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Nathan DeMetz Personal Training

Nutrition and Eating Healthy: The Facts

French toast with blueberries and bananas

There is a lot of confusion into what nutrition is and what eating healthy means. There are a lot of so-called experts that offer contradictory feedback. Social media influencers are trying to get traffic top all of the supplements or meal prep services that they are endorsed by.

It leads to one big confusing environment for people who are out here trying to get fit and do not have the depth of an experience that I do or that other experts do.

So, allow me to attempt to simplify this for you in this blog post.

What is the definition of nutrition?

The dictionary definition of nutrition is “the process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth.” Or simply food and nourishment. When looking scientifically, it is considered the branch of science that deals with the nutrients and nutrition, particularly in humans.

That does not really seem to clear things up.

Perhaps the simplest way to think about nutrition is a cumulative number of things that you consume in a given day. For example, all the food and drink that you put in your mouth today is the nutrition that you provided yourself.

If you want to keep it simple about the basic understanding of nutrition, just realize that all the food and drink that you put in your mouth today is the nutrition that you provided for yourself.

Now with the textbook definition, nutrition is neither defined as good or bad healthy or unhealthy. Well, it does mention health and growth, but it does not define either as good or bad.

This is where we get a lot of interpretation and people's myriad attempts to define what healthy eating is.

Let us take a look at how health is defined.

Are you healthy?

On the surface, being healthy means that you are free of disease both physically and mentally. For example, free of cardiovascular disease when thinking of physical disease. This is a very prevalent term in the United States and worldwide.

Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

A commonly understood mental disease across the world is depression. Mental disease typically goes by names other than mental disease and are instead referred to as disorders or some similar wording.

Regardless of the exact wording, there is suggestion of an unhealthy brain at work. These kinds of diseases or conditions are harder to define due to the limited understanding that humans as a world have of the human brain.

But the basic idea here is that there are diseases of both mind and the body that affect the overall health of the body.

In addition to being free of disease, health is defined by how well your body works. For example, the quicker you can run, typically the healthier you are in terms professional measurements.

Apply the same idea to strength, mobility, or other areas of physical expression. But, really, on the surface, being healthy is defined as being free of physical and mental disease.

By that definition, if you are free of physical or mental disease then you are healthy on a basic level. This basic level is the basis upon which fitness can be built and improved.

But how does nutrition tie into that and what is healthy eating?

Healthy Eating Is a Myth

You read that right: healthy eating is a myth. That is there is no one pattern of eating that is in and of itself healthy. Do not look at these various diets out here or particular food types and think that they are inherently healthy or unhealthy.

These are simply nutritional strategies and food types, nothing more.

What makes your diet healthy or unhealthy is how it affects your body acutely and chronically. That is, how it affects your body now in the moment and over time in terms of your health.

For example, if you drink 10 shots of alcohol right now, you are going to feel pretty bad, and that is an unhealthy place for you to be, acutely speaking. You may experience alcohol poisoning, which is a very acute expression of harm.

However, if this is the only time in your life that you do it, you are probably not going have any real health issues related to it. In fact, once your hangover goes away and you stop throwing up, you will probably be fine.

That said, if you drink like that on a regular basis, you are going to see damage to various parts of your body over time, notably the liver. You will develop some form of liver disease if you engage in heavy drinking chronically.

In that same vein, if you eat fatty foods on a regular basis, especially in high amounts, then you may see your triglycerides increase. High triglycerides in the blood are more commonly referred to as high cholesterol and this is a cardiovascular disease.

So, if you eat fatty foods you are going to get a high cholesterol, right? Maybe not. If you are only doing it occasionally you are probably not going to have any lasting impact, whether acutely or chronically.

Connecting the dots

Healthy eating is simply a pattern of eating that helps keep you free of disease. But it is not just the healthy eating that determines if you are going to be free of disease, but also the way you are taking care of your body.

Healthy eating is the process of consuming food and drink that supports your physical function, without having any significant acute negative effect and certainly not chronic negative effect.

If you want to have an alcoholic drink, have one, but maybe you do not need to have six every day. If you want to have some fried chicken, eat it, but maybe do not eat it for every meal, every day.

One of the best ways to determine if you are eating healthy is to visit your doctor on a regular basis to have your health assessed. If you are getting a clean bill of health from the doctor year over year using the activity and eating strategy that you do, then you are probably in a good place.


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