Food Quality, Artificial Sweeteners & Adherence

Food quality

Understanding food quality, how many calories foods contain and how nutrient dense they are will help you improve your diet, energy levels and overall health.

By this stage, you now know a calorie is a unit of energy and weight loss and weight gain comes down to calories in vs calories out. If we’re in a calorie deficit we will start to lose weight and if in a calorie surplus we will start to gain weight.

Ideally, we would consume all our calories from high nutrient dense foods with no processed foods or “junk” food

However, I always say we have to enjoy food and life. There’s a well known 80/20 rule that states if you can get 80% of your calorie needs through nutrient dense foods and leave 20% of your calories allocated to “fun” foods, you’re doing well!

Although we can lose weight by just eating junk food, it’s important to know that there’s essential nutrition our bodies need in order to function properly and survive.

Another issue with “junk” food is that it’s often high calorie, low volume food so it’s easy to consume your daily calorie needs easily without necessarily feeling full which can lead to overeating and weight gain.

So my advice would be, as mentioned, focus on getting the majority of your calories from nutrient dense sources, but still leave space for treats and foods you enjoy more, aside from tasting amazing, they can also help with adherence to your lifestyle and consistency which will help you get better results over time!

Artificial sweeteners 

As with above, I always advocate eating minimally processed foods whilst focusing on nutrient dense foods. 

One way to still enjoy sweet stuff is by using artificial sweeteners. I often drink 0 calorie soda as well as 0 calorie syrups on my pancakes and 0 calorie jelly.

It’s often been believed that 0 calorie foods and drinks that use artificial sweeteners are worse than full sugar drinks/foods. However, current studies show that in order for artificial sweeteners to have negative health effects, they’d have to be consumed in near impossible amounts daily.

Again, ideally, you’d drink a good quality mineral water, but this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy 0 calorie sodas or 0 calorie foods as part of a nutritious healthy diet.

Adherence 

Just a final note on the information above. I know this may be new to a lot of people and the thought of including “junk” food or artificial sweeteners as part of a healthy diet sounds crazy but this is where adherence comes into play.

I’ve said a few times now, that ideally, we would only consume natural foods that are nutrient dense but I also said we have to live and enjoy life too. If consuming some “junk” food keeps us on track with our goals and that “junk” food is what plays a key role in us staying consistent with the other 80% of our diet, then that “junk” food really does serve a purpose.

I’ve worked with clients in the past that had an all or nothing mindset like they had to change everything at once. After working with them, including sweet treats and foods they enjoyed helped them improve their adherence to the rest of their diet which helped them get much better, sustainable results.

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