  Nutrition makes a very significant impact on your fitness results.  In other words, no matter how often or how hard you train,  you need to feed your body with the required amount of the right foods.

The amount of nutrition advice coming at us from all angles seems a bit too much to swallow.  We could go on and on, but let’s instead shed light on a few current hot topics.

(Check with your healthcare provider before making nutritional changes, especially if you take medicine or have any health condition)

Q. Do I need to take supplements, special potions, etc… to get results?

A. Probably not. You can get everything you need from a balanced diet unless you have a deficiency or a unique situation.  It’s okay if you want to add in some protein powder, your favorite healthy herbs, teas, or whole foods like seeds. However, be wary of those expensive bottles or tubs with long lists of ingredients.  Taking large amounts of trace minerals and vitamins (micronutrients) is good for “thinning out the wallet”, and possibly bad for your organs in large doses. So use common sense and check-in with a health professional when in doubt.

Q. How much protein do I need in my daily diet?

A. This is a good one! Many professionals suggest more protein for serious exercisers, adults who have certain conditions or ailments and even those who wish to kick-start a weight loss plan.  How much you take in also depends on your age and weight.  Another factor to consider is how well you digest your protein.  For example, eggs are highly bioactive and if you digest eggs well then this is a good source of protein for you.  On the other hand if you have difficulty digesting a certain protein food, then you should look to an alternative.

There are differing views of how much protein a healthy adult needs.  The World Health Organization would have us eating less protein and bodybuilding groups would promote quite a lot.  Let’s go middle of the road with The University of Texas Health Science Center. “The RDA for protein is 0.8 gm/kg body weight for most adults. Vegetarians may need to increase this by 10 percent. Endurance athletes require 1.2-1.4 gm/kg while strength athletes need 1.6-1.7 gm/kg. The elderly require 1.25 gm/kg.”

Ready for the math?  Convert your body weight in pounds to kilograms by dividing your pounds by 2.2.  SAMPLE:  180 lbs / 2.2 = 81.8 kg.  Then multiply by the factor that best suits you… 1.2 (exercising-athletic) x 81.8 kg = 98 grams of protein required daily.  Hint: Try to spread out your intake throughout the day as it may be difficult to properly digest more than 25 grams of protein at a time.

Q. Should I reduce my fat intake?

A. The really low-fat diet suggested decades ago never really worked well for maintaining weight or even health. It is important to know your type of fats though. Also, be aware that fat calories add up quickly because the are more than double the calories per gram than protein and carbohydrates, yet they do satisfy helping you feel more full.  All trans fats (partially dehydrated oils) are determined to be bad and now only trace amounts are allowed in the USA.  The Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Department of Agriculture, issues “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”  Their most recent advice on fat and cholesterol is, “Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for over-consumption.”

This recommendation should not be construed as a green light to consume lots of animal fats with higher amounts of cholesterol; dairy fats, shrimp, lobster, etc.  You still need to limit saturated fats and look to a variety of healthy fats to round off your intake.  Many people take in 25 to 40% of their diet as fat, which is fine.  The rule of thumb is to limit your saturated fats to 7 percent of your total calories and seek out healthy unsaturated fats like those found in fish such as salmon, trout and herring. Avocados, olives, walnuts and liquid vegetable oils such as safflower, canola, olive, hemp, and sunflower are all good sources of unsaturated fats.

This article is intended to provide general knowledge of health and fitness principles and should not be taken as medical advice or used to diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor or licensed healthcare provider for personalized advice on diet and exercise.