Because nutrition is so important, we decided that the June issue will feature the first chapter (less tables and figures) of Dr. Tindall’s book, Nutrition Made Simple. And, it really is; the basics of nutrition are not complicated. So, while you’re on vacation this month, enjoy.
CHAPTER 1: THE BASICS (excerpted from Nutrition Made Simple by Dr. James Tindall)
A friend of mine, at the relatively young age of 34, began to develop kidney stones on a regular basis. Within a few months of passing one or two of these stones, he would be back in the hospital for another removal procedure. This process continued for two years. He exercised somewhat regularly, was not overweight, and otherwise appeared in good health. I had counseled him many times about his problem and the cause, which I told him, was not only poor, but bad nutrition. He drank on average about a six pack each day of diet soda, would not eat vegetables and generally ate a poor diet. Never believing me, he sought a second and even a third opinion. The opinions all concurred – the cause of his problem was diagnosed as poor nutrition. Despite his college education and intellect, he quickly discovered how easy it had become to make poor choices that hadn’t shown any bad effects health for years. His choice not to eat vegetables, not to take supplemental vitamins, to constantly eat fast food while on-the-go, and to drink soft drinks by the six-pack daily finally took their toll. And, it was not just kidney stones, but a long list of health problems that followed, including reduced immune system health, asthma, and other serious symptoms. He learned as you should, that about 90 percent of all of your personal health problems and diseases are related to poor nutrition!
The information in this book is based upon sound scientific principles, not marketing hype. The goal of this book is to teach you the basic concepts about nutrition so that you can become your own nutritional expert. This book will teach you all you need to know about nutrition and the importance it has in your life, longevity, and well-being. To look and feel your best, you must eat well; you must also exercise. Included in chapter 4 are a 4-week menu plan and a 4-week exercise program. Success in nutrition and exercise-based health, like success in other areas of your life, requires setting goals and being persistent to achieve them. If you want to lose 10 to 30 pounds or even more; if you want to make good nutrition part of your lifestyle; if you want to look and feel your best, you’ve chosen the best book to help you get there. Best of all, you don’t need a Ph.D. to succeed because you are you and unique from all others. And, it’s much simpler than you think.
Daily, we are constantly bombarded by would-be nutritionists and those that wish to sell the next gimmick, inferring that by taking some magic pill or using some dietary supplement, pounds will melt away quickly with little effort and you will look and feel ten years younger.
Tip: There is no magic pill or elixir for your health that will make your body what you want it to be.
Hollywood stars release their own versions of diets that many begin to practice because of stardom status, disregarding the fact that such people usually have no background in nutrition. Instead, they succeeded because of a qualified professional working behind the scenes helping them at every step. Looking and feeling great or looking years younger is possible, but it takes a little effort.
Tip: The only way to look and feel your best is to eat a healthy diet combined with exercise!
By eating well and spending about 3-5 hours per week exercising, you can have the best body and energy level you need to succeed.
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After you have studied this book you will have considerably more knowledge than the average person, many personal trainers, and even many doctors about the nutrition that is right for you. While I will not discuss in detail what each vitamin or mineral does within the body, I will discuss the relation between fuel sources, vitamins, minerals, water, and exercise that are crucial to great health and for good performance in any physical activity. You will gain insights about how nutrition works regarding the three main fuel sources your body needs, i.e., carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, as well as sugar in the diet, and dispel nutrition myths that you’ve heard from many and varied sources, including well known magazines and celebrities. I will show you what and when to eat, and how to develop a good menu. You will learn to recognize the falsehoods behind diets and their minimal value in an overall nutritional plan. The real facts about the ‘no-carb’ craze and it’s affect on the body will be revealed. Likewise, you will learn that a belief that skimping on meals and relying on vitamin and mineral supplements is detrimental to long-term health. While supplements can provide vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and dietary fiber (the primary fuel sources for energy used by the body for exercise and other activities), supply them best. The three main fuel sources – carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are called macro-nutrients. The dietary fiber gained from eating these macro-nutrients, especially from whole foods, provides bulk for a healthy digestive system that may prevent such diseases as colon cancer.
