This blog will be focusing on Diet Hacks. Hacks of all kinds are a really popular idea right now. “Everybody” wants to hack nutrition. They want to hack exercise. They want to hack health in general.
It’s easy to understand why people want hacks. Who doesn’t want more return for less effort? That just makes good sense!
Fortunately there are areas where you can get more results with less effort. In cardio conditioning, if you do specific high intensity interval training in smart ways, you can actually get more from your workout in less time. If you are looking to grow strength, to grow muscle, you can actually get more done with your workouts in less time if you understand how it works.
With nutrition, however, you can't get the nutrients you need in your body in any other way than getting the nutrients you need through food, beverages, and supplements.
That being the case, the ultimate Nutrition Hack, then, would be finding out precisely what it is your body needs so you can give it precisely those nutrients at the right time rather than guessing at what your body needs.
Most everyone, however, is guessing; both individuals and practitioners alike. I don’t like guessing. So, for years now I’ve been learning about and yet staying mostly out of making significant nutritional recommendations.
If you go back far enough in history nobody worried about nutrition. People didn't know much about it though I’m certain they quickly figured out the things that were poisonous and toxic! Generally, though, the food that was available was the food that was available and that's what people ate. Whatever health came their way, that's what they had and they dealt with it the best they could.
Obviously, over the millennia people learned that food affects how they feel and their overall health. When you go beyond your moment-to-moment experience of your body, whether you are comfortable or not comfortable in a given moment, and look at nutrition in terms of long-term health and well-being, the discussion changes.
The discussion goes from “how do foods and substances I put in my body make me feel in the moment?” to “how is putting this food or substance in my body serving me over the long run?”
Certainly comfort foods and substances can make us feel really good in the moment, whether from the taste, the physical feelings after eating that food, or both.
However, depending on the comfort food and one’s unique body composition at the time, a particular comfort food may not be helping them in the long run. Liver pate or liver and onions (which many people don’t like) can be an absolute comfort food for some and serve their health fabulously. Yet, with a different internal composition, that same liver pate or liver and onions may be quite detrimental to their health.
Unfortunately, there’s no real way to hack junk foods that are sugar rich or that have alcohol in them. These are generally bad for anyone’s health, especially in quantity and higher frequency. I liken these types of foods to that “friend” who is really fun and friendly when you are with them but, the minute they leave, they start talking trash behind your back and saying unkind things about you.
Anyway, down the road we pay a price for eating foods that are contrary to our physical needs. “Down the road” can be anywhere from a few minutes to days or even years later. In sum, “diet hacks” just do not work out because they are incomplete, short term solutions for complex, long term problems.
Interested in learning more? Check out the next blog in this series, Types of Diets, to learn if the foods that you are eating, either through habit or through a specific diet, are providing your body what it particularly needs. Or, contact us today to schedule your Nutrition Consultation today!