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Healthy: Nutrient Rich vs. Energy Poor

August 16, 2009

Like fitness, nutrient is a term with a lot of meaning. When something is nutrient rich, is it energy rich? Vitamin rich? Fat rich? Fibre rich? When people talk about whole grains for example, they are saying that they are great for weight loss because they are fibre rich. What they are missing is that they are also energy rich, which is terrible for weight loss.  In fact, for weight loss, the goal of your foods is to be energy poor so you need to be very careful when you are seeing foods that are excellent sources of anything.

People are so quick to look at the good nutrients that foods have that they overlook the bad qualities of the food. This is something marketing agencies have taken advantage of for years. Sugar drinks that are rich in Vitamin C. Kids candies that are marketed as fruit snacks with a full serving of fruit in them (along with 5 servings of sugar).

So as you look at packaging, ignore the claims of what a food has. YOU DON’T CARE.  I can’t stress this enough.  Instead of looking at the package and saying, oh, this could be good for me, it has lycopene and lycopene may reduce my risk of cancer, imagine instead that these are ‘ropers’ in a con game to get your money.  Each one of these is highlighting a positive so you will ignore the negatives.

-You Are Not A Fit Person, Chapter 7 Nutrition and Introduction

This is seen at an even worse level with stores like GNC or fitness clubs that sell supplements. Everything about these places feels like they are about fitness. They make their money off of overweight people trying to lose weight and they are constantly selling us supplements (they also sell protein powder which is a good thing and get thin quick pills which is a very bad thing). Think about this. You are getting too much energy-more than you burn-so why in the world would you need a supplement. A supplement is something to ‘add on’ to your diet. You are getting too much energy but you need more? Supplements would be very helpful for people who are starving to death or people with poor diets living in places that are suffering from famine, but for us???!?!? Get serious!! Sure it is possible that we are overweight because of some deficiency in our diet, but I have yet to see someone lose weight from eating supplements, and I doubt you have too.

Why people think supplements are associated with health is for 2 reasons.

  1. fit people, really fit people consume them.
  2. fit people who are hired to represent the GNC’s and the Fitness Clubs are paid to sell them to us.

When you reach a fitness level that you are burning more calories than you can consume, you need to supplement your daily nutrient intake. Athletes at the top of their game sometimes reach this level. You may reach that level some day, but first you have to turn around your calorie surplus and make it into a break even and then a deficit. If you want to lose weight you have to take this very seriously.

You need to stop buying things that are high in any ‘miracle’ nutrient.   Be extremely wary of any diet or product that is selling you on whatever ingredient it is RICH in.  They are probably hiding other things that they are rich in.  Things you don’t need.  Fitness and nutrition is really simple.  Remember that business people are not out to help you, but instead they are looking for new ways to make money.

These people don’t care if you get fit, they just care that they sell more of whatever it is they manufacture.  Think about it.  When a company learns that what it manufactures is bad for peoples health, they don’t stop making it.  Instead they sit around a boardroom table and talk about how they can get around this and still sell their product.  The first thing they do is find out what are good nutritional spins they can put on their product and then they hire a graphics company to make those jump out.  In their defense, a lot of these nutrition scares turn out to be hyped up half truths and errors, so companies shouldn’t close the doors when they hear their product isn’t healthy.  As well, just because something isn’t healthy, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be able to buy it.  Feasts, parties and festivals are all feasts, parties and festivals because we can go crazy and eat some things that wouldn’t be healthy to eat every day.  Without companies selling donuts and cinnamon buns and cakes and pastries, the world would be a drab place.  I love to know that my Quarter Pounder with Cheese is there when I want to reward myself with one.

So, don’t be angry with them for doing business the way they do, just don’t listen to their advice and IGNORE ALL OF THE STATEMENTS OF GOOD NUTRIENTS ON THE OUTSIDE OF A PACKAGE.  Use only the list of ingredients and the label in determining whether to eat something or not.

-You Are Not A Fit Person, Chapter 7 Nutrition and Introduction


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