Organic food will make you thin: and other nutrition myths

Do you remember years ago when Snackwell’s “fat-free” cookies first hit the market and everyone was like “OH MY GOD! Fat-Free cookies!” So they ate them by the boxful and were SHOCKED when they…gained weight! Thankfully, we’ve become a little more knowledgeable over the years and better understand that labels that read “fat-free” or “sugar-free” really mean ingredients that are a chemical shit-storm.

But, there are plenty of nutritional myths still lingering…

show-mom-some-love

especially when it comes to organic foods.

nicsI am just as excited as you that Nic’s Organic Fast-Food will soon hit the Chicago area. While I’m thrilled to have an organic, non-GMO drive-thru option, a daily diet of bacon double cheeseburgers and fries isn’t exactly waist-friendly…

even if it’s antibiotic-free, grass-fed beef.

Organic junk food is still junk food. Choosing organic foods doesn’t increase the product’s nutrients, but it will decrease your exposure to dangerous/questionable ingredients, stabilizers, glyphosate, and genetic modifications. While synthetic sugars have been linked to weight gain, even organic sugar sweets aren’t always doing your body any favors either.

That said, a healthier diet doesn’t mean giving up all junk food favorites…moderation is key, right?

By choosing foods that are organic, non-GMO, or contain no synthetic colors, flavors, or sugars…you’re making a safer choice…but not automatically the healthiest choice…

but sometimes a damn tasty one!

You need protein supplements. Can we chill out on the protein, please? Pick up any magazine or step into any gym… protein is the buzz. And it is important. Protein is essential for muscle repair, growth, and virtually all body functions.

But…

how much protein does your body really need?

For most of the population, the daily protein recommendation is .8-1.2 g/kg. What does that mean?

150 lbs/2.2 = @ 68 kg.
68 kg x .8 = 54.4 g protein or 68 kg x 1.2 = 81.6 g.

how-much-extra-juicySo, on average, a person who weighs 150 lbs. would need approximately 54-82 g. of protein per day.

A 3 oz chicken breast has approximately 28 g. of protein. Add an egg or some black beans and maybe some shrimp to your day…you’re already close to 54 g.

But the supplements are so convenient though…

and expensive….and unregulated.

In many cases, you’d pay the same amount per serving for organic chicken breasts as you do for the protein powder mixes…but you’d receive more Vitamin B-6, iron, magnesium, and potassium with real food…not to mention other nutrients from side dishes (because strawberry flavoring doesn’t count as a serving of fruit).

Do supplements have their place? Of course. They’re convenient when traveling, during extended storm emergencies, specific medical conditions, and for some athletes-

sorry- wish it did, but an hour at the gym doesn’t meet athlete status.

But, supplements may- or may not- contain the ingredients listed on the label. And, they may also contain ingredients NOT listed on the label. Supplements are a 30 billion dollar unregulated industry…choose wisely.

sports-drinkWater is the best choice for hydration. Ok, this one was a tough learn for me. Not that I only drink water, but I mostly assumed that it was the better choice for me and my kids when playing outside or sports. Which is sort of true…

until it isn’t.

Just like a bout of vomiting, diarrhea…or a bad hangover can necessitate more than water for hydration, a vigorous workout or exercise lasting over an hour creates greater hydration and replenishing needs too. Of course profuse sweating, humidity, and altitude all play a role in re-hydration needs as well.

Physiologically, after an hour of exercise, the body needs carbohydrates: glucose and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride).

Replacing lost nutrients with artificial colors and copious amounts of sugar, however, is counterproductive to the benefits of the activity.

While oranges can be a great option, they aren’t always feasible depending on the workout. Unsweetened sports beverages are also good, but not always palatable during exercise…and re-hydration and restoring energy levels is more important than trying to avoid a little natural sugar.

In general, look for sports drinks, coconut water, or cactus water that contain about 5-8% carbohydrates per serving to help replenish carbohydrates and electrolytes.

Odds are good that your grandparents didn’t choose foods based on convenience or label their meals “clean eating.” They ate REAL FOOD…made by real people.

But that was then.

Today life is more complicated…busier…more chaotic.

Are we prioritizing our schedules over our health, though? Convenience certainly has its place….there’s that moderation idea again…but it won’t provide the greatest source of nutrients for best health.

How can you meet nutrient requirements? For the most part…eat REAL food. Choose snacks that provide a nutritional boost, and consume a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.

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