Friday, February 14, 2020

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Healthy Lifestyle

Beach with article heading
Know the cost to get the reward.

Advantages and disadvantages of a healthy lifestyle

Advantages of a healthy lifestyle include disease prevention, prolonged life, increased energy, feeling good, improved looks and an escape from stress. The disadvantages are that it’s not convenient, is more expensive, takes time, you’ll be alone, it goes against your basic instincts and you won’t enjoy it at times. Read more.

Advantages of a healthy lifestyle

1. A healthy lifestyle will prevent disease and prolong your life
2. You'll have higher energy levels
3. You will feel good about yourself
4. Health will make you better looking
5. It provides a great escape from the stresses of life

1. A healthy lifestyle will prevent disease and prolong your life

Longevity and disease prevention are the most widely known benefits of living a healthy lifestyle.

You can prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, Alzheimer's, leaky gut syndrome, metabolic syndrome, depression, heart attack, stroke and many more diseases when you create healthy habits instead of unhealthy ones.

A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and nutritious food will also help you to manage these diseases effectively if you already have one of them. There are many reports (both anecdotal and scientific) that prove that in some cases you can reverse your disease through a healthy lifestyle. Can a healthy lifestyle do the same for you?

How would a healthy lifestyle improve your life?
Share this image to motivate others.

2. Higher energy levels

Healthy food and good exercise will help your body to rely on its own fat stores for energy. Fat is a more stable form of energy because it does not rely on sugar from whatever you eat every two hours. The constant energy from fat allows your body to adjust its energy levels according what it needs, when it needs it.

Exercise tells your body to create more energy. This is why people who exercise regularly have so much more energy throughout the day than people who don't exercise at all. Better blood circulation and toxin removal also improve energy levels.


Regular exercise will make you smarter and improve work productivity.
You gain more than the time you lose.

3. You will feel good about yourself

You feel good about yourself when you live a healthy lifestyle. Exercise and a good eating plan will give you a sense of accomplishment along with a sense of control.

Plant food feeds good gut bacteria. Gut bacteria make the most of the happy hormones called serotonin. The more serotonin you produce, the happier you will be.

Exercise triggers the release of endorphins. They reduce pain and improve your mood. This is why people who exercise regularly are less prone to addictive behavior, among other numerous benefits.

The feel-good effects of exercise are so strong that they are part of the two quickest and most powerful, non-medication ways to fight depression - along with taking care of an animal.

Good food and good exercise makes you feel really food.
Health feels amazing!

4. Health will make you better looking

Everybody wants glowing skin, less belly fat, more muscle and an appearance that radiates with vitality. You get this automatically when you live a healthy lifestyle.

Everything that you do to your body will reflect on your appearance. This includes your hair, nails, skin, fat mass, muscle tone and even your posture.

Every unhealthy meal that you eat will make you less attractive. Every healthy meal that you eat will make you more attractive. The way that you look is basically one big collection. It is an accumulation of all the things that you have done to your body so far.

Health looks good on everybody.
Every action counts.

5. A healthy lifestyle provides a great escape from the stresses of life

Most people see healthy activities as another chore that they need to add to their long list of existing chores. They already feel drained from work and family responsibilities. Why do something that will drain you of the little energy you have left?

We choose unhealthy habits because we perceive them to give us more energy. They actually drain us of the little energy that we have left. This creates a greater need for rest and recovery. That is why unhealthy habits are so addictive.

We perceive healthy habits to decrease our energy. It takes will power to eat healthy. Low energy directly affects the amount of will power that you have. The ironic truth is that healthy habits give you more energy - right from the start.

A half an hour of running will energize you more than half an hour on the couch. A low-sugar meal will prevent that sugar crash in two hours' time.

The unhealthy things that we use as an escape become the reason why we need to escape from life more often. Healthy escapes give us what that we are actually lacking.

Once you get over the idea that a healthy lifestyle is draining, it will become your place of escape. You will return stronger than ever after each escape - instead of weaker.

People who exercise regularly do it because it gives them time for themselves. It becomes one of the few activities that lift them up. After a few weeks of exercise, you find that you look forward to it because of how good it makes you feel.

Good food gives you a reason to feel good about yourself and helps you to cope with the stresses of life.

Half an hour of exercise energizes you more than half an hour on the couch.
Choose what energizes you.

Disadvantages of a healthy lifestyle

1. An unhealthy lifestyle is more convenient
2. A healthy lifestyle is expensive
3. Health takes time
4. You will be the only one doing it
5. It takes will power to be healthy
6. You might not like it

Why should we look at the disadvantages of a healthy lifestyle? Won't that demotivate us from pursuing health?

You will be successful on your quest for better health when you understand what you have to give in order to gain the benefits. We need to consider the costs in order to reap the rewards.

Many people try to live a healthier lifestyle and quit as soon as they encounter a disadvantage. If we plan for these disadvantages beforehand, they won't stop us from staying on track.

1. An unhealthy lifestyle is more convenient

It is easier to follow an unhealthy lifestyle than it is to follow a healthy one. When you eat unhealthy food, you get to eat whatever you feel like. You don't have that option when you follow a healthy diet.

When you don't exercise, you get to do whatever you want in your spare time. A good exercise plan will have you going out to exercise when you would much rather stay at home.

