What if there were one change that you could make to your diet, starting today, that would set you on a path toward better health and a leaner, more muscular body? Would you be interested in hearing about this fat loss “miracle”?
Well, the bad news is that there is no magic bullet when it comes to building a great physique or achieving super health. The good news is that there IS a singular change you can make to your eating habits that will lead you to a healthy, muscular physique over time.
What is this dietary superpower?
It’s simply shifting your focus toward whole foods and away from processed substances.
Why Whole Foods Are Important
In today’s fast-paced world, few of us are in danger of going hungry because food is readily available, and it’s there for the taking (buying) everywhere you turn.
Fast food, convenience stores, snack aisles, and even health food of supplement shops offer us a dizzying array of foods that can kill our hunger and keep us moving through our days.
Yet, despite the fact that Americans are as fat — or fatter — than ever, many of us are also at risk of becoming malnourished. That may seem impossible, but gaining and losing fat is largely a function of the calories you take in, while true nourishment is a function of the nutrients you take in.
Whole foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, raw milk, grass-fed meat, and wild fish are chock-full of the vitamins and minerals we need to be healthy, and they also provide plenty of the macronutrients — protein, carbohydrates, fats, calories — we need to function day-by-day.
When foods are processed in order to give them a longer shelf life and to make them more available and palpable to a wide swath of the population, most of those micronutrients are stripped from them. Probably the most famous example is enriched, or fortified, white bread.
In order to bake and sell large quantities of bread, manufacturers crack the wheat, removing all (or most) of the vitamins and pretty much all of the fiber. They then add back some of those lost vitamins and call it “healthy.”
The result is an inferior product that lacks much of the nutritional value of the original, as well as the fiber that slows digestion and helps you absorb those nutrients.
How Whole Foods Can Help You Lose Weight
The human body is remarkably efficient, and it will retain most excess calories that you consume in its most high-powered energy store — body fat.
What’s more, your body will tell you what you need, usually in the form of cravings. If you feed your body a steady diet of cheap, processed foods without much in the way of nutritional value, you will always be hungry as your body tries to cue you in to the deficiencies you’re creating.
On the other hand, when you begin to eat a diet rich in whole foods that supply all of the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients you need, your hunger will subside. Eventually, you’ll be hungry only when your body needs fuel in an acute sense, not because you are chronically malnourished in one area or another.
Beyond vitamins and minerals, whole foods also provide bulk in the form of fiber, which helps keep your bowels and vascular system healthy. That bulk keeps your belly full — think of how much broccoli you could eat for the caloric “price” of even one cookie.
When You Might Need Supplements
The heart of your diet, then, should be composed of whole foods that supply you with the nutrients you need to grow and stay healthy.
If you’re eating a highly-processed diet now, that ONE change will yield dramatic and almost immediate changes in your bodyweight, body composition, and energy levels.
Even when you get your diet dialed in, though, you can still run into deficiencies occasionally, especially once you drop below 2000 calories or so per day. In those cases, including a solid multi-vitamin/mineral supplement can help you cover your bases.
Of course, you should always talk with your doctor about any diet and exercise program you’re planning in order to make sure you’re healthy enough for the change.
For most people, though, whole foods will be part of your ticket to a leaner, more muscular physique.