With all the buzz around nutritional science, it’s no wonder nutrition questions start popping up at work, at the kitchen table, and on family outings. With the right background information and the right tools, you can easily answer nutrition questions and boost your confidence in your nutrition knowledge.
What do we know about nutrition? A lot of health professionals (including medical doctors) believe the best way to thrive is to eat a balanced diet that’s low in fat and high in fiber. Other experts, including naturopaths, believe that food is best understood as medicine and that a healthy diet can be as effective as pharmaceuticals in treating diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Hey there, food-curious readers! Sometimes, you find yourself at the grocery store, or in a restaurant, or at the doctor’s office, or at a friend’s house, or walking down the street, or with a friend at the gym, or at a concert, or at the gym, or at the movies, or anywhere at all—and you find yourself asking people, “Why is it so hard for people to eat healthier?”
If you’re passionate about nutrition, health, and fitness — or already work in one of these professions — you’re certainly inundated with diet and nutrition-related questions from friends, family, clients, and/or patients.
That’s why we prepared this cheat sheet, which includes evidence-based, simple answers to the most often asked questions, all of which are covered in our newly redesigned Level 1 Certification program.
If you work in the health and fitness industry, you probably get a lot of inquiries about food and nutrition.
Even if you’re just genuinely interested in health and fitness, you’re likely to be bombarded with inquiries.
It can be tough to come up with the proper answers because:
- The correct response is determined by the questioner. Are you a young athlete? Is this a middle-aged man? A woman in her sixties? Whether you’re actively coaching or simply have a diverse social network, you’ll be bombarded with queries.
- There are numerous aspects to nutrition. Macronutrients, micronutrients, supplements, insecticides, genetically modified organisms… So, where do you begin?
- There’s a lot of misinformation out there concerning nutrition “facts.” Is red wine good for you or bad for you? Is red meat an option? Eggs? What about that brand-new plant-based diet?
The truth is that no dietary question has a one-size-fits-all solution.
However, if you establish a solid basis in nutrition, you can:
- learn how to effectively identify the demands of each individual,
- understand how specialized nutrition can help them achieve their objectives, and
- produce greater results for them with confidence and consistency
(Check out the video below to observe PN Coach Jeremy Fernandes explain this article.) If not, please scroll above the video player or go to the next section by clicking here.)
You’ll begin to lay that foundation with this article.
We’ll go over the following topics:
- What’s the truth behind the most often asked nutrition questions?
- Why is it important for each person’s physiology to be unique?
- how the circumstances of each individual might influence your response,
- how to deal with diet fads (Paleo, carb-phobia, etc.), and
- how you can start using what you’ve learned today
Of course, this “cheat sheet” is only the beginning. There’s so much more to discover.
Please add your name to our Level 1 Certification presale list below if you’re excited and motivated by what you’ve learned today and want to learn more about the program.
We’re also ecstatic and inspired.
The certification allows health, fitness, and wellness professionals, as well as those considering a career in the sector, to turn their passion for nutrition into a useful skill set that they can utilize to serve others.
On Wednesday, September 22nd, the program will begin.
We recommend adding your name to our presale list below because we only accept a limited number of students and the program always sells out. When you do, you’ll have the opportunity to join up 24 hours before the rest of the world. Even better, you’ll save up to 30% off the regular price of the course.
It’s a double win.
For now, let’s start with some of the most often asked nutrition questions, such as:
“I’m new to this whole nutrition thing,” says the first question. “How do I begin?” “What is the best diet to follow?” is the second question. Question #3: “Is calorie counting necessary for weight loss?” Question #4: “Should I stay away from carbs?” Question #5: “Should I stay away from grains?” “What (and when) should I eat around my workouts?” is question #6. “Should I drink less alcohol?” is question #7. “Does the Paleo Diet live up to the hype?” is question #8. “Should I undergo a detox or juice cleanse?” is question #9. Question #10: “Does sleep deprivation and stress have an impact on nutrition?” “How should I eat to acquire six-pack abs?” is question #11.
“I’m new to this whole nutrition thing,” says the first question. “How do I begin?”
Answer: First and foremost, let’s address nutritional deficits.
This one is always fascinating since no one likes to believe they are deficient in nutrients.
People may not like to hear that at first, but nutrition beginners do not require a complete food makeover on the first day. They don’t have to “go Paleo” or “cut off sweets.”
As their coach, your first step should be to educate new clients on the reality that they almost certainly have one or more nutritional deficiencies (about 80% of the population has at least one).
The body will not operate effectively until dietary deficiencies are addressed, making any health or fitness objective much more difficult.