It is also more convenient to eat unhealthy food. Processed food (that is full of health-damaging ingredients) is more accessible than natural, healthy food. More than 80% of the food in a convenient store is not healthy.

Unhealthy food is packaged in bright packaging that lasts for months before it expires. Healthy food spoils more easily (You can generally tell how healthy a certain food is by how long it takes to spoil).

You have to be careful not to bruise a banana when you carry it to work. You don't have to be so careful with a bag of chips or with lunch money. Almost everything on the menu at food stores, restaurants and food stands are unhealthy.

You can buy a month's supply of unhealthy food at a time, but it is hard to do the same with fresh produce because it spoils sooner.

More than 80% of the food in a convenient store is not fit for human consumption.
It is too easy to eat unhealthy.

2. A healthy lifestyle is expensive

Processed food with harmful chemicals is cheap because they can be stored for a longer period of time before going bad. 

Sugar, artificial sweeteners (which cause weight gain), simple carbohydrates, chemically treated food and other artificial food can be produced in mass quantities to reduce the cost per item. A lot of these products are made with the unwanted by-products from farms (which is cheaper than the real deal).

You can't mechanically make a carrot. Organic and free-range food (which is a lot healthier) is more expensive because it doesn't have the hormones or fertilizers that prevent loss. 

Fertilizers and hormones increase the amount of food that you can grow on the same piece of land in a shorter time, but they cause health issues when people eat them.

Pesticides and antibiotics greatly reduce the amount of food that is wasted (making it cheaper to make), but hurt our own health down the line.

Extreme heat and cold (like pasteurization) that kills off germs to prolong the shelf life of food also kills off important vitamins and minerals that we desperately need.

It is cheaper to eat unhealthy food. Healthy food is a lot more expensive.

Exercise is also more expensive than not exercising at all. You might need to pay for a gym membership, running shoes, a yoga mat, exercise clothes or gym equipment. 

Many people also pay for personal trainers, workout guides and health advice.

You won't see positive change if you don't invest in yourself.
Invest in yourself. You're worth it.

3. Health takes time

Time is the most precious resource that we have. We need to consider what we do with this time.

Some things are with it, while others aren't. Whenever you do something, there are a million other things that you could have done with that same amount of time - but you will never get it back.

It takes time to learn what a healthy diet looks like. Looking for the right ingredients or planning your meals ahead of time will also take time. You could be doing something else with his time.

Exercise takes up even more time. If you exercise for an hour a day, you will spend more than 15 days of the year doing it. That's a lot of time!

Both of these things are good time investments. A good investment will give you more than what you put in. An hour of exercise takes up less than 5% of your day, but will increase your productivity by over 30%.

It is easier to spend time planning your meals than it is to spend time coping with disease, depression or disappointment.

Time is the most precious resource that we have.
You lose what you don't invest.

4. You will most probably be the only one doing it

One of the hardest parts about living a healthy lifestyle is that you will be the only one doing it most of the time.

Eat 5 fruit and vegetables every day at the office and people might look at you weird. Most people don't carry large water jugs around them.

You will most probably be the only one on the road whenever you go for a run. None of your friends or family members will cheer you on every time you go to the gym.

Most people feel judged for taking their health too far when they make an effort to improve their life in front of others. You might be labeled a health 'fanatic' or a health 'nut'. 'Fanatic' refers to the fact that a behavior is not normal. 'Nut' commonly refers to craziness or insanity.

People have looked at me weird for refusing to eat when I'm on an intermittent fast at social occasions. Everybody likes to gives me advice about health that they themselves don't follow. I often get up and leave an interesting family conversation when it is time to exercise.

It is easy to do the things that everybody around you is doing. You subconsciously feel a sort of resistance when you are the only one doing something.

What if the crowd was wrong all along?
Don't be a sheep. Wolves walk alone.

5. It takes will power to be healthy

Basic instinct tells us to save our energy for emergencies. Our taste buds tell us to eat whatever tastes the best. Processed food is designed to be as tasty as possible. Natural food was designed for its own survival - not for what it tastes like when it is in your plate.

Laziness helps us to survive. We are designed to seek comfort. If we didn't, we'd run out of energy and drop dead without knowing why. It is during rest that our bodies get to heal and recover from strenuous activity.

We don't have an internal system to crave physical activity because nature would provide that for us. An animal can't eat unless it hunts for food and you can't sit around for too long before you need to escape from danger.

Sugar is addictive because our taste buds are designed to tell us what is edible and what should be avoided. Now that processed food has more sugar than natural food, we intrinsically think that we should eat it.

A healthy lifestyle takes will power at first because you need to fight against your basic instinct to conserve as much energy as possible and eat whatever becomes available to you. It is against your natural instinct to avoid food that is in arm's reach. That is why a food advert can make your mouth water.

It doesn't make sense for your body to exercise when there is no reason to do so. It will rather save that energy for an emergency that will never actually happen.

A healthy lifestyle takes will power because you have to fight against your own basic instincts to get into healthy habits. The good news is that our bodies (and minds) are extremely good at adapting to change. If you do it for long enough, it will feel weird when you don't do it.