The ability to routinely engage in any physical activity requires good health. Whether you enjoy that weekend golf game or friendly tennis match at the local park, your performance in such activities depends on a nutritious diet that must supply needed nutrients. To have the best health, you also must have a good nutritional program, and for best performance, this program should also be linked with regular exercise. You cannot have one without the other. I will show you how to easily do this.
Do you believe you need vitamin and mineral supplements? Are you eating too much fat and cholesterol? Should you become a vegetarian? Are all junk foods bad? If you are confused about what to eat, then welcome to one of the largest clubs on the planet! Almost daily there are major headlines that trumpet what we should eat and why, only to discover later that this information was wrong. For example, will eating no or low-carbohydrate diets promote weight loss? Yes, for many it will, but after a few weeks your body will become accustomed to the new regimen and additional success will be very slow or be gone entirely. Also, for the long term, a deficiency of calcium and weakened bones can result. Research has shown that there is no better way to slow or even reverse the process of aging itself and all age-related degenerative conditions than through the combination of anaerobic, aerobic, and strength-building exercises combined with a balanced, nutritious diet. Best of all, it’s not rocket science.
Following are a few nutritional concepts and basic principles that you should be aware of:
- About 93 percent of diseases that most Americans experience can be due to poor nutrition.
- Good nutrition should include a diet that includes a variety of foods.
- Nutrients are classified as carbohydrates, lipids (fats and oils), proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. The most energy rich nutrients are fats and oils (lipids).
- The major focus of your diet should be on food itself, not nutrient supplements. You should increase fruit and vegetable intake before relying on nutritional supplements. Add supplements for insurance, i.e., “just in case.” These include chelated multiple vitamins and other supplements such as additional vitamin C for the very active.
- Good health should place a greater emphasis on nutrition rather than merely the taste and texture of food. Unfortunately, the latter is how most of us choose the foods we like.
- Focus on your total diet and be aware of the junk foods that you eat. It is okay to have some but be sparing in their consumption.
- Genetic inheritance influences our health; your family history of disease such as diabetes can be an important influence on what you eat. Also, your culture and upbringing, to a great extent, influences the types of foods you like. Be aware of this
The leading causes of adult death, which accounts for about 65 percent of all deaths in North America, occur from some form of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or high blood pressure (hypertension). And, this percentage appears to be increasing. The greatest tragedy of all is that most of these diseases are preventable through good nutrition and regular exercise. Everyone has their own ideas about nutrition and you have probably heard them all from want-to-be experts to celebrities who espouse nutritional supplements, restrictive diets, special diet concoctions, and all kinds of bio-chemical nutrition. My goal is to help you learn and establish a good knowledge foundation about nutrition so that you can make these important decisions for yourself and so that you will not be led astray by those who will know less than you.
The ‘Council on Food and Nutrition of the American Medical Association’ has defined nutrition as the science of food, the nutrients, and the substances therein, their actions, interaction, and balance in relation to health and disease, and the process by which the body eats, digests, absorbs, transports, utilizes, and excretes food substances. Whew, quite a definition! Let me put the definition in lay terms.
Tip: Quite simply, nutrition is about the food we eat, how it is used by your body, and how it relates to your health and longevity.
As you would suspect, nutrition is very complex. However, the basics of nutrition are simple. Let me show you.
A small amount of specific information will go a long way in preparing you for a lifetime of health. Better yet, it is never too late to start. With proper, basic nutritional information, you do not need to be a registered dietician to plan your own menus. Following is some concise information about nutrition that will help you. This book will not attempt to tell you for example that vitamin D facilitates absorption of calcium and phosphorus or that vitamin K helps form prothrombin and other factors for blood clotting. Instead, let me show you how food is generally used in the body and the keys to get the most out of a variety of food sources—how to make wise food choices. Most nutritionists will agree on what are the best foods, the value of diets, and why you should make healthy food choices part of your lifestyle.
