If you've been following this blog, then you remember my last post about the struggles with our ancestral systems and the present-day diet. If you haven't read the previous post, and are interested in doing so, click this link to be directed accordingly (Nutrition & Evolution: The Big Picture).
In a nutshell, the image above summarizes the nutritional problem we face today. Survival requires using food as energy. But, contrary to the past, food is abundant. This means we can receive sufficient amounts of energy from immediate food sources and our developed ability to store energy is outdated.
Today, there is very little use for storing energy as fat, but our bodies do it anyway! So, how do we fix it?
The best, but most difficult solution to this dilemma is time. Time can and will supply evolution the means for eliminating this vestigial process. Some people are already experiencing this. It isn't a secret that some people are genetically incapable of storing fat and, unfortunately, others are. For those that are stuck in the later (most of the population), we need to find other means to stay healthy without preserving energy as fat for later
If we can't (necessarily) control the way our bodies function and metabolize food, then we need to focus on the part of the process that we can control, food. Take a good look again at the equation presented in the title image. What the image doesn't present is the important fact that the equation operates in succession. Meaning, digested food is first metabolized efficiently; and then, the excess is stored for later use! Therefore, by controlling what we eat, we can limit the amount of food going into fat and help speed up the disappearance of this evolutionary setback. This is the theory! So how do we turn this theory into practice?
In order to completely limit this outdated process we need to understand the factors of food that control what is being outpoured into our fat storage system:
1) How much we eat (quantity) & 2) What we eat (nutrient density)
How Much We Eat
One of the most true statements in the world is, "Too much of anything, is bad" by Mark Twain. Mr. Twain follows this statement with a comical line that I will leave for you to pursue if you are interested, but this statement fits completely into the scheme I am presenting. You see, even if you are eating the right things, too much of it can be excessive to metabolize, causing your body to store it as fat. Overeating is one of the most prominent elements of obesity, especially here in the U.S. The National Health Service recommends eating 2000-2500 calories a day just to maintain your weight. That many calories can easily be met in one meal. Here is an image from an earlier post I did about relative serving sizes and if you are unsure where you stand when it comes to quantity and nutrition, you should try a calorie counter to help put things into perspective.
What We Eat
Now lets talk about the food we need to eat. Here at CALIsthenics we define "good food" as food that is high in nutrition. But, this can be misconceived, because some foods are high in nutrition but also high in other "useless" substances. For example, potatoes have a lot of vitamins and nutrition in their skin, but the majority of the food is actually starchy chains of sugar. This means that our body will efficiently metabolize all of the materials that are of nutritious value, but the excess, unused materials in the potato will overflow into the second part of the equation to be stored as fat. For this reason we want to focus specifically on foods that are nutrient dense!
The ANDI Score is a scoring system used to rank foods per calorie. These are the nutrient dense foods that we want to cater our diets to since they can provide the most "bang for our buck". If we are ingesting the right foods, then we can limit the amount of "excess" calories that will outflow into the second half of our equation, fat storage.
Eating right is as much about the amount you eat, as it is about what you eat. The important thing to realize is that, although we are predisposed to store fat, we can control it. When eating right, you'd be surprised how many little calories you need to sufficiently supply your body. Being healthy is about understanding these mechanisms and then practicing them. Attached are some links with a greater list of foods and their ANDI Score for your own interest:
So make the change today! There is an alternative healthy food to every unhealthy food out their. Find a way to eat right and counter the outdated system of storing fat for good. As always, please feel free to leave any comments, questions, or concerns and I will do my best to address them.