In all the confusion, it's easy to get lost in what exactly it is you should be looking for. Good nutrition, despite its wholesome origin, has become a vast multi-million, if not a billion dollar industry.
The thing is, good nutrition is much simpler than all the labels and diet guides will have you assume. For one, good nutrition is natural. This means that the wholeness of the food you eat (without too much processing), the closer it is to good nutrition.
Another key element or factor to consider is the principle of unique and individual needs. Nutrition is often generalized, but it will ultimately boil down to each individual’s unique needs.
What Is The Definition Of Nutrition
Good nutrition can be summed up by the following principles:
- Good Nutrition manages your desired energy balance
- Good Nutrition is a complete source of essential nutrients
- Good Nutrition improves health and prevents illness
- Good Nutrition causes positive change
- Good Nutrition takes care of the environment as much as your body
Let’s take a look at each of these points and see how each comes together to paint a picture of what you should eat and what you will get out of it.
Good Nutrition manages your energy balance.
What is energy balance? Simply put, energy balance is the ratio between what you eat and what you use in terms of energy. You may have heard of the principle of calories in vs. calories out.
Energy balance is fundamentally based on this. A positive balance is when the calories you consume are more than what you burn. This type of balance is often referred to as a caloric surplus.
When you have a negative energy balance, the number of calories you consume is less than what you use up through daily activity. This is referred to as a caloric deficit.
When your intake and output match up, your balance is neutral and this is known as maintenance, when you are eating as much as you burn. Good nutrition allows you to effectively manage your energy balance based on needs and goals.
If your goal is weight loss, a negative balance (deficit) is what you require. While you might say, “oh, that's simple, I’ll just stop eating”, the problem is, your body still needs nutrition to function healthily.
A good nutrition plan tweaks your macronutrients (carbs, fat and protein) while maintaining the right number of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
So if your goal is a negative balance, you would typically eat more protein and fiber rich foods (because protein is more satiating, making you feel fuller for less food). This low carb diet can help you shed off extra pounds while also keeping it going with all the good stuff.
Ask your nutritionist to plan some low carb easy dinners aimed at weight loss such as low carb pasta recipes.
Good Nutrition is a complete source of essential nutrients
As mentioned, micronutrients are an unavoidable, essential aspect of good nutrition. These vitamins and minerals are responsible for some of the more subtle, vital functions in your body. They cannot be produced naturally so you need to eat in order to get what you need.
Americans today suffer from many micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamin D, B vitamins and zinc to name a few. These deficiencies have led to a year on year decline in quality of life.
This is mostly due to the heavy processing and convenience of fast food that governs the nutritional landscape of America today. Being mindful about whole, unprocessed foods, and basic education on what micronutrients you need and why you need them is a necessary step towards achieving a truly healthy diet.
Good Nutrition Improves Health and Prevents Illness
When it comes to health and disease, most people have been conditioned towards fixing the problem rather than stopping it from happening.
How many times do you visit the doctor when you’re sick as opposed to when you just what to make sure everything is okay?. The same can be said about our food. We eat all types of junk and only act in response to what that junk does to us.
Obesity, diabetes and heart disease management are all response treatments to poor diet. We could simply eliminate the cost of expensive blood pressure and diabetes meds if we simply focused on the quality of the food we eat.
Again, whole unprocessed food and a mindful management of energy balance is the key towards optimized health and disease prevention.
Good Nutrition Causes Positive Change
Good food is a force of change. What is the definition of nutrition, when you eat well, your body, and even your mind will appreciate it. From body composition, to internal function and even mental state, good nutrition directly correlates to positive change.
For example, increasing your intake of omega 3 fatty acids (of which most Americans are deficient) will lead to optimized fat burning, increased heart health and a boost in mental focus. These positive changes don't just mean your own health, they also make you a productive and positive member of your family and society.
Good Nutrition takes care of the environment as much as your body
One contentious issue in today’s world is our impact on the environment. It’s an unavoidable reality at this stage, and aside from the typical culprits such as deforestation and the oil industry, our food consumption habits also play a key role.
Good nutrition is often good from the get go. That means the way it is grown, harvested and processed (or not processed) have an impact on the planet. High volume commercial food will emphasis production over quality and this often leads to destruction of the environment from the harvesting/farming phase, all the way to how the food is packaged, distributed and sold.
Sourcing your food from places like farmers markets, or even growing and hunting your own is one way of making sure you’re eating good.
So there you have it folks. What is the definition of nutrition, good food means a good mood for you, society and the planet in general. Use these 5 principles to help guide you to the right nutritional decisions.
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