To eliminate inadequacies, the first step is to assist the client in developing practical techniques for rounding out their diet, ensuring that they get:
- a smidgeon more protein
- vitamins and minerals in plenty
- an appropriate amount of good fats, and
- More water is required.
Tell them you’ll guide them through the process of developing healthy eating habits one step at a time. Then go over the following strategies: Determine which of the aforementioned nutritional categories will be the most difficult for them (for example, some of the novices we work with have never cooked meat). That is the first issue you will assist them with.
After you’ve addressed your nutritional deficits, you may start thinking about food quality and portion sizes.
What should you say if the other person appears to be impatient? “This isn’t a sluggish process; it’s a systematic one. It focuses on the problems that are now obstructing your progress. After they’re gone, things move quickly.”
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“What is the best diet to follow?” is the second question.
There is no such thing as a “best diet.”
Everyone will want to know which dietary “camp” you belong to as you establish yourself as a health, fitness, and nutrition expert.
On this, the best coaches take a neutral stance. If you can, try to be a nutritional agnostic, which means you don’t follow any one dietary philosophy.
Why? Every dietary plan has advantages and disadvantages. What works for one individual may not work for someone else. Also, a diet that has worked well for someone in the past may not be the ideal diet for them in the future.
Tell your client or patient that you’ll assist them in determining the ideal eating strategy for them right now, whether it’s Paleo or vegan, high-carb or low-carb, a limited budget or unlimited cash — or a combination of all of these.
The truth is that the human body can adapt to a wide variety of diets, thus the optimum diet is one that:
- corresponds to the individual’s physiology,
- includes items they appreciate enough to eat on a regular basis, and
- In terms of life logistics and budget, it is feasible for them.
On a plant-based or meat-based diet, you can make people slim, powerful, and healthy. Organic, free-range, and regular diets can both assist them enhance their health. They can lose weight on a limited or limitless food budget.
All it needs is a little know-how and a method for implementing the finest principles in all diets.
READ MORE HERE:
Question #3: “Is calorie counting necessary for weight loss?”
Calorie counting may be more of a headache than it’s worth for many folks. The good news is that there is an alternative.
It’s a simple equation: eat more calories than you expend, and you’ll gain weight. You lose weight by eating less.
However, the physiology of “calories in, calories out” is far more complicated and dynamic than most people believe. Furthermore, it is imprecise; we estimate that there is a usual error of up to 25% on both the ‘calories in’ and ‘calories out’ sides.
Beyond that, calorie counting is a mechanism that exists outside of the body (outside of your body). People who count calories are less likely to experience long-term results since they are entrusting their appetite awareness to the gods of the product label. Coach your customers or patients on how to recognize and respond to their internal hunger cues to truly master portion control.
We warn our clients that counting calories is a lot of labor for very little benefit for all of these reasons and more.
(It’s interesting to note that most clients are ecstatic when they find they can get their desired physique transformation without ever calculating calories again.)
We propose using a hand-measure system for portion sizes instead than calorie tracking. The following is how it works:
- Your protein servings are determined by the size of your palm.
- Your vegetable portions are determined by the size of your fist.
- Your carb portions are determined by your cupped hand.
- Your fat portions are determined by your thumb.
Without having to do any tedious food-label arithmetic, this approach counts your calories and aligns your macronutrients for you.
Furthermore, your hands are portable – they go with you everywhere you go, making portion control a breeze. Furthermore, your hands are proportional to your size – the bigger you are, the bigger your hands are, hence the more food you require and receive.
Clients usually pick up on this approach within a week of learning it, and we then assist them track their progress and make adjustments as needed.
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Question #4: “Should I stay away from carbs?”
No, but let’s double-check that you’re getting the appropriate kind of carbs.
If you ask almost anyone how to lose weight, they’ll almost always respond, “Cut back on carbs.” You’ve undoubtedly heard it dozens of times as a health/fitness expert.
Most people, on the other hand, would benefit from consuming a reasonable amount of high-quality carbs, such as whole grains (where tolerated), fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans and legumes, and so on (We emphasize moderate, of course).
This normally equates to 1-2 cupped handfuls every meal for men. Women should have roughly a cupped handful per meal.
Of course, each person’s demands will vary depending on their size, exercise level, goals, and genetics.
However, carbs, especially whole food sources, are not intrinsically fattening. Getting enough carbs can also help most clients workout harder and recover faster, allowing them to make more progress.
Yes, this is a contentious stance to take. It does, however, work. While limiting carbs may help you lose weight quickly at first, we’ve discovered that it’s not practicable (or required) for most individuals in the long run.
READ MORE HERE:
Question #5: “Should I stay away from grains?”
No, most people who are trying to lose weight should consume a moderate amount of whole grains.
