Experts in the nutrition, fitness and health sectors are all in agreement that these never-ending fad diets or quick hits are, int he long-run, nothing but a waste of time and simply never end well for the person trying to gain results from it. However, this shouldn’t put you off from getting yourself perked up and inspired about improving your diet – particularly ‘on trend’ with the new year new me theme, right?
You’ve made the first small step – which is a proven positive, as featured in my last blog post – by swapping out the festive treats with healthy alternatives; the next hurdle isn’t always as simple. By this, I’m talking about people neglecting to remember that just because it’s good for you doesn’t mean you can open the floodgates and smash as much of it as your tum can take!
It’s not simply a case of losing fat with the notion of energy in vs energy out, although it is a solid place to kick things off from.
There are very few professional nutritionists or dieticians who would recommend counting calories – instead, they’ll recommend counting nutrients as a much more sensible way to go. But we all need to remember that the quantity of food you’re eating is important as well.
Everything Can Be ‘Unhealthy’
That’s right, there’s nothing that can’t become unhealthy to your health if consumed to excess, and that’s right down to the most basic things such as water!
Specialist dietician Nichola Ludlam-Raine recently told The Independent: “Foods that are high in fat and low in nutrients, such as fries, doughnuts, crisps, chocolate and cake should definitely be kept to an ‘occasional’ food, but when it comes to foods that are high in fat and high in nutrients we can indeed have them more frequently.”
It’s critical to get your portion size right though.
Did You Know?
Fats contain in excess of twice the number of calories in every gram as protein and carbs; (nine Vs four).
By consuming calories that exceed your daily needs on a regular basis, it will result in weight gain. Yes, we should be getting 30% of our calories from fats, but it’s essential to stay in line with recommended serving sizes.
Experts ram this home now because of trendy health food such as avocado, houmous, natural nut butters, dried fruits and dark chocolate.
How Much is Too Much?
Here are the recommended portion sizes from diet professionals:
- Avocado– half a large one or one small one
- Houmous– two to three tablespoons
- Nut butters– two tablespoons/30g
- Dried fruits– 30g (around five dried apricots, four dates or two to three figs)
- Dark chocolate– 30-60g
The foods I’ve mentioned above have health benefits galore! Those avocados that are begging to be smashed and snapped for the ‘gram provide a wealth of essential fats. Nuts, nut butters and houmous are also sources of healthy fats and some tidy levels of protein, while dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids (an antioxidant) and dried fruits offer plenty of fibre to benefit from.
Know Your Portion Sizes
Just remember, portion sizes can fluctuate depending on how physically active you are, so it’s not a one-portion-for-all kind of thing. The portion sizes included earlier are recommendations and not strict guidelines.
For people who are regularly physically active, it’s s must that you fuel your body with additional energy or you won’t see effective results.
Putting foods on the naughty step and leaving them out isn’t what’s being said here; the examples above are all super good for you in the right amounts, it’s just important to be aware of how much you’re eating.
Are you concerned about what your portions sizes should be? Check the NHS guidelines. You can also get in touch with a registered nutritionist or dietician and find out more from them too – this can help put your mind at ease and help you find a long-term health/weight goal.