Reducing Nutritional Deficiencies
Reducing nutritional deficiencies is a huge step that people forget to think about. When trying to lose fat, most of us want to know what to cut out and what we should be eating. We want to cut carbs and sugar, eat more veggies, a lot more protein, only eat raw, or whatever. I don’t know. You have heard it all before.
- “ Let’s go vegan.”
- “Want to try Keto?”
- “ I am going to try juicing for a while. I heard that it is awesome!”
- “ Maybe I can fast for 20 hours and then eat whatever I want!”
While all of these may sound like good ideas, and have some redeeming value, they don’t attack the problem with most folks. There is no perfect diet, but all of the example diets above do hold a tremendous amount of educational value. Dr. John Berardi has researched and found studies that show the majority of people, even the so called “perfect” eaters and athletes, can be deficient in many nutritional areas.
No matter how well we eat, chances are we have some type of nutritional deficiency. This is why many folks who go on a diet feel lousy. They have low energy, lack focus, are in a bad mood, and are short of endurance. I have been guilty of noticing these signs in myself, but not doing anything about them. Not anymore!
Signs To Look For:
Here are some common deficiencies you need to look for:
- Water (low-level hydration): Dry skin, low energy, bloating and constipation is all signs to look for.
- Vitamins and minerals: Low energy, poor immune function, and a low intake of vegetables are some signs to look for.
- Protein (particularly in women and men with low appetites): This can happen when you are not eating enough protein-rich foods. Low amounts of lean muscle tissue, low energy, reduced strength, and not recovering from your workouts are some signs to look for.
- Essential fatty acids (95% of population is deficient here):
Poor immunity, inflammation, up and down blood sugar, and reduced satiety are all signs to look for.
How Do I Know if I am Deficient?
If you are having one of the side effects I mentioned above, most likely you have a deficiency. Keep in mind that you may never be without deficiencies, but you can drastically improve them to where you will not notice signs or symptoms.
I am not big on counting calories, macros, etc., but if you want to get some raw data, you can visit Fitday or livestrong.com and use their calculators. An easier way to start reducing deficiencies is to follow this quick guide I learned from the Precision Nutrition (PN) Team:
- Eat more of the protein-rich foods that you prefer;
- Drink more hydrating fluids;
- Take in more essential fats (through fish, oil, krill or sea algae oils);
- Eat more foods rich in vitamins, minerals and other phytonutrients;
- Using a whole food green supplement can help fill in the gaps.
What the PN team and I noticed, was that without doing much else, people were already feeling better and losing weight just from this advice alone. As they started to reduce their nutritional deficiencies, things just started to happen.
There was a study in the British Journal of Medicine that showed a 5% decrease in aggression and a 26% decrease in antisocial behavior in prison inmates just by taking a fish oil supplement, multi-vitamin, and mineral supplement. Also, a paper published in Nutrition Reviews showed that giving kids fish oil and a multi-vitamin improved behavior and intelligence scores. Imagine what reducing deficiencies can do for gaining muscle and losing fat?
The bottom line is if you are deficient in nutrients, you will constantly battle to achieve your health and fitness goals. Getting in all of the nutrients that you need through food will be a tough task, especially since most people are just too busy to prepare and eat the food we need. This is where proper supplementation will help. I will go into more depth on supplements a little later.
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