Tip: Use common sense and moderation in your nutritional plan.
Be skeptical and seek proof that a diet or supplement works. Generally, when someone is trying to sell you a dietary supplement, diet, or other program, a wide variety of marketing tactics will be used, which will come from numerous sources. Many claims used in these marketing schemes are simply not true. Compare them to what you read here. If you cannot understand how or why a process, supplement, or diet works, treat it with doubt. Once you become your own nutrition expert it will be easy for you to recognize bogus information about nutrition. Remember, as in all sales, these experts and claims will say why their product or diet works better than the others, i.e., that theirs is the only real solution to your problem. When, in fact, you are the solution! Yes. You are the solution to your own nutritional problems.
With today’s on-the-go lifestyles, fad diets invade our society for various reasons. These reasons include: money making, fame, and quick-fix adages for the average person. These quick-fame success plans (restricting one or more macro-nutrients—carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) always fail. Years of proper nutrition are what make you better, not quick-fix diet plans. Since we are all biochemically different from each other, it’s another reason to stay away from these avenues of nutrition. The general result of a diet is that you lose weight by restricting food intake and eventually feel starved all the time. When you quit the diet, you fall into a binge eating mode and in a short time, are back where you started. The other route is the restriction of certain types of food such as carbohydrates. This will create a craving within the body and, like before, the result is the same. This is the fundamental reason diets never work for more than a short period. If you try a diet, it should be only for a short term to achieve an initial goal.
Tip: The real key about nutrition is to train yourself to eat the right kinds of foods and correct portion sizes for your caloric needs.
Starving your body in one area and oversupplying it in another with various nutrients simply causes physiological imbalances that the body will adjust to for a short duration of time, but rebel against long term.
Tip: Eating 100 calories per day more than needed will cause a weight gain of 10 pounds in one year. What would happen if you ate 100 calories less per day and rode a stationary bike in the gym or at home for 20 minutes per day for five days per week? You would lose about 25 pounds in one year, perhaps more! Would this be difficult for you?
It is illegal in the United States to falsely represent questionable or dangerous cures and medical devices. Thus, you can use your right under federal law to have the FDA pursue a seller of a dangerous fad diet book or supplements to have them removed from the shelves. How can you recognize a fad diet? Following are the ‘Common characteristics of ‘Fad’ Diets:
- Fad diets promote quick weight loss that usually results from glycogen, sodium, and lean muscle-mass depletion. All of these methods lead to a loss of body water, which is easily regained;
- Fad diets limit food selections and dictate intake of a specific food at specific times such as only fruit for breakfast or, no carbohydrates;
- Fad diets generally utilize testimonials from famous people and relate or link the diet to well-known cities such as Hollywood or New York;
- Fad diets portray themselves as a cure-all, i.e., that they will work for everyone;
- Too often, fad diets recommend expensive supplements, some that can be harmful because of recommended high dosage rates such as vitamins A, D, or B-6;
- Fad diets make no attempt to permanently change your eating habits. Normally, one stays on the diet until the desired weight is lost then, stops. Once the desired goal weight is achieved, a person generally reverts quickly back to their old eating habits. Once they do, the weight lost during the diet is quickly regained.
- Most of these fad diets commonly proclaim skepticism about the scientific community and the scientists and medical professionals that strive to share information to the public at large so that they remain healthy.
More often than not, diets suggest that dieticians and doctors don’t want you to lose weight and encourage you to look outside these trained professional’s areas of expertise for ‘better’ advice. Such claims are ridiculous. Why? My response to you is an analogy. If you want the best advice on how to play golf do not ask Tiger Woods, Gregg Norman, or another well-known golf pro. You should instead seek such advice from those who have better expertise in golf, such as Mario Andretti the race-car driver or Harrison Ford the actor. Do you see how preposterous this is? And yet, that is what so many people do. Doctors and dieticians do not want you to be obese and out of shape because it makes their jobs much more difficult. And, typically they are not the individuals or groups selling quick-fix diet schemes.
