The Science of Nutrition: Debunking Common Myths and Understanding What Our Bodies Need
As beneficial and necessary as nutrition may be for our health, it is quite complicated to understand what we specifically need to do to keep our bodies adequately nourished. Realizing the implications of of the decisions we make regarding our diets will take time and careful research. We must learn the facts behind nutrition,not observing misguided and misinformed myths. Uncovering the truth is the first step in understanding what we need to inject into our bodies for optimum health.
What Is the Science of Nutrition?
Nutrition science is the study of how the human body processes and uses the foods and drinks people consume, how it affects physical and emotional health, and the creation of healthy eating plans. It takes into account what happens to food once it enters our bodies and how we can use nutrition to prevent or manage physical and mental health conditions.
The Relationship between Nutrition and Health
The relationship between nutrition and health is incredibly strong. The food, vitamins, and minerals we eat enable our bodies to function properly, transmit nerve signals, build bones, strengthen muscles, regulate our hormones, and defend against infections. Eating healthy and balanced meals, they provide our bodies with the fuel and nutrients that are needed to grow, develop, and function efficiently and optimally.
Common Myths about Nutrition
There are a variety of myths floating around the nutrition world, that needs to be debunked in order to gain a better insight into the science of nutrition.
Myth 1: “Carbohydrates Make You Fat”
Recent research disproved this falsehood, revealing that it is not carbohydrates but excess calories that can lead to weight gain. High-fiber, low-calorie carbohydrates from plants, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, provide essential energy for healthy functioning and should be included in a healthy diet.
Myth 2: “Calorie Counting Is the Most Effective Way to Lose Weight”
Although calorie counting can be beneficial in the short-term, it is not a long-term solution. Reducing calories too drastically can lead to nutrient deficiencies, dry skin, fatigue, and bloating. The body needs a variety of nutrients such as complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats to function properly. Eating nutritious, balanced meals will help to sustain weight loss in the long-term.
Myth 3: “You Should Follow Low-Fat Diets”
Once upon a time it was believed that consuming low-fat diets was the best way to lose weight and maintain health. But research has shown that eating low-fat foods can be unhealthy and can deprive our bodies of essential fat-soluble vitamins and essential fatty acids. Good fats such as olives, avocados, and nuts are essential for our bodies and should be included in a well-balanced diet.
Myth 4: “Detox/Cleanses Are Necessary for Optimum Health”
While some believe that ‘detox’ or ‘cleanses’ are the answer to all our health problems, they are often unnecessary. We already have naturally-occurring processes to rid the body of toxins, and regular exercise can help detoxify the body. Dietary changes such as limiting processed foods, alcohol, and sugary items and replacing these with fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins can also help.
In order to understand the science behind nutrition and our dietary needs, it’s important to know the concepts of macronutrients. Macronutrients are the molecules that provide energy in the form of calories to the body.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. They are complex molecules composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, and can be found in a wide range of foods such as grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, and dairy products. Eating a balanced amount of carbohydrates a day is necessary for proper digestion and health.
Protein is a macronutrient that helps to build and repair body tissues. It can be found in foods such as legumes, eggs, nuts and seeds, dairy products, fish, meat, and soy products. Eating an adequate amount of protein can help with weight maintenance, muscle strength and development, and optimal performance.
Fats in the diet are essential for proper functioning of cells and hormones, vitamin absorption, and immunity. Although they are higher in calories than proteins and carbohydrates, they help to keep us full and satisfied and should not be avoided from the diet. Eating a moderate amount of healthy fats from olive oil, nuts, eggs, and avocado is advised for maintaining overall health.
Vitamins & Minerals
Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients that are essential for proper body functioning and healthy development. They can be found in a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and animal products. Eating an adequate amount of these micronutrients is important for supporting all body systems and organ health.
Creating a Healthy Meal Plan
Creating a balanced meal plan is essential in order to achieve good health and maintain the necessary nutrients our bodies need.
Step 1: Planning
The first step in creating a healthy meal plan is to plan out what meals and snacks you will have throughout the day. Write down exactly what dishes you will have, in what quantities, and the particular ingredients that are needed.
Step 2: Shopping
Once you the components for your meals are decided, shop for all the required ingredients. Avoid processed and refined foods and opt for nutrient-dense, whole food ingredients when possible, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and healthy fats.
Step 3: Prepping
Once you have all the ingredients, it’s time to start prepping. You can break up the process into smaller steps, such as washing and chopping the fruits and vegetables, cooking the proteins and grains, and assembling the meals.
Step 4: Eating
Once everything is ready and prepped, eating the meals at designated times can help maintain a healthy diet. Eating at the same time of day and spacing out meals into smaller, more regular meals can help boost metabolism and sustain energy levels.
Despite the complexity of the science of nutrition, it is incredibly important to learn the facts and debunk the myths. Eating nutritious, well balanced meals can help to support all body systems, improve physical and mental health, and reduce the risks of certain diseases. A healthy eating plan should include all macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals, and a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins, to keep the body functioning optimally.