The Science of Healthy Eating
Nutrition experts and those who specialize in dieting give advice on what foods to consume. Rather than talking about it, I would love to explore the reasons behind why we consume food in the way that we do, and how that can be altered. This guide is intended to provide the necessary scientific knowledge and techniques needed to achieve the desired outcome.
It is clear to the majority of us that good nutrition brings numerous advantages. Your vigor increases, your well-being gets better, and your efficiency flourishes. Eating in a healthy way is vital for maintaining a healthy weight, which reduces the chances of suffering from type 2 diabetes, certain kinds of cancer, heart issues, high blood pressure, and lots of other health issues. (Genetics also plays a significant role.)
How to Make Healthy Eating Easier
Many believe that constructing advantageous practices or altering one’s behaviors is largely dependent on dedication or inspiration. The more I study, the more I’m sure that the primary factor in altering behavior is the surroundings.
The places where you live and spend time can significantly influence your behavior. Nowhere is this more true than with food. The food we have in front of us on a routine basis is usually determined by what is available.
How to Eat Healthy Without Noticing
Brian Wansink, a professor at Cornell University, has conducted several investigations into the way external conditions influence dietary choices. The concepts included in his widely acclaimed work, Mindless Eating (audiobook), provide the source material for many of the ideas discussed below. These are some of the top methods he suggests for utilizing decision architecture to facilitate eating more healthily.
1. Use smaller plates. Bigger plates mean bigger portions. And that means you eat more. According to a study conducted by Wansink and his research team, if you made a simple change and served your dinner on 10-inch plates instead of a 12-inch plate, you would eat 22% less food over the course of the next year.
In other words, you can’t just assume that reducing the amount of food on your plate will solve the problem. If you only take a tiny amount of food from a large plate, your brain does not feel content. Eating the same amount of food off of a smaller plate can make it seem as though you are consuming more.
2. Want to drink less alcohol or soda? Use tall, slender glasses instead of short, fat ones.
Drinks that are tall appear to be larger than those served in cups that are not vertical. Tall glasses make portions appear larger, so you will consume less than when using shorter glasses. Typically, when drinking from a tall, narrow glass, you would consume about 80% of the amount that you would from a short wide one.
3. Use plates that have a high contrast color with your food. When the color of your plate matches the color of your food, you naturally serve yourself more because your brain has trouble distinguishing the portion size from the plate. Because of this, dark green and dark blue make great plate colors because they contrast with light foods like pasta and potatoes (which means you’re likely to serve less of them), but don’t contrast very much with leafy greens and vegetables (which means you’re likely to put more of them on your plate).
4. Display healthy foods in a prominent place. For example, you could place a bowl of fruits or nuts near the front door or somewhere else that you pass by before you leave the house. When you’re hungry and in a rush, you are more likely to grab the first thing you see.
5. Wrap unhealthy foods in tin foil. Wrap healthy foods in plastic wrap. The old saying, “out of sight, out of mind” turns out to have some truth to it. Eating isn’t just a physical event, but also an emotional one. Your mind often determines what it wants to eat based on what your eyes see. Thus, if you hide unhealthy foods by wrapping them up or tucking them away in less prominent places, then you are less likely to eat them.
6. Keep healthy foods in larger packages and containers, and unhealthy foods in smaller ones. Big boxes and containers tend to catch your eye more, take up space in your kitchen and pantry, and otherwise get in your way. As a result, you’re more likely to notice them and eat them. Meanwhile, smaller items can hide in your kitchen for months. (Just take a look at what you have lying around right now. It’s probably small cans and containers.)
If you buy a substantial amount of something unhealthy, break it up into individual portions to help prevent overeating. Put the food into Ziploc bags or containers instead of eating it straight out of the box.
What Should I Eat?
I want to make explicit at the beginning of this that this is not a manual about food choices. This guide explains why we make the food choices that we do and what steps can be taken to alter them. In other words, I’m offering two ideas about what food should be included on your plate.
