Fitness

Nutritional No-No’s For Great Fitness

November 28th, 2013 by

Skip these habits and your fitness regime (and waistline) will benefit hugely…

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Don’t overdo the carbohydrate – The body needs carbohydrate, especially when exercising regularly, however the most common mistake people make is loading themselves up with way too much of the wrong types. Cakes, white bread and huge bowls of white pasta are not going to help you get fit, healthy and lean. You need to focus on complex carbohydrates like brown rice, quinoa and millet and sweet potato to provide you with energy.

Don’t forget protein! – The western diet tends to be very carbohydrate-heavy. With cereals for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pastas and pizzas for dinner, protein is a mere afterthought. Getting into the habit of building your meals around lean proteins will make a big difference to your fitness levels, muscle tone, energy levels and overall health. Focus on eggs, fish, lean meats, poultry, nuts, seeds and natural yoghurt.

Forget soft drinks – Often people focus so much on their food intake that they forget that drinks can add a huge amount of calories and sugar to their daily intake. Sodas are obviously a no-no for regular consumption, but there are lots of drinks that look relatively innocent however are simply swimming with sugars. All fruit squashes and juices add an enormous whack of sugars (whether artificial or real) which are generally speaking best avoided. Opt for water, with fresh lime, lemon and mint leaves to make it more exciting. Drink herbal teas, like green tea and peppermint tea.

Ditch the ‘low-fat’ – Low fat versions of natural foods are not the healthy option. Take low-fat yoghurt for example – the fat-soluble vitamins and natural fats are extracted only to be replaced by sugars and chemicals in order to compensate for lost flavour. The fats that have been lost are hugely nutritious, containing super nutrients such as vitamin D and A. The fats that have been extracted are also absolutely not responsible for weight gain, if eaten in sensible portions. The irony is that the sugars that are replacing fats in low-fat products are what make you fat! So ditch low-fat yoghurts, animal products and hummus, and always go for the full fat versions which nature intended.

It’s not all about fruit – People tend to eat far more fruit than vegetables. Fruit is easier to snack on, and the sweetness lends to its popularity, but a higher intake of vegetables is important for your health. Fruit does contain many essential vitamins and minerals, and therefore 2-3 portions a day are recommended, but no more due to the high fructose content. Go for berries, apples and melons rather than grapes and exotic fruits as these are lower in sugar and higher in fibre. Vegetables are far lower in their sugar content, and you should be focusing on getting as many portions of different colours into your diet as possible. Opt for green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and watercress as these are packed with nutrients.

Be wary of sports drinks and products – Just because you can buy them at the gym does not make them healthy! Often sports drinks are packed with sugars or aspartame, and may give you a burst of energy but only in the way a chocolate bar would! 100% pure coconut water is nature’s sports drink, but avoid flavoured versions as these are often the equivalent of a can of cola in the sugar stakes. Good old fashioned water is perfectly hydrating too! Sports bars and shakes also require some investigation – some are very high quality, but many simply provide an unnecessary whack of sugars and chemicals. Learn to check food labels!

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