Diet and nutrition are two concepts that are closely linked. But what exactly makes up your diet, and how is nutrition related? How can you get the most out of both of these to meet your fitness and wellness goals?
What is Your Diet?
When you hear the word diet, it’s not surprising that you may think of restrictive eating and weight loss. This negative connotation is because of the dieting culture in the United States which paints an inaccurate view of what diet means. Your diet just refers to the food and drinks you consume on a daily basis.
Diets like paleo, vegetarian, vegan, ketogenic, gluten-free, and Mediterranean have unique staples and standards. Some diets avoid specific types of food for health reasons, such as the gluten-free diet for people with Celiac disease. Others are more flexible, like the Mediterranean diet, which includes a lot of fish, fruit, and vegetables. Your diet should match your preferred tastes and dietary restrictions.
Your diet affects the sum of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients your body needs to function. This breakdown of the nutrients you get from food is how diet relates to nutrition.
What is Nutrition?
According to the Oxford dictionary, nutrition is “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Nutrition looks at the food you eat to see if it provides you with what you need to be healthy.
If whole-grain toast with peanut butter is part of your breakfast routine, that would be part of your diet and could also be considered nutritious. The whole-grain toast gives you carbs and dietary fiber, while the peanut butter gives you protein and healthy fats.
On the other hand, what if sugary cereal is part of your daily breakfast routine? It would still be part of your diet, but it probably would not be considered nutritious because of its high added sugar content and lack of nutrients. This food is not necessary for health or growth, which means it does not fit with the definition of nutrition.
Getting the Most from Your Diet and Nutrition
Diet and nutrition are crucial factors for your overall health and wellness. Making sure that your diet contains nutritious foods will provide you with energy, help keep your body working in tip-top shape and help your body recover from various types of injury and physical activity.
Here are some tips to help you get the most from your diet and nutrition.
Watch Your Macronutrients
Macronutrients are the essential building blocks for every function in your body and ensure that you have the energy to complete your daily tasks and exercise. The USDA recommends that the average person gets most of their calories from:
- Carbohydrates: 45-65%
- Protein: 10-35%
- Fats: 20-35%
Of course, everyone has different needs, but if your calorie breakdown is similar to the USDA suggestions, you should have the macronutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Reduce Refined Carbs
Refined carbohydrates are processed carbs with most of the nutritional value removed. White bread, white rice, soda, and baked goods typically fall into this category. These carbohydrates are notorious for causing energy crashes and overeating and have been linked to increased risk of heart disease and weight gain.
We are not saying you should never eat sweets again! Any diet that says you should eliminate foods will make you miss what you can’t have and ultimately quit the diet. Instead, try to make whole-grain foods and vegetables your primary source of carbs.
Make Small Nutritious Changes to Your Diet
Research shows that making massive changes at the same time is significantly harder to maintain and often fails. That is why smokers who try to quit cold turkey slip back into old habits more often than people who gradually reduce their smoking or find a healthier alternative.
Instead of cutting out all baked goods, maybe save baked goods for the weekends and special occasions. Or, instead of trying to add fruit and vegetables to every meal, start by making sure you have fruit or vegetables with one meal per day. Small, incremental changes to your diet are more likely to stick for a long-term impact on your health and nutrition.
Visit us at Fit Body Boot Camp to get easy-to-follow nutrition programming that can help you with your diet and nutrition goals. Plus, see how each of our 30-minute Boot Camp classes are sure to set you on a path of long-term health and wellness.