1. Eat more greens. There isn’t a consensus on the best diet, but pretty much everyone agrees on one thing: eat more veggies. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a single diet that doesn’t think eating more plants is a good idea.
2. Eat a variety of foods. As we covered earlier, the brain craves novelty. While you may not be able to replicate the crunchy/creamy contrast of an Oreo, you can vary your diet enough to keep things interesting. For example, you could dip a carrot (crunchy) in some hummus (creamy) and get a novel sensation. Similarly, finding ways to add new spices and flavors to your dishes can make eating healthy foods a more desirable experience.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland. Try changing up your meals to experience a variety of tastes and textures. It may be more enjoyable than continuously eating the same dishes. At some point, it may be necessary to embrace monotony.
Carbohydrates have become, surprisingly, quite controversial. Some people ardently praise carbohydrates for their benefits, while others harshly criticize them as being nutritionally dangerous. It is essential to comprehend that carbohydrates are a comprehensive range of compounds that can influence many bodily processes.
The typical adult requires around 1500 – 2000 calories to keep up with their everyday activities. It all comes down to an individual’s body mass, age, height, gender, activity intensity, and daily exercise regimen when determining the total amount of calories necessary for them. If someone works out regularly, they will need to eat more calories. Generally, people assume they are consuming fewer calories than they actually are and assume they are burning more calories through physical activity than they actually are. This can result in consuming an excessive amount of calories in one day. Getting an extra 3500 calories will result in a one-pound increase in weight. If a person consumes an extra 200 calories each day, they will gain one pound of body weight in approximately 18 days. At that speed, an additional 20 pounds could be added in the span of one year. Naturally, this increase in the number of calories consumed could be balanced out by doing more physical activity. Running or jogging one mile burns almost 100 calories.
What we eat influences our metabolic rate. Carbohydrates need to be expended less energy to metabolize than proteins do. Carbohydrates require the lowest energy input when broken down, while protein requires the highest amount of energy to metabolize. The total weight is usually determined by the balance between the number of calories consumed and the number of calories expended. For a person to shed pounds, it is essential that the amount of calories they expend daily be greater than the amount of calories taken in.
High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Food producers are always on the lookout for cost-effective ways to manufacture their items. Replacing sucrose with high-fructose corn syrup is a widely used method for cutting expenses. High-fructose corn syrup is composed of equal parts glucose and fructose, similar to sucrose. Despite this, the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup going up in the US has been linked to a rise in obesity levels, making it a very contentious issue.
Substitute sweeteners are just choices to table sugar and other monosaccharides and disaccharides that convey a sweet taste.
Macronutrient protein is also composed of small repeatable particles just like carbohydrates. Rather than consisting of sugars, proteins are composed of amino acids.
Proteins can be classified as either complete or incomplete. All nine of the essential amino acids that the body needs can be found in abundance in complete proteins. Examples of complete proteins are found in animal sources, including meat, fish, milk, and eggs. Inadequate amounts of one or more of the necessary amino acids are found in non-complete proteins. An example of an incomplete protein is one that does not offer enough of the necessary amino acid leucine. Leucine is a restricted amino acid because an insufficient amount is present for the protein to be whole. Generally speaking, plant-based foods are not full sources of protein; some exceptions include soybeans.
It isn’t accurate to refer to LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) as “bad” and “good” cholesterol respectively, even though this terminology is commonly used. Cholesterol is cholesterol. High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) and Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) both have cholesterol present, but they are actually types of lipoproteins that will be discussed further. There is no need to incorporate cholesterol into your food intake because the human body has the capability to manufacture enough of it.
The simplest definition of fiber is indigestible matter. Something indigestible cannot be broken down by the digestive process in the small intestine and will end up in the large intestine.
There are three major fiber classifications:
- Dietary fiber: This type of fiber contains both nondigestible carbohydrates and lignin and is always intrinsic and intact in plants.
