March is National Nutrition Month®, an educational campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which stresses the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound exercise habits.
In honor of this initiative, we asked our fitness and nutrition expert, Dr. Brett Osborn, to provide you with five nutrition tips:
Tip #1: Don’t Under Eat
Everyone thinks that in order to lose body fat, you need to eat less. Not true! You need to eat at least enough to support your sedentary basal metabolic rate (BMR) – otherwise you risk losing muscle. Muscle uses fat stores to recover from an intense workout, so if you cut calories, your body cannot support muscle growth. Instead of burning fat, your body will burn lean muscle tissue.
Tip #2: Eat Five Meals a Day
In order to lose fat and support muscle growth, you need to eat enough calories to support your sedentary BMR. Eating five small, frequent meals between a 12- to 14-hour period (i.e. from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm) will keep your metabolism stimulated so you can lose weight the right way.
Tip #3: Eat Carbs with a Low Glycemic Index
Some people consider carbs with a low-glycemic index to be anything under 50g. However, Dr. O recommends carbs with a ceiling of 40g. Most importantly, stay away from sugar! Cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes and Alzheimer’s are all metabolic diseases that are underpinned by insulin resistance and inflammation, which are both tied to low-glycemic index carbs.
Tip #4: Don’t Skimp on Fat
Fat does not make you fat! In fact, eating the right amount of healthy fats actually teaches your body to burn fat as an energy source instead of glycogen (carbs). Healthy fats also have numerous health benefits, such as fighting inflammation and promoting cardiovascular health.
Tip #5: Eat the Proper Amount of Protein
Like anything, protein should be eaten in moderation: don’t under eat it and don’t overeat it. Dr. O recommends 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass, per day. This “sweet spot” will help you support lean muscle growth and recovery.
Dr. O is a Team BPI Sports’ fitness and nutrition expert.