The cruelest characteristic of all diets is that they guarantee failure! Diets are not designed for permanent weight loss because, again, they don’t change your eating habits. Food selection is very limited, which makes it impossible for you to remain on the diet long term. Instead of losing fat, most people on such diets lose lean muscle mass; this is detrimental for proper and lasting fat loss. The more retained lean muscle mass you have, the greater your advantage to truly lose and burn your fat. Finally, quackery is the most common characteristic of fad diets. How does your current diet stack up to the above list?
Following is a list of the typical approaches that fad diets normally illicit:
- Moderate Calorie Restriction;
- Macronutrient Restriction;
- Low Fat (this usually implies high sugar—the enemy of weight loss);
- Novelty Diets;
- Very-Low-Calorie Diets (VLCDS);
- Formula Diets;
- Pre-measured Diets (See table 1.1 for a partial list of diets in each category. Also, for those who have used diets for some time now, you will recognize diets in the list that are no longer on the market – this table will not be included here but is available in the book).
Many of us are constantly on-the-go and often find it difficult to eat on time or to have a home-cooked meal. Such busy schedules make it more difficult to follow a good nutrition regimen. There are some keys to eating on the run. Fortunately, many of the fast-food restaurants have evolved beyond hamburgers and French fries as they consciously attempt to cater to healthier-minded individuals. Still, between 40 percent and 50 percent of the energy in most quick-service selections come from fat. If you find yourself eating at fast-food restaurants, choose your food selections wisely. For example, let’s take a mental trip to our local Burger King fast-food restaurant. We’re in a big hurry to eat and get back to our business meeting where we’ll likely be sitting for the rest of the day. Let’s examine two choices. I want to get a whopper with cheese, medium drink (a Coke) and fries. Or, I can get a BK Broiler, water, and no fries. The first choice will give me 1,228 calories with 46 percent of them from fat. Choosing the latter will give me 380 calories with about 40 percent from fat. This is a big difference in calories. If you are a 100-pound person, choosing the whopper with cheese will give you all of your total daily caloric needs. Even if you’re a 200-pound person, the first choice would give you over half of your daily caloric needs. And, since many of us will snack later in the day and perhaps eat a large dinner, this choice would cause over eating. Weight gain will be the result of such continued choices. Let’s take another quick mental trip to Wendy’s and opt for a BLT Cobb Salad, small cup of chili and water. The total calories are 510. Again, a simple, wise choice, results in a large reduction in total calories compared to a burger and fries. And, 400-600 calories is about right for a 150-180 pound person to eat for a major meal.
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It’s just too easy to overeat daily. The average American eats about 3,900 calories per day when the average calorie requirement is less than 2,000 calories per day. One poor choice can reward you with lots of unwanted calories. It’s all a matter or reading the label to start and begin a general understanding of how much you are eating. Remember, the fast food place isn’t out to get you, their menu selections are based on quickness of preparation, i.e., food served fast; therefore, it is up to you to make the best choice for yourself! When you find it necessary to eat fast foods because of a hectic schedule, make wiser selections from the menu as shown above – a small salad, grilled chicken, cup of chili, etc. Avoid the large burgers, fries, and sweet sodas. Learn how many calories the exercise you like burns so that you can balance calories eaten with calories burned (see table 1.2 – this table will not be included here but is available in the book).
Tip: At fast food restaurants opt for chili or chicken (broiled and skinless) in lieu of a double cheeseburger and fries. Also, watch your sugar content; I’ll discuss more about this later. Combine your diet with some form of exercise.
Most people stay in decent shape until about the age of 35. Typically, when we reach this age, the body’s metabolism slows, and we often slip out of shape through little or no exercise, eating too much of the wrong kinds of food, and eating at the wrong time. What you eat and when you eat determines, to a large extent weight gain or loss.