- Functional fiber: This type of fiber contains nondigestible carbohydrates only and can be isolated, extracted, or synthesized. Functional fiber can be from plants or animals and produces beneficial physiological effects in humans.
- Total Fiber: Fiber that contains both dietary fiber and functional fiber.
Vitamins, which are found in foods, are an intrinsic component of the biochemical reactions that take place within the body. These organic compounds are essential for the body to operate. These substances take part in a variety of activities, such as regulating mineral and bone metabolism, contributing to cell and tissue development, and assisting with energy metabolism. Moreover, they serve as catalyzing agents for the metabolism of these same functions.
B Vitamins have the most significant impact on the metabolism of any vitamins.
Most of your vitamins come from the food you eat while some are formed when certain precursors are broken down in your digestive system. The body can produce Vitamin A out of the β-carotene present in foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes, which are commonly of an orange hue. Vitamins are either fat-soluble or water-soluble. Vitamins A, D, E, and K, which are able to dissolve in fat, are taken in through the digestive system in combination with lipids in chylomicrons. Sunlight triggers the synthesis of Vitamin D within the skin. Fat-soluble vitamins, which can be held in the fatty acids, can amass in the lipids kept in the human body. Too many vitamins being kept in fatty tissues in your body can lead to hypervitaminosis.
Vitamins that can be dissolved in water, comprising the B vitamins as well as vitamin C, are taken up in the gastrointestinal tract when taken with water.
These vitamins are able to be transported through bodily fluids that are composed of water, so they are not kept in the body. Excess water-soluble vitamins are excreted in the urine. Consequently, it is not common to experience an overdose of water-soluble vitamins, except in the event of taking too many vitamin supplements.
Inorganic compounds present in food work alongside other nutrients to guarantee that the body carries out its functions correctly. Minerals must be consumed as part of the diet and cannot be produced internally. The quantity of minerals present in the body is scanty – accounting for only 4 percent of a person’s body weight – and it largely consists of substances that are necessary to maintain a healthy body, such as potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, and chloride.
The bones of the body contain calcium and phosphorous, both of which are essential for the strengthening of the skeleton. These minerals are the most frequently found in the body. Most minerals exist as ions, and their ionic forms take part in bodily processes all over the body. Salt and chloride ions are part of the electrolytes within the blood and fluid of cells, while iron ions are essential for hemoglobin production. There are trace minerals, although they are needed in lesser amounts, that are still essential for the body to run properly.
The One Phrase That Will Help You Eat Healthily
The way you speak assists in strengthening your feeling of authority and command. Additionally, the language you utilize establishes an ongoing cycle in your mind that shapes your future habits.
As an illustration, whenever you utter the phrase “I can’t”, it serves as a continual cue to yourself that there are constraints you must abide by. This phraseology shows that you are obliging yourself to do something that you don’t desire to do.
When you say to yourself “I don’t”, it reinforces the idea that you are in charge and possess authority over the circumstances. This phrase can motivate you to let go of your bad behaviors and adhere to your beneficial habits.
Dr. Halvorson serves as the head of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University. This is how she describes the contrast between asserting “I don’t” versus “I can’t”…
Experiencing “I don’t” as an option gives us a sense of control and authority. It’s an affirmation of your determination and willpower. “I can’t” isn’t a choice. It’s a restriction, it’s being imposed upon you. Believing that you are unable to do something undermines your feeling of control and influence over your own life.
Saying “no” can be seen as a form of self-empowerment. “I can’t” isn’t a choice. It’s a restriction, it’s being imposed upon you.
Put differently, the expression “I don’t” is a psychologically robust way to refuse, in contrast to the expression “I can’t” which can weaken a person’s mood when saying no.
It is possible that the most significant outcome of a change in language could be the alteration of one’s mentality. You can now employ your new, strengthened mentality in possible upcoming scenarios, resulting in completely disparate outcomes in the long run after making a minor alteration.