March is here. Today I continue to be focused on the nutritional needs of our body. Our food intake is not only about energy balance. Recently a new field of study has emerged called “nutritional psychiatry”. In an observational review of the data, Jacka (2017) notes that mood is not only effected by what we do eat especially during our emotional binges which are those times when we consume to excess (for both sad and happy occasions). Our mood is also found to be effected by what you do NOT eat. Once again, we are looking for a balance of macro and micronutrients and I have not found a better way to find that balance other than to track my intake. The brain needs carbohydrates. The digestive system needs fiber. The immune system needs all sorts of nutrients. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” said Hippocrates in 431 B.C. After a bit of tracking my food, I have learned what I needed, what categories I often fell short in and most importantly I am learning how to read those labels. I cannot emphasize enough how valuable it is to take just a few days of food intake then read and record those details. I just purchased some whole grain wheat buns. One brand had less calories and yet more grams of sugar. It was not a significant difference on this particular food item by any means. It can be however and it can also be dependent on the serving size. I am not advocating you become obsessive about this. Trust me, I do not want to be running into carts stopped all over the grocery while everyone is reading labels. My suggestion is to do this on ‘some’ or a ‘few’ items as you go through the store with your grocery list. And pay particular attention when an item has the latest buzz word in large print! No offense to any of you marketing majors, but seriously – sometimes you can be evil. Not too long ago it was ‘low fat’ now it is ‘high protein’ and while both of these can be good things, being low fat is most likely full of sugar (a carbohydrate not a fat) and high protein can also be high in calories.
That is enough for today. If you get a chance, do a double take on a label this week and let us know what you find.
In the meantime, eat what your body needs today.