Grain debates are very popular right now, since many people believe grains are the number one dietary enemy and should be avoided at all costs. This is big news because they were once thought to be one of the healthiest foods on the globe.
Grains, in our opinion, aren’t as bad as the Paleo and Whole30 camps have made them out to be. They’re also not the superfoods that vegans and macrobiotic eaters recommend.
Bottom line: While you don’t have to consume grains, there’s no need to avoid them unless you have celiac disease or a FODMAP intolerance. (And even in those two circumstances, you just need to be concerned about specific grains.)
If grains are allowed in moderate proportions, along with a wide variety of other non-grain carb sources like fruit, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, lentils, and so on, most people eat a healthier, more health-promoting diet.
Remember that the capacity to stick to a diet for an extended period of time, regardless of the diet, yields the best outcomes. There’s no reason to completely exclude some meals, especially ones you enjoy, unless you’re intolerant.
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“What (and when) should I eat around my workouts?” is question #6.
Answer: It is dependent on your objectives. Let’s chat about them… and then we’ll make precise recommendations for you.
This is a question you’ll hear a lot if you work with athletes. However, many non-athletes are also interested.
Contrary to common belief, the majority of people are best served by eating high-quality whole foods in moderate portions, rather than focusing on specific workout nutrition items or procedures.
As a result, non-athlete customers can be advised to eat a typical, balanced lunch 1-2 hours before and after exercise. This will offer enough protein and carbs to fuel the workout while also allowing for maximum recovery and adaptation.
If you’re coaching experienced, hard-training clients or athletes, inform them you’ll assist them with their specific workout nutrition requirements.
Endurance athletes, bodybuilders, and others trying to grow muscle mass can supplement their workout with a protein and carbohydrate drink. Per hour of exercise, we normally recommend 15 grams of protein and 30-45 grams of carbohydrates.
Essential amino acids (or branched chain amino acids) could be added to the training of physique competitions and persons seeking to lose weight. 5-15 g of EAA (or BCAA) per hour of activity is usually recommended.
Finally, rather than having a one-size-fits-all response, you should be clear about who you’re working with.
READ MORE HERE:
Question #7: Should I cut back on my alcohol consumption?
Answer: If you want to improve your health and fitness, you should reconsider your drinking habits.
People may first be skeptical of your response, but if you spell out the facts and make it obvious that you are not telling them not to drink, their ears will perk up.
There’s a lot of debate over whether or not drinking is healthy. This is mostly due to the news media’s proclivity for hyping new studies demonstrating alcohol’s potential cardiovascular advantages.
However, no one knows for sure who will benefit from light to moderate alcohol intake. Meanwhile, any amount of drinking (even “moderate”) carries health hazards that must be taken into account.
Heavy drinking, defined as more than 7 drinks per week for women and more than 14 drinks per week for men, raises the risk of a slew of health issues affecting the heart, brain, immunity, hormones, liver, and metabolism.
However, even mild to moderate drinking can have a negative impact on your clients’ health and fitness goals by affecting sleep, appetite, and decision-making.
Still, drinking is an indisputable element of culture, and it can be delicious and enjoyable when done responsibly.
Inform your clients or patients that you will assist them in determining the appropriate degree of drinking for them by assisting them in sorting out their priorities. Then, for a couple of weeks, encourage them to keep track of their drinking patterns — as well as how their drinking habits make them feel physically and psychologically.
Most drinkers consume far more alcohol than they realize, and many of them decide on their own that it would be better to cut back when they stop to think about it.
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“Does the Paleo Diet Live Up to the Hype?” is question #8.
Yes, in most cases. However, not for the reasons you believe.
The Paleo Diet is currently one of the most popular dietary methods in the world. It is undeniably effective for a large number of people. The reason it works, however, has little to do with the story told by Paleo advocates (evolutionary adaptation, inflammation, etc.).
Here’s how it works. Many people find Paleo to be beneficial since it stresses whole-food sources of lean protein, veggies, fruits, and healthy fats.
Despite the fact that Paleo is beginning to include more high-quality grains, grass-fed dairy, red wine, and other previously “off-limits” foods, the diet can still be too restrictive for some people.
Paleo is likely to get more things right than wrong in the end. If individuals choose to follow it, you can assist them in doing so in a rational, logical, and long-term manner.
However, most people don’t need to adhere to such a rigorous dietary philosophy. You can accept the positive aspects of the Paleo approach while avoiding the foolish dogma.
READ MORE HERE:
Question #9 Should I do a juice cleanse or a detox?
Answer: Probably not; the majority of trendy detox diets don’t eliminate toxins or result in weight loss.
Many people are concerned about the health effects of modern lifestyle issues such as poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, stress, and pollution.