The effort that it takes to get there can be a great disadvantage to most people. If this wasn't the case, everybody would live a healthy lifestyle.

If it was easy, it wouldn't be great. It would be normal.
The challenge makes it great.

6. You might not like it

One of the other major disadvantages of a healthy lifestyle is the fact that you can't choose. You can't choose what to eat. Exercise is no longer a choice.

You don't focus on what you want anymore. Instead, you focus on what you need. You will miss out on late mornings in bed and happy meals with friends. It becomes normal to say no to things that everybody else around you is enjoying because you have different priorities.

No matter how long you exercise for, there will still be days when you don't feel like doing it. You will still have 'do I really have to eat this!?' moments when you look at your food from time to time.

This disadvantage might depress you, so let's end it off on a positive note.

You may not feel like every workout at the beginning, but the feeling that you have afterwards will beat any day that you stay at home. It gives me a great sense of satisfaction to know that I am pushing myself to another level when other people are still asleep. It makes me feel like I can conquer the world.

You will never regret a workout that you didn't feel like doing at the beginning, but you definitely will regret every workout that you didn't do.

We think that people enjoy relaxing instead of exercising; but the pain that they deal with (disease, disappointment, lethargy, depression and failure) is insanely more than what you feel for the first five minutes of your exercise session.

If you're going to suffer anyway, choose the suffering that leads to glory.
Choices last forever.

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of a healthy lifestyle, you are empowered to change your life in the best way that you see fit. You can now prepare for all of the challenges that might come your way head on. Knowledge is the best weapon against the unknown.

If you want to start living healthy, check out the 7 healthy habits that everybody should do.

You can use this diet to lose weight or this one if you like Indian food. This one is great for young adults and this diet is great to build muscle fast. All of these diets are free and easy for people on a budget. Minimal cooking is required.

For those of you who want to start exercising, this plan is the easiest (it starts with one squat on day one to help you get into the idea of exercise). This program will overhaul your fitness in one month. These exercises are best to get rid of belly fat. None of these exercises require equipment so that you can get started right at home.

This program is great for people who want to build muscle at the gym.

Remember to consult your medical practitioner before starting a new diet or exercise plan. Stay Strong!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

The basic healthy diet

Italian salad on wood table with heading
Basic diet for health

The basic healthy diet

This basic healthy diet consists of three meals. The first one has 5 whole, fresh fruit and vegetables of your choice. The second one is a complete protein of your choice (see the options below). The third meal is your selection of the following healthy snacks.

What is the basic healthy diet?

The basic healthy diet strips down modern principles about healthy eating into the easiest possible plan to follow. It is made for people who don't like complicated diets or endless recipes. It's the simplest diet out there. Once you're used to this diet, it's easy to progress into other diets and take your progress further.

Meals on the basic healthy diet
It's this simple.

Who should follow this basic diet?

This diet is made for the absolute beginner who has never followed a diet before. It is designed to be so easy to follow that people who struggle to stick to more complicated diets can also be healthy.

It consists of a large variety of foods that you can choose form. This ensures that anybody, on any budget, can follow this diet. The long lists of food allow you to cater for the foods that you enjoy the most. You can choose to avoid the foods that you don't like and still be healthy. The variety also guarantees the fact that you can find the right food to eat on this diet no matter where you live around the world.

Little to no food prep is required for any of these meals. You don't need to be a master chef to follow this diet.

This diet helps people with general weight loss, a body detox, increased longevity, disease prevention, better energy levels, a faster metabolism and improved overall health. Once you get used to this diet, you can progress into a more complicated diet to focus exclusively on one of these key areas. In the meantime, the basic diet will help you with all of them.

Quote about keeping it simple
Success depends on simplicity.

What other diets do you recommend for beginners?


For young adults

The young adult diet is specifically designed for young adults who need to discover how to make eating choices of their own. We recommend this diet to males and females from the ages of 20 years old to 30 years old. It is meant to establish healthy eating habits that will last for the rest of your life.

For Indian food

The Indian diet covers foods that are common in the Indian subcontinent. It is made for people who don't eat typical Western foods like bread, hamburgers, pizza or noodles. In this diet we go through the healthiest options for Indian people and organize the foods into choices that you can have over a 7 day period. Recipes are linked to each meal for those who would like to try out this style of eating as part of a healthy diet.

For weight loss

The weight loss diet covers all the basics that someone needs for healthy weight loss. It shows you the principles that will lead to weight loss and a healthier body.

To build muscle

The Bulking diet is for people who are trying to maximize muscle growth. It is not for weight loss but for bulking up. Use this diet to build muscle fast.

The ketogenic diet

Our very own keto expert JP Wells has written numerous articles about the ketogenic diet. This is currently one of the most popular diets out there. He has written about how to limit your carbohydrates to lose weight on keto, common mistakes that most people make on the diet, supplements that you need when you do keto and how you can do keto when you want to build muscle.

Quote about a healthy diet
Choose a diet based on your goal.

What are the benefits of the basic diet?

What makes the basic diet special if I could follow any of the diets above?

1. The basic diet is simple and easy to follow

It's the simplest diet of them all. You don't need to memorize anything and it's not too difficult to stick to. This is great for people who want to improve their health and get into the rhythm of healthy dieting and see positive changes in their body - without committing to something that they can't stick to.

