Nutrients vs Food
As I'm spending all this time being mindful of FOOD, I am seeing so much information about nutrients. We hear so much about nutrients: Where do you get your protein from? Are you getting enough iron? Protein. How many calories are in that? What's the trans fat content? Protein. Well, it has Vitamin C. Fruit is high in sugar. Protein. These have antioxidants, so they're healthy. Bananas have potassium. It has electrolytes, which is important. We hear these things often. Whether from a friend, on TV, or on the internet, we hear them.
What we don't hear often:
We don't hear about what is actually good about each nutrient, or where to find them in food, or how they interact with other nutrients! I think the majority of people don't actually know what is good about Vitamin C. Or how it is necessary in the absorption of iron.
Maybe the general public doesn't care about the interaction of nutrients, or what the exact health benefits are in each nutrient... but then, why do we care what nutrients are in each food?? Why do we talk so heavily about them!?
When we talk about nutrients in isolation, we can easily forget about food. We can also mislead ourselves into understanding information inaccurately. We often discuss "NEEDING" certain nutrients, without discussing why, what each nutrient needs, and how much we need.
Protein is the biggest example of this.
The meat industry says that you need to get your protein. Sure. Of course we need protein to build muscle. No one is disputing this. However, what we NEVER discuss is how much protein do we actually need? The general population currently feels as though they need meat at every meal to get adequate protein. This always makes me laugh because we don't even know how much protein that is!!! We act as though we NEED this much (meat for protein), but if you ask how much protein in grams that we need, most people do not know. This is crazy!!! How can you know how much meat you NEED, if you don't know how much protein you need- if the argument to eat meat is for the protein.
We are completely 'feeding' into the marketing strategy!!
The other thing about focusing on nutrients is that we overlook looking at the big picture by only looking at one nutrient. Example: How do you feel about getting your protein packaged with tons bad fat and cholesterol? It's so important to look at the full picture!! How does the food make you feel? Who cares how much protein it has if you have to run to the bathroom for the rest of the night?
So I challenge us to consider the way we are talking about food, nutrition, and fuel! If you are going to consider nutrients, I challenge everyone to think more about food in general vs nutrients in isolation.
Have a great weekend!