Q1. How can I break my sugar addiction?
Often when you have a sugar addiction or craving sugar more than you would expect, it’s your body telling you that it needs energy. Which means you need to top up your energy levels in a different way. The primary change is to ensure you are getting 7-8 hours sleep every night, so you are sufficiently rested. Also, you may need to increase your in-take of carbohydrates (complex carbs ideally) which gives you energy for longer throughout the day and will decrease the need for a quick sugar boost. In addition, dehydration can make you feel drained and lethargic. Therefore, ensure you are drinking at least 2 litre of water every day.
Q2. Should I be limiting carbohydrates in my diet after lunchtime?
I would say, you need more carbohydrates earlier in the day. However, the time of day in-which you reduce your carbohydrates each day, is very dependent on your activity levels. If you tend to be fairly sedentary after lunchtime, then limiting your carbohydrates at this time (especially if you are looking to lose a few pounds) would be a positive thing to do. However, if you are active in the afternoon, I would recommend limiting carbohydrates a little later in the day, say mid-afternoon. If you limit too early based on your activity levels, you may find yourself craving sugar later in the day.
Q3. How do I know if I’m getting the recommended daily amount of certain vitamins?
If you are eating a varied and balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, vegetables and fruit, it is very likely you are getting all your body needs each day. Variety of different foods each day is key as this will cover a broad spectrum of what your body needs. Generally, if you are feeling and looking fine, you are likely to be getting enough vitamins. However, if you are feeling unusually fatigued, weak and/or experience paler than usual skin, then you will need to re-evaluate your vitamin and overall food in-take.
Q4. Does the paleo diet live up to the hype?
The paleo diet does have its benefits. You do lose weight relatively fast and can reduce bloating (water retention). However, the lack of carbs does mean you are low on energy, which can make day to day activities difficult. You also, at some point, need to re-introduce carbohydrates into your diet. Coupled with low energy (chances are you have not been doing as much exercise due to it), your metabolism isn’t going to be firing like it used to. This can then cause you to put all the weight back on plus some. Oh, and you have probably heard that it causes bad breath too! I’m not saying it doesn’t live up to the hype, but I wouldn’t personally recommend a paleo diet. At least, not for a extend amount of time.
Q5. If I’m training, do I need to increase my protein?
Protein is needed for muscle repair and rebuilding so therefore, yes I would suggest increasing your protein in-take. Also increase how much water you have during this time, to avoid dehydration.
Q6. What does a daily food intake look like to make sure that I cover all nutrients and vitamins I need? (I’m a 40-year-old man who is a runner).
This is a difficult one, as it’s dependant on your current activity levels. Generally, I would suggest having 4-5 smaller than average meals to keep your metabolism high. If you are a long-distance runner, you should eat slightly more protein for muscle repair and also have more complex carbs for longer in the day (but not too late in the day). You, of course need your 5 a day at least. This needs to be of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day to ensure you cover all the nutrients and vitamins you need. Mix with colourful vegetables which are higher in vitamins such as vitamin C with green vegetables which are higher in vitamins such as iron. Use this as a rule of thumb and you should have everything covered.
Feature from inside our Thrive Health Magazine Summer issue article written by: Sharon Armstrong.
Say hello to our THRIVE EXPERT Nutritionist – Sharon Armstrong[dipN, SACdip, RDN, FNTP] A Thrive Expert and Clinical Nutritionist. Sharon is here inside each issue to answer your nutrition and food based questions.
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