2. You get all of the nutrients that you need

You don't need to worry about starving your body or missing out on any of the nutrients that it needs. This diet will give you the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, plant compounds, trace elements and protein that you need. None of the good stuff is left out.

3. It easily progresses into other diets

This diet will give you the confidence to improve your health in other areas of your life. Once you can follow this simple diet, you can easily progress it into another one that takes your progress to the next level.

If easy, overall health is your primary goal then you can stick to this diet forever.

4. It improves your overall health

This diet is meant to strengthen your body (brain, muscles and joints, circulatory system, hormones etc.). Amazing things happen when you prioritize your health.

5. There are a lot of food choices to choose from

You are not limited to one or two choices per meal. I will give you a long list of foods that you can eat at each meal.

You are empowered to do what works best for you without sacrificing your health or your progress.

List of benefits to this diet
Look after your health.


What are the elements to the basic diet?

There are four basic elements to this diet:

1. Cut out the foods that are bad for you

This is probably the biggest step of them all. We don't realize how much processed food is killing us. The artificial flavors and colors, sugars, sweeteners, preservatives, hormones and other chemicals are causing long term damage. A lot of your health improvements will come from the fact that you are no longer hurting your body with these foods anymore.

2. Make sure that you get all of the nutrients your body needs

The next important step is to ensure that your body does get what it needs every day. You need vitamins and minerals to make energy. It takes nutrients to maintain muscle, bone and joint tissue. Your brain can only work properly when it has the nutrients that it needs. The basic diet will give you all of these nutrients.

3. Organize your eating habits into an easy-to-follow system

We eat unhealthy food when we don't plan ahead of time. Get used to eating in a predictable format so that you have complete control over your health. This will eliminate the opportunity for you to eat the wrong food. The lists are varied enough for you to stay on track during social occasions and when you eat with friends and family at a restaurant.

4. Drink enough water

Every cell in the human body needs water to survive. Dehydration leads to cellular death. Did you know that dehydration could lead to weight gain as well?

On top of that, dehydration causes cravings for sugar, nicotine and caffeine. The body does this to try to compensate for the lack of energy from a slow metabolism because of dehydration.

Drinks like energy drinks and soda will dehydrate you even more. A lot of stress at work is caused by dehydration. Hydration is one of the fastest ways to boost your immune system.

List of elements to a healthy diet
These are the most important elements.

First meal: 5 fresh fruit and vegetables

Most people who follow a Western diet don't eat enough fruit and vegetables. Our bodies were designed to depend on these kinds of food to survive.

The fiber helps the digestive system to keep itself clean. Antioxidants keep the liver and the cells free from toxic chemicals. Vitamins and minerals that are found in plant foods support mental health and healthy heart function.

The indigestible parts of plant food make them good for us because they stimulates digestive health and prolong the amount of time before we need to eat again.

The sugar in fruit is not damaging like the sugar in processed food. Fruit sugar is locked in fiber that the digestive tract must first break down. This leads to the steady supply of energy for hours instead of a sudden flood of nutrients that lead to weight gain, diabetes, the overproduction of insulin and cardiovascular disease. An apple a day really keeps the doctor away!

Have your choice of any three fruit and vegetables. They don't necessarily need to be on this list. You can have a serving of seeds, legumes, nuts or beans in place of your fruit or vegetables. Just make sure that you have at least 5 servings of 5 different types of plant food every day. Choose organic if you can because organic provides more health benefits. Raw is better than cooked fruit and vegetables.

Healthy eating quote
Plant food is healthy.

List of fruits:

  1. Apples
  2. Apricots
  3. Avocados
  4. Bananas
  5. Blueberries
  6. Cherries
  7. Figs
  8. Grapefruit
  9. Grapes
  10. Guavas
  11. Honeydew melons
  12. Kiwifruit
  13. Lemons
  14. Limes
  15. Nectarines
  16. Mandarins
  17. Mangoes
  18. Passion fruit
  19. Peaches
  20. Pears
  21. Plums
  22. Raspberries
  23. Rock melons
  24. Strawberries
  25. Watermelons

List of vegetables:

  1. Asparagus
  2. Beets
  3. Broccoli
  4. Brussel sprouts
  5. Cabbage
  6. Cauliflower
  7. Celery
  8. Corn
  9. Cucumber
  10. Garlic
  11. Lettuce
  12. Onions
  13. Potatoes
  14. Pumpkin
  15. Shallots
  16. Spinach
  17. Sweet potatoes
  18. Tomatoes
  19. Zucchini

List of other healthy plant foods:

  1. Beans
  2. Lentils
  3. Chickpeas
  4. Legumes
  5. Nuts
  6. Seeds
  7. Muesli
  8. Peas

Second meal: A complete protein of your choice

Fruit and vegetables generally cover all of your nutrient needs, except for a few. There are some nutrients that you should get from protein sources. These nutrients include iron, protein, amino acids, B vitamins and essential fatty acids. 

Protein has long been regarded as a weight-loss food because your body burns calories to break it down. Protein is needed for cell regeneration. 

