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November 12 - Nutritional Choices

The principles that should guide our healthy food choices were taught in grade school

It comes as no surprise in a society that demands immediate results in the least amount of time and involving the least amount of sacrifice that something as simple as nutrition is surrounded by controversy and confusion.

Like many components within the health & fitness formula, some nutritionist gurus/quacks would have you believe that when it comes to nutrition, one must split the atom. Marketers of these nutritional racketeers lead us to believe that, "If you've got an ill … we've got a pill".

Can't sleep? Take a pill! Stressed out? Take a pill! Want to loose weight? Take a pill! Enhance sexual potency? Take a pill! Increase muscular strength/size? You guessed it … Take a pill!

Nothing could be further from the truth. We were taught nutritional guidelines (whether the 'four food groups' or the 'food pyramid') in elementary school. Why? Because nutrition is a simple, or rather, an elementary concept to learn. We would all benefit by going back to those third grade lessons and reviewing those nutritional principles:

Principle 1: Eat a variety of foods

Contrary to dietary supplement industry propaganda, all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals can be found in FOOD. Eat a variety of foods and your nutritional requirements will be met. The most used cop out for this principle is, "I don't eat a balanced diet so therefore I need a dietary supplement." You don't need a dietary supplement. What you need is to make better food choices.

Principle 2: Eat in moderation

Some would have you believe that there are 'bad foods' and 'good foods.' The truth, however, is that any food eaten in excess is bad and all foods eaten in moderation are good. Excessive eating has given rise to 25% of Americans being clinically obese. Rather than eating only when hungry and stopping when full, many eat for the wrong reasons. Food is a source of energy and provides the essential elements for a healthy metabolism … period. It is not a means to relieve stress, a source of comfort, a cure for marital distress or any number of analgesics we use food to salve our emotional wounds.

Principle 3: Maintain proper hydration

The human metabolism, like the automobile engine, runs most efficiently when proper fluid levels are maintained. Water helps in the body's thermoregulation, provides a medium for cellular chemical activity and assists in the removal of wastes. If fluid levels are compromised, the body will suffer detrimental physiological consequences. Unlike the stomach, which is an accurate gauge for informing you when it needs more fuel, the thirst mechanism is usually behind one's actual needs. For this reason, particularly when working/exercising in hot/humid environments, the following guidelines should be strictly adhered to:

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