Your Top Nutrition Questions, Answered
On our blog, we’ve tackled dozens of nutrition topics from “Decoding Nutrition Labels” to “Poop Health 101.” Still, there are some reoccurring and commonly asked questions from our readers. We decided to do a blitz and cover YOUR TOP NUTRITION QUESTIONS.
top nutrition questions, answered
1. What’s the Best Diet?
Let’s think about this one as an analogy for shopping for clothes.
Once in a while, you find a “one size fits all” top that looks perfect on you. Cool! It worked out this time. But given the option to buy a “one size fits all” shirt or your actual medium, I’d bet you opt for the medium, right? So why would you choose a “one size fits all” diet?
Most diets out there are backed by science, so it’s really about figuring out what works best for your body, health, and lifestyle. For me, I think of diets like designer clothing… For the last three years, I’ve been happily wearing the “vegetarian diet.” But, in its entirety, my closet/body looks more like a boutique shop, mixed with other designer collections from “raw” to “intermittent fasting” to “intuitive eating” to “counting macros.” I’ve kept my favorite pieces from each designer from over the years to create a sustainable diet customized to me.
I know, I know, you wanted a concrete answer to this question, but we can’t give it to you because everybody is different. One good place to start, though, is the same way I started. I began using these simple, color portion containers to map out my daily macros and calories. I ate whatever I wanted, but everything I ate fit into the containers. Easy peasy, it’s a no brainer.
Read more: How to Eat More Veggies
2. Are 6 Small Meals A Day Better Than 3 Big Meals?
For years, it’s been thought that eating smaller, more frequent meals could speed metabolism. However, these are unsubstantiated. Similar to the first question, some studies go back and forth, with some showing that smaller meals benefit cholesterol and insulin levels while other studies show that fewer, larger meals keep feeling people satiated for longer.
Honestly, I’m a big fan of the smaller meals, but again, like in Question 1, this depends on the person (and their blood sugar, thyroid health, and eating habits). As a petite person, if I eat three large meals a day, by the evening, it looks like I’m carrying a food baby. However, with six small meals, my body doesn’t fluctuate, and I end the day at roughly the same size as in the morning.
For Ryan, he feels the opposite, which is partly due to his smaller eating window from 11 AM to 7 PM (eight hours). There’s not enough time in the workday to eat more than three times.
Overall, if you haven’t tried varying the number of times you eat during the day, we recommend you try it. Just make sure you’re eating the same amount… eating six meals a day doesn’t give you license to eat more!
3. Do I Need To Take Vitamins?
While we would love to think that we can eat our way to 100% health, the truth of the matter is that even with a whole food organic diet, most people still benefit from additional supplementation. For us, we wrote a post on Our Daily Vitamin Plan. In a nutshell, the western diet typically lacks Vitamins A, D, E, and the minerals magnesium and calcium.
To decide what we would personally take, Ryan and I took a hair mineral test to see where our diets could use a pick-me-up. Ultimately, our mainstay has been drinking Shakeology which covers our prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes while acting as our bio-available, daily multivitamin. Since the key ingredients are exotic superfoods, most that aren’t available at stores, you know you’re adding variety to your nutrient spread.
Read more: Do I Need Protein Powder?
4. Should I Avoid Carbs?
So, fun fact, my favorite carbs are eggplants and spinach.
When most people think of carbs, they think of pasta and muffins, but carbohydrates encompass all vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. Now that we cleared up the terminology, as health coaches, we’ve heard hundreds of times when people “cut back on carbs.” While we agree that processed and refined simple carbohydrates have no place in your diet, such as the obviously unhealthy cereal, potato chips, and cake, we think that cutting out refined carbohydrates are also a mistake.
As we discuss in The Problem With Fad Diets, when you cut carbohydrates drastically out, you’re at risk of slowing down your metabolism, increasing stress hormones like cortisol, and losing muscle. No bueno.
Read more: Do Carbs Make You Fat?
Have any more nutrition questions? Reply to us at [email protected] or leave them in the comments below.