These foods, like fruit and vegetables, take longer to digest and give you a stable source of energy. Protein is very filling. A very small portion of protein can be stored as fat (unlike sugar, processed food and simple carbohydrates). A much larger portion of protein is used for energy or tissue integration, compared to fattening food like sugar.

Choose the food that keeps you healthy.
Choose healthy.

List of healthy protein sources:

  1. Beef
  2. Cheese (unprocessed)
  3. Eggs
  4. Fish
  5. Milk
  6. Pork
  7. Yogurt (unsweetened)
  8. Seafood

Note on protein

AVOID protein sources like processed meat and processed cheese. These foods are loaded with sugar, artificial ingredients and other chemicals that will damage your health.

Third meal: A healthy snack of your choice

The first two meals are the most important on the basic healthy diet. They ensure that you have all the nutrients you need to function properly and create your own, natural energy. 

The third meal functions to make up for the missing calories that you'd miss if you only had the first two meals. 

Your body will learn to hold onto fat stores and lower its metabolism if you don't eat enough calories on a long-term diet. This is known as yo-yo dieting. It leads to greater fat gain and lower energy levels after each attempt at trying a new diet. Eat enough calories every day to prevent this from happening.

Since you are giving your body enough micro nutrients, you need to make sure that you are getting enough daily energy from the third meal. Your body can create energy from a variety of food sources and therefore there are no strict rules about what you should eat in this meal. 

The only real important thing is that you avoid unhealthy foods (like processed food, sugar and artificial food) and stick to healthy food (like the ones listed above). You can mix and match the above foods to create your perfect third meal.

Brown rice and whole wheat bread is allowed in this meal.

The body craves stability just as much as the mind does.
Don't cut down on calories too much.

List of healthy meals to choose from:

  1. Yogurt and muesli
  2. Steak, pumpkin and corn
  3. Brown rice, broccoli and squash
  4. Sweet potatoes, beans and pork
  5. Whole wheat bread and peanut butter
  6. Hummus and celery sticks with cottage cheese and chicken strips (not crumbed)
  7. Vegetable stir fry with salmon
  8. Avocado chicken salad

Notes on the third meal

It can be tempting to have a burger or something else that is unhealthy at the end of the day. If you struggle to avoid unhealthy foods, check out these great ways to turn junk food into healthy food. These ideas fit into the principles of this diet and you can easily incorporate them into your third meal.

Commonly asked questions about the basic healthy diet


Do I need to exercise on this diet?

You should exercise on any diet - even when you are not on a diet. It is too good not to do. This diet is created independent of an exercise plan, but you should still exercise anyway.

If you struggle to motivate yourself to exercise, try this easy exercise induction program. It starts with a single squat on day one to reduce the intimidation that most people feel toward exercise.


Can I drink coffee or tea?

You can. Don't add creamers, sugar or sweeteners. Sweeteners cause weight gain just as much as sugar does. If this is a struggle for you, try to do it for 14 days - That's how long it takes for your taste buds to completely regenerate. After two weeks your plain coffee or tea will taste just as good as it did when you added sweetness to it.

You should, however, drink more plain water than anything else on this diet.

What else can I drink besides water? 

Lemon juice and green tea are both extremely healthy alternatives to water. Use them sparingly to spice up your hydration. Drink plain water most of the time. You want to train yourself to be healthy in the long run and getting used to plain water is the best way to do that.

Do I need to practice portion control on the basic healthy diet?

You do not need to practice portion control on this diet. The health (and weight loss) benefits come from the fact that you are cutting out the unhealthy foods that are making you fat and unhealthy. The foods in this diet will help you to lose weight.

Certain calories fill you up more than others. All calories are not created equal. Calories that don't give you a feeling of satisfaction and make you eat more are known as empty calories. These include sugar, white bread, processed food, fries, soda and condiments.

All of the calories on this diet will give you a feeling of fullness and reduce your desire for more food. Your body won't crave extra calories when it gets all of the healthy nutrients that it needs.

Can I swap my meals around on this diet?

You can. These meals are ordered in a way that suits most people. If you want to eat these meals in a different order, that's fine. Just make sure that you eat at least 5 different servings of fruit and vegetables along with enough protein every day.

Conclusion

The basic healthy diet will empower you to take control of your own body without any tactics that harm your health. It is also very simple to follow. This diet has a much greater chance of consistency - and that's what it's all about.

Remember to consult your medical practitioner before you make any big lifestyle changes. Stay Strong!

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The importance of healthy food for students

Picture of student with study materials with article heading
Use food for success as a student.

The importance of healthy food for students

Healthy food can raise IQ, reduce the negative effects of stress, improve sleep, boost memory and increase energy levels. Unhealthy food will damage the brain, reduce your ability to concentrate and retain information, create hormonal imbalances and lower sleep quality.


Quote about the importance of healthy food
Share this image on social media.

Importance of a balanced diet in a student's life 

Students depend on a balanced diet to get the nutrients that their brains need to function. A balanced diet improves natural energy production and therefore reduces the need for addictive stimulants and substances. Better eating choices lead to better learning and mental recovery.

What is a healthy diet for students?

The perfect diet for a young adult includes a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, good sources of protein, plenty of hydration and fewer processed foods that are high in sugar and simple carbohydrates. A good weight management diet can still provide all of the good nutrients that a student needs.

