Living Magazine doTERRA Summer 2018 Living Magazine - Page 24

nutrition corner E D YO Educate Yourself U RSEL F P SIM LE NG ll e W t a gre U CATE R E DIE NT C O U NT & A N A LYZE By Dr. Damian Rodriguez, DHSc, MS Although what is an ideal diet for optimum health is distinct to the individual, there is no argument that our nutrition choices are the foundation of health. There is a reason why the base of the dōTERRA Wellness Lifestyle Pyramid is a big green “EAT RIGHT”: improving your dietary habits to include more whole and less processed food is one of the most scientifically validated ways to increase your lifespan and improve your quality of life. Along with your daily dōTERRA Lifelong Vitality Pack ® , cleaning up your eating habits to promote overall health and wellness begins with becoming label conscious and learning to evaluate your calories. Become a label reader, but more importantly, a label “understander.” While we should all aim to con- sume food that doesn’t require a label, with our busy lifestyles it’s not always going to be realistic. How- ever, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found that a shockingly low percentage of American consumers regularly read labels, and an even lower percentage of them comprehend what they are reading. For instance, when asked to determine the calorie content of a single serving of ice cream, 24 percent of adults could not do so, despite the number being directly on the label. Furthermore, an ability to understand and evaluate nutrition labels is highly associated with “healthy” eating behav- iors, such as higher fruit and vegetable intake and less soda consumption. Don’t feel bad about conduct- ing a quick internet search to learn how to properly analyze a nutrition label—you aren’t alone. That basic skill will go a long way toward helping you clean up your eating habits. Stick to the Simple Ingredients S When evaluating the nutritional value of a specific food, it is also important to look at more than just the nutrition facts. In fact, it may be more important, and easier, to focus on the ingredients list rather than the nutrition facts label. So-called “ultra-processed foods” (foodstuffs that include substances not nor- mally used in culinary preparations) are the new norm, representing nearly 60 percent of total energy intake in the United States and 90 percent of our sugar intake. Ultra-processed foods are several steps beyond their original form and contain artificial colors, sweeteners, emulsifiers, and other synthetic addi- tives. If you haven’t gotten into the habit of regularly checking ingredients lists, you may be surprised to learn that manufacturers add sugar to 74 percent of packaged foods. Even more concerning, without an advanced scientific degree, you may have no idea that sugar is added because that nutrition-void sweet- ener may be listed on your jar of tomato sauce or in your bread under at least 61 different names. If you aren’t too alarmed with added sugar, emulsifiers (substances added to food to improve texture and help otherwise unmixable ingredients blend) have recently been shown to negatively impact the health of your gut microbiome and possibly even promote weight gain. If you want a solitary rule of thumb to improve your eating habits, then follow this rule: if an ingredients list takes more than a single breath to read and includes substances that you can’t identify, it’s probably best to leave that item on the shelf. Count and Analyze Calories At its core, weight management is a simple mathematical equation of balancing energy consumed and energy used, but there are a number of influencing factors. Despite what the headlines and even our changing dietary guidelines suggest, neither carbohydrates nor fats are a bane to your health, but those ultra-processed foods are. If the majority of your calories are coming from foods far removed from their natural form, they likely have low nutrient density and are not particularly satiating. Whole foods are generally higher in fiber, the indigestible substance that slows down absorption and makes us feel fuller longer and which the USDA suggests 97 percent of American adults don’t eat enough of. Foods with a short ingredients list also typically provide the highest composition of vitamins and minerals per calorie (nutrient density), meaning you’ll maintain your energy levels while consuming fewer calories and have a lower chance of facing the issues associated with nutrient deficiencies. For instance, six chicken nug- gets (which may contain as many as 50 ingredients) and a medium-sized grilled chicken salad (with oil and vinegar on the side) have approximately the same amount of calories, but the nuggets contain 1/4th of the protein, 1/5th the fiber, and a fraction of the salad’s composition of vital vitamins and minerals. When cleaning up your diet, evaluate how each calorie consumed can help promote overall health by focusing on those whole, unprocessed foods and complementing them with some high nutrient density foods, such as Slim & Sassy ® TrimShake and TerraGreens ® . The bedrock of a healthy lifestyle is eating right. Summer is the ideal time to reevaluate your dietary regimen and start making real progress toward your health and body composition goals. Clean up your eating habits by becoming a nutrition label and calorie scrutinizing expert. For additional research and scientific references email 24 / SUMMER 2018 LIVING MAGAZINE / 25