What Is Good Nutrition
Defining good nutrition isn’t as simple as looking up a word in the dictionary. It is about which foods to eat and which to avoid? What if you are trying to gain muscle mass or lose a few extra pounds—does that change the definition of good nutrition?
Good nutrition is about more than just calories in. It’s also about how you expend them, what they’re working toward, and what they achieve. Here, we’ll explore the top four characteristics of a good nutrition plan:
- Balanced energy
- Nutrient density
- Balanced goals
- Honest outcomes
Balanced Energy for Good Nutrition
The relationship between incoming and outgoing energy seems straightforward: eat more calories to gain weight, eat fewer calories to lose weight, or find a balance of calories to maintain your weight. However, if you’re looking to gain or lose weight, you’ll also want to assess the rate at which you do so.
Consuming too many calories too fast leads to more than simple weight gain; it also raises your risk for:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Various cancers
And, as you can guess, losing weight too fast also poses a few risks:
- Hormonal changes
- Reduced metabolic functions
- Lack of concentration
- Reduced reproductive functions
A controlled change in nutrition, keeping the balance of energy from jumping to either extreme, allows the systems in your body to adjust naturally, from your hormones and metabolism to your mood and physical performance. Good nutrition plans use balanced energy to support healthy goals. Therefore, the approach to good nutrition means keeping the balance of energy in mind. This includes progressing the change slowly and in a way that works well for the body to change but also to adopt new lifestyle changes.
Nutrient Density for Good Nutrition
What you eat is just as important as how much you eat—good nutrition will maximize the food you consume. You can get the most out of your food intake by understanding nutrient density: the number of nutrients in 100 calories of a food. For example, you’ll get limited nutrients from a plain bagel with cream cheese that will pack on the calories, while foods like spinach and lean meats offer many more nutrients without an overwhelming number of calories. Many people often lose nutrient density by consuming too much of the wrong kinds of fats. Remember, good nutrition shouldn’t make you work harder to meet your goals; in fact, it makes it easier to support a healthy body.