Last week I met with Deb, a nutritionist that works with many Labsters. As a new member of the Lab, I was offered a free consultation with Deb, and I thought, why not? I’ve been what I consider a healthy eater for quite some time (I try to eat good foods, stay away from most processed foods, I prefer to cook my own food, etc), but it couldn’t hurt to have a knowledgeable professional take a look at my diet, right? So I went in thinking that she’d probably tell me overall I was doing a pretty good job, but maybe that I needed to eat more vegetables.
Oh boy, was I ever wrong.
I’d kept a food diary documenting everything I’d eaten for the five days prior to seeing Deb. As we sat down and went through the spreadsheet, it seemed like she had something to say about each and every item! Among the things I learned (and am working to change already):
- Orange juice has as much sugar as Coke. Eat an orange instead.
- Eat regular Greek-style yogurt. It has a much higher protein content than other yogurts.
- Stay away from low- or non-fat foods, as they often contain carb-heavy fillers (to make them appear and feel more like their regular counterparts). So eat the yogurt that has fat in it. Fat isn’t bad for you!
- Eat more eggs! Up to a dozen per week is fine, they are an excellent source of protein. The alleged effect on cholesterol levels is a complete myth.
- Beware the high sodium content in things like chicken sausages. One link can contain a quarter of your daily sodium target.
- The whey protein powder I’ve been taking after exercising is 80% protein concentrate and 20% protein isolate. It also contains sweeteners and fillers. In a word, it’s crap. The best protein is hydrolyzed whey (easily digested and absorbed by the body). Whey protein from isolate is also a much better choice than concentrate, but it’s not as good as hydrolyzed (but also not as expensive!). But hey, this is our health we’re talking about here. It’s worth it, right?
- Not all vitamin supplements are equal. Most cheap brands contain added sugar and artificial coloring or flavoring, and more importantly, are wrapped in a cheap coating (like magnesium stearate) that actually inhibits absorption by the body.
Those are just a few of the main points I learned in my one hour with Deb. Pretty major information, if you ask me. Here I thought I’d been eating pretty well, but it turns out there’s much room for improvement.