Nutrition is the foundation of all things health and fitness, and for most everyone it’s really beneficial to think of your body as a chemical equation. Your daily goal is to balance that equation.

The tools available to achieve balance in nutrition, the changes in X that you can control, are caloric intake and exercise.

We talk about exercise in a separate section. We have a look at caloric intake and its, as well as other nutritional factors, here.

Nutritional factors

Caloric intake tops the list simply because it is where you have the most active choice in what you eat.

Simply put, the calories you put in your mouth create the other key factors on the list, they have a certain glycemic index, are composed of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates, will undergo glucose conversion in your body, elevate your blood sugar, and end up as fat energy stores if your intake of calories is excess of what you need.

The gist of eating and nutrition

It seems as though there are secrets to many food choice diets and that only one ingredient, the one the plan is trying to sell you, is beneficial for good nutritional health. All others are evil and should be avoided.

This logic drives your thinking to “eat only protein, and no carbohydrates” or “eat only meat, vegetables, or fruits and nothing else” and that’s it. Simple and clean. Eat anything else at your peril. It’s bad dietary advice.

In fact, almost everyone eats a bit of every kind of food every day, and to do anything else becomes problematic. So what’s needed is the ability to make better decisions about every food choice. To make these better choices the two easiest guidelines to know about food are:

Two golden food rules

  • The less processed the food item is, the better
  • Unsaturated fats are better than saturated fats

Highly processed foods and saturated fats are nutritional hazards

Without touching the ethics surrounding cage free, range raised, and other techniques for food production, we’ll speak about over-manufactured and easily digested processed foods and foods high in saturated fats and trans-fats. This is the stuff that’s generally good to avoid in your diet.

So the skinny on processed foods is simply this: the vast majority of them are manufactured to be digested easily, contain large portions of sodium, unsaturated and trans-fats, plenty of sugar, and fall on the high side of the glycemic index. All these factors add up to a low-quality meal that’s going to peak quick and load your blood with too much of the elements we know aren’t really that good for the body.

Processed foods are typically convenience foods. Buy them in the frozen section, keep them in the freezer at home, and pop them in the micro-wave for a quick meal. Sadly, most people don’t realize that there are plenty of great recipes that are about as quick and easy.

Fat in food has gotten a bad rap since the 1950’s. For some fat the reputation is truly earned, for others, it’s simply not.

Fat is an essential component of the body makeup. It forms cell-walls, provides nervous system insulation, and it’s a shock-absorber for your internal organs. It also enhances food’s taste which makes less need for sugar.

The issue with fat is whether its of the saturated variety or the unsaturated variety. Unsaturated fats oxidize easy compared to saturated fats. And while we have many ways to add fat to our bodies, there’s really only one way to remove it: physical exercise.

But being it is a critical nutritional element, we all need some fat. Knowing the significance and the sources of dietary fat make it easier to choose healthier sources of dietary fat.

Similar to fat, Carbohydrates have come under broad-based and unfair scrutiny at times. As with fat, some carbs are healthier than others.

The trick is to make good, balanced decisions on diet with accurate information about the elements of food and how they affect the human body.