When we speak in terms of “appropriate” food selection, let me go ahead and clarify what an “appropriate” food is. I’ll be writing mostly on carbohydrate sources as this is where I believe most people screw up their diets and start incorporating the wrong types of foods that eventually perpetuate rebound weight gain, or ward off any fat loss success to begin with.
First and foremost,the best foods for getting lean and staying lean are foods that:
1) you enjoy eating (so it doesn’t feel like you’re starving or depriving yourself from eating what you really want to eat, with discretion and moderation of course.)
2) foods that leave you feeling full. I’m mostly speaking upon food volume and highly fibrous foods (foods that require a moderate amount of chewing to consume and eat).
“Appropriate” Carbohydrate sources:
a) foods that are high in vitamins/minerals
b) foods that are high in fiber (fruits, vegetables, and grains mostly.)
c) foods that are low in calories (meaning you can consume a higher total volume of that food without blowing your caloric intake for the day, yet still feeling full and not being subjected to having to eat ultra small portions of that particular food.)
Comparing Foods (1 cup of soda vs 1 cup of strawberries)
I’m now going to go ahead and make a comparison on food selection to better educate you on the idea of selecting appropriate foods to help you towards your fitness goals.
1 cup of cola: 0g protein/27g carbohydrates/0g fat
-low food volume (relatively high calorie-to-volume ratio. meaning small portion of food, yet a relatively high amount of carbohydrates and consequently total caloric intake.)
1 cup of strawberries: 1g protein/11g carbohydrates/0.43g fat
-high in fiber
-loaded with vitamins/minerals (vitamin C especially)
-high food volume (relatively low calorie-to-volume ratio. meaning small portion of food, yet a relatively small amount of carbohydrates and consequently total caloric intake.)
As you have seen above, the cola has:
1) twice the amount of carbohydrates
2) virtually no vitamins or minerals
3) zero fiber
What does this mean?
When you take into consideration that when you make attempts to lose weight and maintain a leaner physique, you will have to maintain proper eating habits. Proper eating habits are habits that only perpetuate diet adherence relative to your goals. And for most of the fitness population that is to get lean and stay relatively lean in the long term. So then, if your goal is to lose weight and/or stay lean, you have to be intelligent in your food selection.
Speaking from a psychological standpoint, if you are eating poor “calorie-to-volume” foods, you are essentially consuming foods that could possibly:
1) leave you feeling hungry later
2) have very little to no fiber at all
3) have little to no vitamins or minerals
And to top it off you risk overeating, halt fat loss, and make your goal to stay lean nearly impossible.