Introducing Nutrition
Written by Luke Wade on May 19th 2020
Nutrition can get confusing. With so much conflicting research over the years and the magazine fad diets it begs the question: what is the diet? Do we go native with Paleo? Or ought we go Keto, or perhaps even Atkins?

We've all heard the old adage "Food is fuel". It's a cool metaphor which simplifies things a bit, but to us human beings food is so much more. In addition to the three king macronutrients - carbohydrates, fat, and protein - food houses the other vital micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), zoochemicals (found only in animals), phytochemicals (found only in plants), water, fiber, and maybe even some mysterious yet-to-be-discovered organic molecules. Not all of these directly fuel us, but every single one plays a vital role in how we function day to day.

Regardless of your current nutrition orientation - vegetarian, pescatarian, perhaps pure carnivore - inherent influences ultimately culminate to determine efficacy. For starters let's talk genetics. Remember that guy or girl in grade school who already pretty much had a stacked deck before they even began participating in athletics? With natural strength and speed, or that body that made you green with envy? Some already have raw talent or greater capacity to acquire that talent from the outset, just as many have their bodies pre-programmed to metabolize food more efficiently to power their bodies through daily activities and exercise, as well as energy utilization and storage. But fret not if this isn't you. Genetics is merely the beginning.

Next we arrive at exercise. E is for effort here ladies and gentlemen - the intensity, duration, and type of exercise performed can help advance or override your proclivity toward healthiness or, in this context, the way nutrients are converted to support you. I like to think of this as the latter high school years as you see a few mystery kids come out of the woodwork to join the ranks of the established elite. I'd think "Whoa! That's pretty cool."

Now we come to physiology and psychology. It's no mystery that we are all wired differently, as we all have unique personalities and exhibit individual disparities in brain and digestive system development, among other things. Some of us are more intrinsically motivated - when we think of our future selves and the sacrifice it'd take to get there through nutrition modification, we go at it and pursue it wholeheartedly. In the other camp, we require a little more prodding and outside influences to drive us toward our goals.

Finally we have environment. If you've ever heard of "Nature vs. Nurture", this is the nurture side of things. Sure, we may have the genetic makeup and might be exerting as much control as we can to optimize our success in a nutrition and fitness program, but unfortunately we cannot control everything. Living conditions such as air and water quality, and crime rate as well as food availability and scarcity are but a few curveballs that might be thrown our way as we seek to navigate and decipher the nutrition code.

But back to the original question - what is the diet?!

Well, there is no one universal true "best" diet. As we've briefly explored above, we are all unique and show many differences including but not limited to body type, fitness level, budget, time, age, ethnicity, and nutrition knowledge/diet history. A 1500 Calorie diet may be beneficial for a moderately active middle aged woman, but a Dallas Cowboys linebacker would be doomed with such meager intake relative to caloric expenditure.

So I won't deliver the perfect diet here, as none exists (as we know today). However, I can feed you a few simple tips to help you periodically. Baby steps are key - small changes at a time will set you on a path toward moderation and consistency, perhaps continual lifelong improvement and maintenance.

Berardi, J., Andrews, R., Pierre, B.S., Dixon, K.S., Kollias, H., & DePutter, C. (2019). The essentials       of sport and exercise nutrition: Certification manual (3rd ed.). Precision Nutrition, Inc.

Luke Wade

Meet Luke Wade, international fitness consultant specializing in the overall health and wellness of professional women. Luke has helped a multitude of driven women achieve and maintain their fitness goals. Client success is his top priority. Luke Wade is your partner in overall health, mindfulness, fitness, and wellness.
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