So you’re undoubtedly getting a lot of questions about detox diets and juice cleanses, which have recently become popular as a means to (apparently) shed weight and cleanse the body of pollutants.
Detox diets, on the other hand, do not remove toxins or aid in weight loss. Detox diets, on the other hand, can operate against these goals by circumventing the body’s natural detoxifying processes and causing a feast-or-famine eating pattern.
Detoxes and cleanses are used to treat a variety of issues, including:
- are lacking in protein,
- have a very low energy content,
- cause dangerous blood sugar fluctuations,
- induce gastrointestinal (GI) tract disorders, and
- This can result in a yoyo effect of restrictive eating and overcompensation.
If a juice cleanse or detox diet helps a person prepare for more beneficial and long-term changes in their life, that’s fine. Simply guide them through a cautious and well-monitored procedure.
However, rather of using harsh (and unsustainable) methods like detoxes and cleanses, we choose to assist individuals develop life-long abilities and implement regular routines to improve their health, performance, and body composition.
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Question #10: “Does sleep deprivation and stress have an impact on nutrition?”
Yes, but those consequences, like the greatest sleep and stress management practices, differ from person to person.
When it comes to boosting your health, performance, and body composition, sleep is equally as important as nutrition and exercise.
Clients and patients should be guided through the following steps:
- establishing a sleep habit, which includes sticking to a regular schedule
- minimizing alcohol and caffeine use, particularly in the afternoon and evening
- Prior to going to bed, choose de-stressing activities.
- Choosing a sleep-friendly room temperature,
- darkening the room
- preserving the peace in the room, and
- Getting a good night’s sleep by exposing yourself to light and listening to quiet music.
It’s all about finding the sweet spot when it comes to stress. Stress, especially the improper kind of stress, can be harmful to our health. Stress, on the other hand, may be a beneficial force in our life, keeping us focused, aware, and on top of our game.
It all relies on the type of stress, our readiness to deal with it, and our attitude toward it.
Because stress has so many varied effects on the mind, body, and behavior, everyone reacts to it differently. Whether it’s physical or psychological, each of us has an own “healing zone,” which is influenced by a variety of circumstances.
It is vital to give people strategies and skills for effectively viewing and managing their personal stress load. The following factors can help you enhance your stress tolerance or reduce your stress load:
- Yoga or meditation
- time spent outside
- cuddling with a pet
- relaxing while listening to music
- deep inhalation
- consuming green tea
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Question #11: “How do I obtain six-pack abs by eating?”
Let’s look at whether a six pack is worth the sacrifices first.
To answer this question, you must first determine whether your client truly desires six-pack abs. (And if they’re willing to put in the effort.)
Getting ripped abs is a much bigger undertaking than most people realize. There are definite benefits to getting that lean (<10 percent for most men, and <20 percent for most women), but there are real trade-offs too.
If you want to reduce weight and have a washboard stomach, you should limit your intake of alcohol, processed foods, and desserts. It is common for social situations to become uncomfortable. Other hobbies and interests may need to be reduced.
However, if clients are serious about getting a six-pack in the healthiest way possible, they must adhere to these guidelines 90-95 percent of the time:
- Every meal should include protein and vegetables.
- Include healthy fats in the majority of your meals.
- just consume a little amount of carbs after a workout
- At all other meals, keep carbs to a minimum.
- 4-5 times a week, vigorously workout, and
- Each night, get at least 8 hours of sleep.
With this knowledge, you may have an open and honest discussion with your clients about whether they truly desire a six-pack. (Or if they’d be content with being fairly lean and healthy without sacrificing some of their other interests.)
READ MORE HERE:
In the end, yes, mastering these replies on the fly with a wide range of individuals will take some time, but the best way to get started is to jump right in.
Remember that while you are expected to know all of the answers, you cannot be expected to know everything there is to know about each individual.
So start with the answers on this cheat sheet (I recommend doing the deeper reading first), and then dig further with strategic questions about their specific needs and aspirations.
At the end of the day, being the go-to nutrition coach comes down to understanding the facts. But it’s also about meeting people where they’re at and learning from them as you go together.
If you’re a coach or wish to be one…
It’s both an art and a science to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a way that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.
Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.
Nutrition is one of the most confusing subjects, because there is so much misinformation out there. But we’re here to help. We just released our new nutrition certification program, the Nutrition Level 1 Certification. It’s designed to help you be the most knowledgeable person you know in the field. We’ve worked with the leading experts in the field—scientists, nutritionists, and dietitians—to craft the course materials that will help you pass the certification test. This article will give you a sneak peek at the course you will need to pass, plus answer some of the most common nutrition questions.. Read more about 4 crazy questions precision nutrition and let us know what you think.
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