Quote that a healthy diet has sufficient nutrition
Eat what you need. Avoid what you don't need.


Benefits of healthy eating for students

These are the reasons why students need to eat healthy:

1. Healthy food can raise your IQ

Deccan Herald quotes studies that reveal how junk food lowers your IQ. Nuts like almonds and walnuts, seeds like flax seeds and sunflower seeds, brown rice instead of white rice, vegetables like spinach and broccoli and dried fruit like prunes will all increase your IQ.

This happens because your brain has the nutrients that it needs to strengthen the messages between its neurons, communicate with the central nervous system, form new mental pathways and expel toxic substances that hamper mental function.

Make sure that you eat at least five fresh fruit and vegetables every day, along with nuts and seeds, to get the IQ-boosting benefits of healthy food.

List of foods that increase IQ
Eat this for better mental health.


2. Healthy food will reduce the negative effects of stress that students face

Your body makes a stress hormone called cortisol when you stress. Cortisol increases physical energy and tenses the muscles in preparation for the stressful situation. A little cortisol is good for you (too little can lead to low energy), but too much cortisol from stress is a bad thing.

Too much cortisol from work or studying can have the following negative effects:
  1. Muscle breakdown and muscle weakness
  2. Emotional responses like anxiety, depression and frustration
  3. Lack of motivation and willpower
  4. Decreased concentration
  5. Increased likelihood of negative behaviors (like using addictive substances and over-consuming stimulants like caffeine)
  6. Lower sleep quality and inability to recover (both physically and mentally)
  7. Social withdrawal
Healthy foods feed your good gut bacteria. Good gut bacteria make a happy hormone called serotonin, which directly reduces the effects of stress and cortisol. 

If you eat a lot of healthy food, your mind will be capable of doing more work before you start to feel the negative consequences of stress. This can prolong study times before you need a mental break.

Quote about how gut bacteria reduce stress
When you eat well, you feel well.


3. Food can improve sleep and recovery

Every student knows how important a good night's rest is for concentration and mental performance. Your brain uses sleep to turn information into memory. Unhealthy food like junk food that is high in sugar will disrupt good sleep.

You will have too much energy to sleep when your blood sugar is too high. The sugar crash that follows after eating unhealthy foods will also diminish quality sleep because your body does not have enough energy to go through the right recovery processes.

High fiber foods like fruit and vegetables, along with high protein foods like meat and fish, will supply your body with a more stable form of energy. It will also give you the nutrients that it needs to recover properly every day.

If sleep is one of the things that you struggle with as a student, check out this easy guide on how to get good sleep from the first night.

Quote about the importance of nutrition and sleep for recovery
You need both to recover properly.


4. Students can use food to boost memory

The food that you eat will directly affect your memory. People who take fish oil supplements do better at remembering things compared to days when they don't take them, for example.

Foods that boost memory include fatty fish, blueberries, turmeric, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, nuts, dark chocolate, oranges, green tea and eggs.

Food that damage memory include white bread, white rice, pasta, sugar, processed cheese, processed meat and alcohol.

List of foods that affect memory
Choose food wisely.


5. Healthy eating increases energy

The food that you eat will determine your energy levels. If you eat garbage, you will feel like garbage. If you eat real food, you will feel real good. This is the premise of the saying, 'You are what you eat'.

When you consume too much sugar or too much caffeine, your body will lower your natural energy production to try to balance out the extra energy. This is called homeostasis.

The energy-lowering effects of bad food become worse soon afterwards. This is because withdrawal will exacerbate low energy production as soon as the sugar or caffeine leaves your body. That is why a sugar crash or a caffeine crash feels so horrible.

Energy production depends on your liver because that is where fat is converted into energy. Artificial ingredients in processed food keeps your liver so preoccupied that it can't create enough energy for the rest of your body - including your brain.

Antioxidants, on the other hand, help to keep the liver clean so that it can focus on other things. A clean liver does a better job at waking you up in the morning, putting you to sleep at night and giving you all of the energy that you need by breaking down fat molecules into fatty acids. You get these precious antioxidants from fresh fruit and vegetables.

The fiber in fresh produce also increases energy levels because they prolong the amount of time that it takes for the nutrients to enter into your body. This will stop your body from lowering its natural energy levels and still give you a steady flow of energy at the same time.

Healthy protein and good fat also work in the same manner to give you natural energy that lasts for hours.

Food quote about how food affects how we feel
Feel good with good food.

Why junk food is bad for students

Junk food might be convenient and cheap, but it is very bad for students. Here is why:

1. Junk food damages the brain

Junk food literally damages the brain. Rodents were fed with a junk food diet that is similar to the way that most Americans eat. Parts of their brain became inflamed from the first day.

The brain tried to adapt to the negative effects of the junk food (which wastes mental energy that could be used for studying), but could not cope with all of the junk food in the end. The negative effects of the junk food lasted for 8 months in the rodents. This would equate to a much longer time in humans.

The food that you eat can permanently change the way that your brain works. If you eat too much junk food or eat it for long enough, you can suffer from permanent brain damage as a result. Junk food causes mental illnesses like Alzheimer's, depression and Dementia.

Quote that junk food causes mental health issues
Unhealthy eating has long term risks.

