Unlocking Nutrition: Expert Insights to Answer Your Most Pressing Questions

As a nutrition coach, I often receive questions from clients about various aspects of nutrition and healthy eating. Today, I’ll address some of the most common questions I encounter and provide you with expert answers to help you on your journey to optimal health and wellness.

1. What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet is one that is balanced, varied, based on whole, minimally processed foods and most importantly sustainable. It includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Aim to fill your plate with a colorful array of nutrient-dense foods to ensure you’re getting a wide range of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition, so focus on finding what works best for your individual needs and preferences.

2. What is the difference between added sugars and total sugars on the food label?

Added sugars are sugars that are added to foods during processing or preparation, while total sugars include both naturally occurring sugars and added sugars. By paying attention to the added sugars listed on the food label, you can make more informed choices about the foods you consume and limit your intake of added sugars, which can contribute to weight gain and various health issues when consumed in excess.

3. What supplements should I be taking for weight loss or muscle gain?

While supplements can be helpful in certain situations, they are not a magic bullet for weight loss or muscle gain. It’s always best to focus on getting your nutrients from whole foods whenever possible. However, some supplements that may be beneficial for weight loss include protein powder, berberine, and fiber supplements. For muscle gain, protein supplements such as whey protein or creatine may be helpful. As always, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

4. How can I get enough nutrients without consuming too many calories?

Focus on choosing nutrient-dense foods that provide a high amount of nutrients relative to their calorie content. This includes foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. Fill your plate with these nutrient-packed options to ensure you’re getting the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants your body needs without consuming excess calories. Additionally, paying attention to portion sizes and practicing mindful eating can help prevent overeating and ensure you’re meeting your nutrient needs without going overboard on calories.

5. Why can’t I seem to resist sugar cravings in the evening?

Believe it or not, struggling with sugar cravings in the evening isn’t solely a matter of lacking willpower. It’s super common and can be triggered by various factors, including stress, boredom, or habit. What most people don’t realize is that our bodies have a natural aversion to starvation. When we deprive ourselves of food for extended periods or try to drastically cut calories, our bodies go into what I like to call “override mode.” This is a survival mechanism designed to protect us from potential famine.

Here’s how it typically plays out: You might skip breakfast because you’re rushing out the door or trying to save calories for later. Then, as the day goes on, you continue to restrict your food intake, either because you’re busy or because you’re trying to be “good” with your eating habits. By the time evening rolls around, your body is in full-on survival mode, and those sugar cravings kick in with a vengeance. You find yourself reaching for anything and everything in the pantry, followed by a sugar binge right before bed. You end up feeling uncomfortably full late at night, which disrupts your sleep and leaves you feeling tired and groggy the next day. And so, the cycle continues.

One strategy for combating evening sugar cravings is to plan ahead and have healthier snack options on hand, such as fresh fruit, yogurt, or a small handful of nuts. Additionally, practicing mindful eating and paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues can help prevent mindless snacking and reduce cravings. By giving your body the nourishment it needs when it needs it, you’ll prevent those intense sugar cravings and set yourself up for success in managing your eating habits and feeling your best.

I hope these answers have helped clear up some of your most pressing nutrition questions! And if you decide you need a hand navigating the twists and turns of wellness, reach out, let’s partner up.

Until next time, stay healthy and happy!

Aimee, Nutrition Coach

P.S. Do you have a nutrition question that wasn’t answered here? Feel free to reach out, and I’ll be happy to help!