High-Octane Fuel or Just Water in the Gas Tank?
By Dr. Rick Kattouf II
When it comes to nutrition, one of the most important questions is this, "is your food fueling you?" Let's look at the definition of food:
Food: any nutritious substance that people or animals eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth.
In the definition of food, let's focus on the following, "to maintain life and growth." No matter what an individual's body composition goals are, food is not to be feared; rather, it needs to be embraced. When individuals are trying to transform their body, their mindset is not about food as fuel. Instead, their mind goes to places such as, "less food is better, I need to lose weight." We need to shift our focus to food as fuel and we have to continue to embrace the fact that food is necessary to maintain life and growth; the right foods that is of course.
Let's now examine some very popular meals and snacks that individuals gravitate towards when they are trying to "diet and lose weight." (Always keep in mind what a DIET is, it’s a, Disaster Imminent Every Time®!)
#1: Hummus and carrots
#2: Salad with grilled chicken
#3: A handful of nuts
Okay, let's now give these a grade, A through F, in terms of effort and outcome; outcome in terms of what food is designed for and that is to maintain life and growth. And, let's keep in mind that in order for this to happen, each meal/snack needs to be properly balanced with the right amount of carbohydrate-protein-fat.
Ready for the grades? Let's go! Each meal and snack above gets an A for effort, no doubt; the individual choosing these foods and is trying to get healthier, transform their body and lose body fat. And their thinking is along the lines of, "I need to make a healthy choice for my meals and snacks." But, while effort is important, effort does not always result in a victory. In terms of outcome (and how they power-up & fuel the body) each of the choices receives an F; I know, crazy, right? We make a healthy food choice and the foods themselves get an F in terms of outcome & performance? That's right!
In order for our body composition goals, athletic performance, etc., to become a reality, the food we put into our body must be very purposeful. Again, food is fuel and in order for our body to perform at its best, it must be properly fueled. Do we just throw in any liquid substance into the gas tank of our car? Of course not, we are mindful that our car needs a certain octane of gasoline in order for our car to perform at its best. We do not throw just any liquid substance like water in to our gas tank. Our body is the exact same. We can't just throw any food source in our body and expect our body to perform at its best no matter what our body composition goals and other fitness and nutrition goals may be.
Let's examine #1 above; is it healthy? Yes, but, virtually useless in terms of fuel for the body. A snack like this has a measly 100 cal; that's not going to keep the body fueled. And, to compound this, the balance of carbohydrate-protein-fat is completely off. Once again, a virtually useless fuel source for the body as a stand-alone snack. (You are thinking healthy, and that is great; we just want to make it ‘Right’ and extremely purposeful fuel for the body)
#2 is also healthy, absolutely; but again, virtually useless in terms of the right fuel for the body, why? Here's why… Grilled chicken on a bed of greens is just the completely wrong choice for individuals wanting to properly fuel their body. Okay, so, we have protein from the chicken breast, yay! Just like #1, the macronutrient balance is so far from right. Our goal at every meal/snack is the following, 50-60% calories from carbohydrates; 15-25% calories from protein; 15-25% calories from fat. This meal has virtually zero carbohydrate and is almost all protein and once again, very low in total calories/total fuel. (You are thinking healthy, and that is great; we just want to make it ‘Right’ and extremely purposeful fuel for the body)
#3 is also healthy. People read in the news that, "nuts are a great source of dietary fat and they are very healthy." Once again, yay, a good source of dietary fat; so, why not grab a whole handful, right? If you want to talk about a completely useless fuel source in and of itself as a stand-alone snack, here it is, a handful of nuts. This is going to be close to 75% fat, not good, and way out of balance. (You are thinking healthy, and that is great; we just want to make it ‘Right’ and extremely purposeful fuel for the body)
How do we take the above snacks and make them right? I’m glad you asked; we have just the answer for you… TeamKattouf® Coaching & Training! At TeamKattouf®, we help assist each individual in properly fueling their body for their specific needs and goals. We help take the thinking out of this nutrition process for you. http://www.teamkattouf.com
In summary, before every meal/snack, I encourage you to ask one question "is your food fueling your body or is it just water in the gas tank?" This way, we will become more and more conscious of what we are putting in our body, we will eliminate "mindless snacking & eating" and we will ensure that we are putting the right, high-octane fuel into our High Performance Human Machine. Let's make greatness happen!
WORKOUT SMART, EAT RIGHT, GET RESULTS®!
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Rick Kattouf II, O.D. is a 2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert and has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite® Trainers of the Year. Rick is a Sports Nutrition Specialist, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Master Personal Trainer & Triathlon Coach. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Ironman.com, Livestrong.com, FIGHT! Magazine, Florida Cycling Magazine and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Inc, CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Nutrition LLC, CEO/Founder of Virtual Gym LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf® Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury® Nutrition Supplement, 5-Round Fury Fitness® workout app, Creator of Coach2CEO, Creator of Fuel Keeper®, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. Dr. Rick has personally coached individuals in 30+ states and 10+ countries.