2. Bad food reduces your ability to concentrate and retain information

Processed food and junk food is typically very high in sugar. A typical serving of ketchup (or tomato sauce) floods your body with 2-5 times the amount of sugar that should be in your blood stream. Sugar hides in almost everything. Sugar is even added to French fries at fast food restaurants.

All of this sugar floods your brain with dopamine (the pleasure hormone that increases attention and memory). This sounds like a good thing, but it is not. Your brain will respond to the sudden increase of dopamine by producing less of it. The more sugar that you eat, the less dopamine your brain will make naturally.

This means that sugar will slowly decrease the amount of the good mental hormones that you need to enjoy life (leading to depression) and pay attention (leading to reduced concentration and memory).

Artificial sweeteners are just as bad for your brain as sugar. The more artificial sweeteners you consume, the more likely you are to have impaired brain function, dementia and stroke.

Quote about the danger of junk food on mental health for students
Don't do it.

3. Junk food negatively affects your hormones

This study found that fast food has dangerous chemicals that disrupt our hormonal balances and cause adverse effects like low sperm counts and birth defects. You are more likely to have problems with acne if you eat fast food.

Fast food also affects weight and energy regulating hormones like insulin. When you eat too much fast food, your insulin goes out of balance and you gain a lot of weight without being able to control it. Your body won't be able to use that extra storage as energy.

This leads to muscle weakness, lack of energy and motivation, weight gain, addiction to the foods that are causing these problems and a whole range or other health issues that we haven't discovered yet.

Your hair, skin and nails will look unhealthy because of these negative changes in your body. On top of that, your bones will weaken and break more easily.

Choose the foods that make you stronger
Food affects more than you think.

4. Junk food enhances the effects of sleep deprivation

Sleep is extremely important for students. If you don't get enough sleep, you could struggle with moodiness, hampered concentration, fatigue, inability to learn new information, listlessness, depression and forgetfulness.

Large study volumes, project deadlines and test pressure can prevent students from getting all of the sleep that they need.

This study found that the effects of sleep deprivation were minimized when people ate a diet with the most plant-based foods and the least saturated fats and sugars (which comes from junk food). A plant-based diet, a high protein diet and a diet high in fats and sugars were analyzed.

The more plants you eat, the less tired you will feel throughout the day.

Junk food increases the effects of sleep deprivation. A student needs every hour of rest that they can get. They also need to have as much energy as possible to be successful in their studies. This is most possible when you avoid junk food.

Junk food will make you more tired than you actually are. Plants do the opposite.

Quote about the connection between a healthy diet and sleep deprivation in students
Junk food worsens sleepiness.


Examples of junk food that students usually eat

These are the foods that you need to avoid

  1. Fast food (from restaurants with a drive-through)
  2. Potato crisps and chips
  3. Processed meat and processed cheese
  4. Soda's (all carbonated or sweetened drinks)
  5. Instant noodles (like 2 minute noodles)
  6. White bread
  7. White rice
  8. Sweets and candy
  9. Anything that is high in sugar
  10. Food with a lot of condiments like ketchup (tomato sauce), mustard and mayonnaise


Conclusion

Remember to check out the healthy eating plans that are linked at the top of this post. Both of them are designed for people on a budget (and don't have time to cook every meal).

The most important thing is that you avoid processed food and include whole fruit and vegetables along with complete proteins in your diet.

Healthy food does not need to be expensive food. Every student should eat the foods that will give them the best chance to succeed.

Share the above images on social media so that you will remember the key takeaways of this article. If you liked this post, please let me know in the comments below. Stay Strong!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

How many carbs will break ketosis?

Ketogenic macro nutrient graph and ketogenic foods
Your lifestyle and your body will determine the answer.

How many carbs will break ketosis?

20 grams to 50 grams of net carbs will break ketosis. You will break ketosis if you consume over 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, depending on various factors. The exact number depends on your activity level, everything else that you eat and your body's physical make up.

Introduction

You have certainly heard about the ketogenic diet by now. Most of you have probably read a few of my other articles (and hopefully one or two of my eBooks) about it.

Keto in a nutshell

The entire diet is based around lowering your carbohydrate intake to the point where your body begins to look for alternative sources of energy. This allows you to effectively burn fat and increase your energy (because fat is a much more stable from of energy).

How many carbs is too many?

You may be asking, “How many carbs is too many”? In an effort to help clear the waters I will do my best to give you some general rules of thumb when it comes to carbohydrate intake on the ketogenic diet.

Woman that is worried about how many carbs she could eat on a keto diet
Let's make it simple so you don't have to stress about it.


The difference between total carbs and net carbs

Total carbs refer to all of the carbohydrates in a specific food. Net carbs are the carbohydrates that your body can actually absorb. Subtract fiber from total carbs to get the net carb value. Net carbs = Total carbs - Fiber.

The importance of net carbs and total carbs on a keto diet

Before we even begin to discuss the topic of carbohydrate intake, it is very important that you have a good understanding of how we generally count carbs on the ketogenic diet. The difference between the two will give you greater control over the amounts of food that you can eat.

Surly we’ve all found ourselves standing in the grocery store looking at the nutritional facts on the back of the box.