To combat the slowing of your body’s metabolism and/or lack of exercise, good nutritional preparation and planning are necessary. Nutrition is a composite part of exercise and is as essential as a good workout program. For example, you can eat properly, but over exercise or you can train well and have poor nutrition; either way, your progress is restricted because one of these regimens will become the “limiting” factor. Since metabolism slows as you age, the calories you need daily decrease. But, a common problem is that as we age, our eating habits remain unchanged. Thus, the average person will continue to eat the same amount of food, although the body doesn’t require it. The result is a very slow weight gain. During this same time, since muscle mass is being lost through both sarcopenia (decrease in muscle mass and strength with age) and somatopause (The fall in the growth hormone (somatotrophin) is predictable and the effects profound. Growth hormone descends slowly, taking other hormones, and your youthfulness, with it. Hormone decline is a matter of choice.), it is slowly replaced by fat. Because your weight appears to remain constant, the flab goes unnoticed until you take a hard look at yourself. No one will force you to consistently perform a good workout regimen or practice a sound nutrition program. Ask yourself a simple question. Do I want to use a walker to get around when I’m 50, 60, or 70 years old?
There are two ways to combat sarcopenia and somatopause: (1) eat less; and (2) exercise more. Discipline and self-motivation are the primary keys to staying healthy.
Tip: Take the stairs whenever you can rather than elevators and escalators or a short walk after lunch or dinner and choose baked or broiled foods instead of fried foods.
There is so much more to discover about nutrition that is beyond the scope of this book, so don’t get frustrated with all the details. Nutrition is but another tool for your personal tool chest that you use for maintaining good health. It is a vehicle for success, just like exercise. The two-pronged approach of nutrition and exercise enhance and complement each other. The key is to discover the proper balance for you — between nutrition and exercise. To help with this key, I will summarize the eight essential keys to nutrition. These keys should be followed each day and include:
1) Biochemical Individuality—you are unique from everyone else
2) RDA’s (if you are active you need more)
3) Minimal junk food (prepare your own meals whenever possible)
4) Eat 5 to 6 small meals per day (meal frequency)
5) Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fat (eat adequate amounts of each)
6) Water supply (drink about 4 to 8 glasses per day)
7) Vitamin and Mineral Supplements (eat proper amounts)
8) Physiological dynamics (pursue your nutritional plan for 6 months or more for best results)
By following these eight simple keys to nutrition, you will build a leaner and healthier body and generally have greater longevity than those who do not and, you will be able to lose weight. Now, we’re not talking about being Ms. or Mr. Universe here, it’s all about how you feel about yourself and the way you look, not what others think. By implementing a sound nutritional program, you will discover the tools to better recovery and greater endurance. Most of us would be best served to plan a good diet that adheres to the basic principles of the Food Guide Pyramid developed by scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that emphasizes high-carbohydrate foods (complex carbohydrates not sugar). Also, protein intake in excess, above that available in a normal diet, is usually not necessary. Nutrient supplements need be taken only to correct actual deficiencies in nutrition or for low nutrient intake; a “just in case” insurance. The more you dine out, the more vitamin and mineral supplements you will need due to poor nutritional quality of some of these foods. Water and other fluids should be liberally consumed when possible to remain hydrated. The more you exercise and active you are, the more water you will need. Adjust caloric intake to your activity; higher activity requires more calories. These are the basics of nutrition. In the following chapters I’ll show you how to do this and provide tips that will make it easy. Once you have a good knowledge of basic nutrition, you’ll be off to a great start.
Tip: More calories in than calories burned (out) become weight gain; eat fewer calories to weigh less. Weight loss or gain is all about energy; that’s what food is – energy.
Note: the above is copyright by Dr. James Tindall and MyHealthandFitness. It may not be copied or reproduced by any means without express written consent.