Thursday, March 6, 2014

My Nutrition Wasn't Cut-Out with a Cookie Cutter

Nutrition. What a fun and enjoyable topic. Especially when referring to diet. And, not just any diet but, you know, diet-diet. Because technically a diet is the foods/nutrients consumed during a day for nutrition. But, over the course of who knows how many decades we've managed to twist it into this negative word limited to how we've altered it for the fastest, quickest weight-loss results.

And the information available on the world-wide web is endless.



Um, and not exactly fool proof.

My  personal preference is to start looking at food as a source of nutrition, energy, and optimum bodily function. If you want to lose weight then you need to ensure you burn more calories in a day then you consume. Obviously, for optimum health it’s better if those calories have valid nutrition and aren’t what we call empty calories. If done correctly you can lose weight without feel deprived or hungry all while nourishing your body as it continues to deal with the impacts of every day life (Chek 2014).
You know, a no-diet diet.

Of course, that means a one size-fits-all is not the best approach in nutrition for every individual! Getting a better understanding of each macronutrient - carbs, proteins, and fats - is important along with how your body specifically responds to consumption of each. Singularly, and in relation with each other.
I've never been one to conform in other parts of my life, so why start now...

Personally, I’m not a huge promoter or supporter for the MyPlate anymore than I had been of the pyramid scheme.
Ok, that last remark may have been a bit too snarky, but we have a tendency to misinterpret the specifics of where those calories come from and force this very detailed diet plan on every body.
No, not everybody but every body - because we are individuals with very individual cellular structures, metabolisms and demands.

I’ve been doing a little more reading on nutrition and diets in reference to long term choices that match a body’s needs and have discovered research regarding a body’s genetic make-up/ancestry. Wolcott and Fahey (2000) state:

Each cell in the body “knows” how to be a perfect cell – it’s designed to be healthy and to efficiently perform the functions for which it was created.
But, unless the genetically required raw materials are available at the right place, at the right time, and in the form that can be utilized inefficiency at a cellular level will result. (18)

This expounds upon the thought that a plan that is considered healthy for those in one part of the world can actually be disastrous and even lead to malnutrition or nutrient deficiencies to those who reside in another part of the world. They even reference what use to be the pyramid projections which has now been altered to MyPlate because it wasn’t exactly working, just like before it was the pyramid it was the 4-food-group.
(I admit, I do want to do more research on this topic as so far my knowledge is only limited to what this book as presented, but even a quick search will allot one information provided by the government showing it or "they" have been creating, changing and recreating nutrition advice for nearly a century.)

I personally have a problem with how it breaks down the foods into even smaller categories, adding to the confusion of what falls within which macronutrient.
For instance, the current MyPlate states the need for a section for fruit, a section for vegetable and a section for grain but they all fall within the carb-macronutrient category. I know the categories are supposed to make it simple for everyone to understand what needs to be consumed but it’s not.
I recently had to explain to my son that a fruit and vegetable are both carbs and his vegetable with supper was sufficient for his daily intake; and, most recently, I had a similar discussion on a personalized diet plan considering biochemical and physiological diversity with my husband who stated if he eats a starch or gluten/grain based carb at some point in the day he knows his body will not respond well if the choice is repeated so he has a different type of carb (vegetable/fruit) for supper.

These two examples follows the concepts are provided by Clark et. el., (2014) regarding consuming a percentage of each macronutrient over the course of the day. If you look at the percentages presented they are as follows:

Protein: 10-35%
Carbs: 45-65%
Fats:  20 – 35%

Now, if you were to add the lowest or highest percentage you would get 75% and 135%, respectively; which, in my interpretation means you can mix and match, in a way. Instead, the MyPlate presents a plate that nearly looks like 75% should be carbs and 25% protein.
Plus milk, which technically falls in the protein macronutrient, but I digress.

For my husband this is perfect, it is actually how he eats and if he consumes a higher percent of protein, from any source, he feels bogged-down. For me, I’ve discovered I feel better if my diet is more 35% protein, 25% fats and only 50% carbs with very little being gluten based. I feel healthiest and energized and my body functions at its best.

However, this actually goes against the MyPlate presentations. Wolcott and Fahey (2000) sums it up best with:

“We all need a full spectrum of nutrients. But different people have genetically programmed requirements for different amounts of various nutrients. It is these differing genetically based requirements that explain why a certain nutrient can case one person to feel good, have no effect on another, and cause a third person to feel worse.

Which is why you can have a person following a well-planned vegan diet and be absolutely radiant of health and another follow the exact plan and visibly show signs of inefficient nutrition; and, a person follow something similar to the Atkins diet and be at optimum health but another follow it and feel sluggish and bogged down. Ultimately, an Eskimo wouldn’t be meeting their genetic nutrient requirements if their diets became more fruit-carb based any more or less than someone south of the equator if they increased their consumption of fats/blubber.



A Brief History of USDA Food Guides. (2011, June). Retrieved from Choose My Plate:
Check, P. (2014). How to Eat, Move and Be Healthy!: Your personlized 4-step guide to looking and feeling great from the inside out. San Diego: A C.H.E.K. Institute Publication.
Clark, M. A., Sutton, B. G., & Lucett, S. C. (2014). NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training. Burlington, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning.
Wolcott, W. a. (2000). The Metabolic Typing Diet. New York, New York: Broadway Books.

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