As Fitness Clinicians™ we listen to a lot of opinions about how organic food and ‘real’ food is best and how we all need to get back to eating natural foods. First off certainly a diet high in vegetables with moderate fruits, seeds and nuts will be far better than the traditional carb and crap filled North American diet. The fact is though, this has more to do with how bad one diet is than how intrinsically good the other is. This is exactly analogous to how regular physical activity is far better than being sedentary not because it improves your physiology but because it maintains it. Regular movement is a necessity, we have evolved relying on plenty of regular daily physical activity. It is being sedentary which physically destroys us because it fails to meet basic requirements of physiology.
In both cases we see an unexpected thing. You can try to eat so called clean and move around a lot (sports, cardio, hiking etc) and still be suffering from a physical fitness standpoint. Just the smallest amount of entertainment food and lethargy seems to quickly reverse all the positives. This has a name…it’s called inherited genetics and mixed with aging it can be nasty.
Remember at the level where any of this counts it is all just biological chemistry. At the risk of bursting some bubbles you should know – there is plenty wrong with wild food and we have extended our lives and dramatically improved public health through selective farming techniques.
We promote exercise as a different thing than activity in order to separate out the elements which use the immune system to repair and improve against aging and inherited genetic traits. Likewise we promote nutrition to be the same.
Proper nutrition is equal parts energy and recovery. Your diet needs to be sustainable and personal. Any low-calorie scheme will initially allow fat loss but what does it really do to your physiology? Does it weaken parts of you? Does it dehydrate you, steal from your bones and muscle. How is it at all helpful if you won’t be eating this way 3 years from now?
A small example: in our experience and in keeping with basic bio-chem principles every endomorphic dominant female we have seen does well on a relatively high fat/low starch and sugar diet. Ectomorphic females have trouble building muscle without simple carbs and eventually turn into fake endomorphs. Likewise endomorphs trying to lose fat need to eat fat and take advantage of their natural ability to build strength. Ectomorphs need to be careful about calorie timing. The really tricky part is we tend to be a blend of somatic characteristics.
Fundamentally you will rarely achieve true physical fitness until you find out how the outside influences relate to you and your body…in a highly personal way. There is no best way for all only what is best for you.
Andrew and Tierney