As you can imagine, dieting and nutrition are huge fields. So in this post, I want to give you an overview of the most important principles that underly a healthy diet. Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t other factors that will affect your health.
Of course, dieting and especially healthy dieting is always the product of many different factors coming together. But what I will teach you in this post are the MOST important factors that will affect your health, ranked by their influence. We will first talk about the most important factor then the second most important and so forth.
But with so much contradictory advice out there, you might ask yourself:
How can you even decide on the most important or second most important factors in the first place?
This is actually a lot more straightforward than you might think.
When we look at the available research on dieting and health, you can see some very clear patterns. No matter what study you look at, there are always some factors that influence the outcome more than others. If we group these patterns we can identify 5 distinct dietary factors, each of which will have an effect on your health.
So when two diets are different from each other, it will almost always be due to a difference in these factors. Here they are
1. Calorie Balance: Your calorie balance describes how much energy you consume from food and drinks vs how much energy your body burns on a regular basis. Energy is here measured in calories.
2. Food Composition: Food Composition describes your food sources, meaning where your proteins, carbs and fats come from
3. Macronutrient Amounts: Macronutrient amounts describe how much protein, carbs and fats you consume daily
4. Nutrient timing: Nutrient timing refers to when you consume your meals and how you space them out
5. Supplements: And last we have supplements, so all the pills, powders or extracts you can take to improve your diet
With these five factors in front of us, you have to understand one thing. If you change one or more of them its effect on your health will change. The easiest example would be that if you consumed less food, meaning you reduce your calorie intake you will lose weight, which if you are overweight comes with a series of health benefits.
But what I want to do in this post and a few others is look at what types of features healthy diets have in common so you can replicate them and enjoy the benefits. Of course, my recommendations will be geared towards general adults. Children, the elderly and people with special conditions or disease would want to see a doctor first before making these changes.
One more thing before we get started. Even though all the principles I laid out above will affect your health, they wont to the same extend. For example, both your calorie intake and your supplements can impact your health and overall well being.
But each to a different magnitude. Eating the right amount of calories is a lot more important than taking the right supplements. Most people know this already but still forget it when listening to bad health advice.
For example, if a supplement company told you that all you needed for perfect health was their supplement, something is clearly off. After all, this would mean you could eat junk food and drink coke all day without any negative side effects as long as you would take the supplement.
Obviously, this is not the case. So to help you identify the most important principles, we will rank them accordingly. This means getting only the first few right is a lot more important to your health than getting only the last few right.
Of course, our goal is to get all of them right, but such changes can take time and it’s often better to start with smaller changes and work your way towards a complete diet.
So the good news is you can safely ignore the lesser important principles at first while focusing on the important ones and you will still see amazing results. Only once you are confident with the bigger ones should you also tackle the small principles.