What are nutritional facts on labels?

This is the area where the manufacturer discloses nutritional information about the product such as calories per serving, protein amount and fat percentages and, of course, carbohydrate amounts per serving.

A nutrition facts label per serving
Image by the FDA

Where to find net carbs and total carbs on a food label

If you look closely, most product labels will list total carbs. The specific carbohydrate sources will be listed underneath total carbs (dietary fiber, total sugar and added sugar). Subtract fiber from total carbs to get net carbs. In the above label, there are 39 grams of net carbs (46 grams of total carbs minus 7 grams of fiber).

Why are net carbs important on keto?

People who practice a low carbohydrate diet like keto are only concerned with net carbs instead of total carbs. Net carbs are the carbohydrates that your body can absorb. To calculate your net carbs, simply subtract out your dietary fibers from the total carbs. This will give you your net carbs.

Should you work on net carbs or total carbs on keto?

There is some debate within the keto community about whether you should count net carbs or total carbs. I have personally found that I am just fine counting net carbs exclusively.

When I talk about carbs in this article, I will be referring to net carbs specifically.

Two ladies touch their hands while they exercise
Learn how to find your carbohydrate limit.

Everybody is different when it comes to carbohydrate metabolism

The question about how many carbs is too many for a specific individual can be a very hard question to answer. This is simply because everyone’s answer will be totally different. Here is a good example:

What works for me does not work for my wife. Our metabolic rates are very different. I carry more lean muscle than my wife. Thus, my body naturally burns more energy at rest than her.

This is even truer during an intense workout. My body has more lean muscle mass to fuel my workouts than hers does. It therefore requires significantly more energy to keep me going during intense activity.

I have found I can personally get away with an average of about 50 grams of carbohydrates per day without affecting my fat adapted state. My wife, on the other hand, would be completely kicked out of ketosis at anything over 20 grams. It all depends on your body and how it reacts to the carbs.

A man and a woman use ropes to exercise
Activity level determines carbohydrate metabolism.


The role of exercise in carbohydrate metabolism during ketosis

Physical activity is as important as individual metabolism when it comes to your individual carbohydrate limit.

If you spend a few hours every day on a mountain bike or on a running trail, you will ultimately be able to get away with more wiggle room in the carbohydrate department than someone who works at a desk all day with little to no physical activity.

Carbohydrates are a fast burning from of energy. If your body is in need of that immediate energy, carbs will be used up and burnt off almost immediately.

The targeted ketogenic diet (TKD)

In my article, Keto for Bodybuilding and Muscle Growth, I begin do discuss the 'Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)'. Top athletes who want to practice a low-carb lifestyle commonly use TKD.

What is the targeted ketogenic diet (or TKD)?

This is an adaptation of the traditional keto diet. It allows for you to 'back-load' carbs with your workouts. During times of intense physical activity, your body will immediately use these carbs rather than hold on to them. You drop out ketosis when carbs are not burnt up.

Physical activity affects your carbohydrate limits on keto

Your allowable, daily carbs will range significantly - depending on your lifestyle. A typical daily carbohydrate level for someone getting little to no exercise throughout the day would be around 20 grams. That could go up to as much as 50 grams for someone who lives an extremely active life.

I would suggest that no matter how active you are, don't go over 50 grams as a general rule. But, again, remember that everyone’s body is different. It is only through a little trial and error that you find exactly where you fall on the spectrum.

Woman that stands strong after an intense exercise session
Physical activity will determine your carb limit.


Conclusion

To really sum things up regarding the question about how many carbs you can have per day, the answer is: It all depends.

You are truly the only one that can answer that question. There are simply too many variables in play to allow me to give you a blanket answer. The generally accepted numbers are roughly 20 grams per day for the average person and up to 50 grams per day for top athletes.

This will give you a good target to shoot for when you initially start out on your low carb journey. Note that this is just a guideline and not gospel. These numbers will more than likely change as you gain experience and, most importantly, learn to listen to your body.

Once you learn to speak your body's language, you'll find that it will tell you exactly what it wants and what it needs. It will become much easier to focus in on your body’s optimal nutritional needs with practice.

If you enjoyed this article please leave me a comment or question below and let me know what you think! I love hearing from you and connecting with you. You guys are the reason that I’m here.

Keto Strong – A Beginners Guide to High Performance Keto

Picture of author eBook on the keto diet
Check out my eBook!

If you are interested in learning more about keto as an athlete, pick up my brand new book Keto Strong – A Beginners Guide to High Performance Keto. Let me help you to get a jump start on your keto journey!

J.P. Wells

J.P. Wells has spent the last 13 years of his life learning about, and pursuing, a healthy and active lifestyle. After sustaining a life-changing injury during his time serving in the United States Military, he dedicated his time to learning and researching ways to heal and re-build his body to get back to the active lifestyle that he grew up loving. 

Picture of JP Wells and his wife
JP Wells

On his blog J.P. Wells Fitness, J.P. Wells shares the knowledge and passions that he has come to learn from the fitness industry and fitness culture. He understands that health and fitness is not just a one-time choice. It is a lifestyle. Success with your goals is not made up of large, single decisions. They are determined by a series of small choices that are made well throughout every day.

Check him out on Facebook and Twitter.