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What is healthy eating?

There are literally thousands of magazine articles, TV programmes, diet books and YouTube videos advising us on how to eat well and telling us what we should and shouldn’t be consuming. It can be both daunting and really confusing to decide which advice is sound and sensible and which is misleading or indeed, a reuse to encourage us to purchase some special ‘diet pill’ or new-fangled ‘superfood’.


We know that healthy eating is about in to your body, the food that it needs not only to survive, but to give us sufficient and beneficial nutrients for energy, weight management and strength, not only for the body, but for the mind too!


It’s also about balance. We all know that if we sit and eat chocolate all day we are going to gain weight and feel terrible, as we know that if we eat nothing but lettuce all day our weight will plummet and not in a good way at all. Going to both extremes will have a pretty devastating effect on our overall health and ultimately, lead us to long-term illness.


There are lots of arguments today that suggest that eating a low-fat or calorie controlled diet isn’t the way forward for weight management and indeed, general health and wellbeing, and many low-fat options are cleverly disguised as such and contain more sugar and chemicals than in fact the higher calorie options. Many personal trainers advise that to keep a strong and healthy body in tip top form, a ‘good’ fat, high protein and sensible carb diet option is the way forward.


The ethos of many personal trainers and nutritionists is to be sensible with your diet and exercise regime. The 80% kitchen, 20% gym term is now considered the stats to think on when it comes to getting fit and maintaining it. High protein and good fats (such as oily fish, avocado, eggs & coconut oil) and good carbs with a low glycaemic index, on the days when you are training or exercising is also advised.


Sugar is considered the devil’s food in many nutritionist’s eyes, as it carries very little or no nutritional value, causes spikes in insulin levels, leading to more consumption of the white stuff and in many cases, addiction. Sugar addicts tend to have mood swings, headaches and can often, be overweight. Replacing sugar with low GI foods which release energy slowly in the body can regulate insulin levels, reduce cravings and ultimately lead to weight loss.


Taking into account any health conditions you may have is extremely important when considering your nutrition and your GP can offer some advice on which diet is most healthy for you if you do have a specific concern. For example, if you suffer from diabetes, a paleo or low-carb, high-protein diet may be advised, and avoiding refined sugars altogether and sticking to a measured amount of carbohydrates could be the sensible option. However, you should always obtain expert medical advice before embarking on any new diet regime for a specific medical condition.


In short, for your body to function well and to stay in good shape, opting for a diet high in vitamins and minerals, eating plenty of fresh vegetables (monitor fruit intake as it contains sugar and though it’s fructose, is still a sugar), clean proteins, low GI carbs and avoiding refined sugar, artificial ingredients and carbs with poor nutritional value can be a great platform to start from.


It should be said however, that for most of us, if not affected by medical conditions which state otherwise, the odd slice of cake here and there can be a welcome treat and indeed, food for the soul!