Basics of nutrition-preface

Dear readers,

reading about debunked myths might be a pleasant diversion for you but I assume that you’d appreciate a few wise words about nutrition and some facts that you could actually use to make changes in your diet. And believe me that it takes much more effort to disprove a myth than to write an article about healthy breakfast.

First of all, Id like to share my two experiences: 1. A few years ago on the World Health Day, when I took to the streets as a student of nutrition therapy and asked people what the three basic macronutrients are, I realized to my surprise that they didn’t know. They just couldn’t say the three words: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. 2. Every athlete can give me a lecture on aerobic oxidation but when I ask them why we need to eat fibre and where it can be found, only a small percentage of them answers correctly.

“As if a detailed understanding of one area was enough to understand the whole.”

People understand details but they don’t comprehend the whole. They lack the foundations they could build on. When I offer fifteen diets/eating plans/eating styles to somebody and explain to him/her each of them in detail, people tend to just choose one thing that is convenient to them and that they understand and include it into their diet. And that is a mistake. Another thing is that most, if not all, of the diets are to a certain extent restrictive. That means that there are certain foods or whole food categories that are not allowed. When something is radically removed from our diets, it limits us in our daily life and is just a matter of time until we quit. And then come bad mood, desperation, sense of failure. Every diet forbids something and recommends something else. Who’s to understand and remember it all? People are confused and there’s chaos in their heads, learning hundreds of details but still not seeing the whole picture.

I am not going to offer you another ground-breaking theory that will forbid you to eat half of what you like but will guarantee you that you’ll see results in two weeks’ time and then you can eat as you did before. Many of you don’t have a problem and I’ll not create one for you. Many of you are simply confused about what’s the truth and what isn’t. And then there are those who have a medical condition and the question “What does it contain?” is their mantra that they didn’t choose but that life dealt to them.

Let me then begin by stating the essential facts. For me such facts are represented by the Healthy 13. They are 13 simple principles of healthy eating, a nutritional recommendation for a healthy population published by The Czech Society for Nutrition (Společnost pro výživu), and created by nutrition and food science experts. I’m going to tell you something about each point and you’re going to learn many tips and tricks.

Healty 13

  1. Maintain a healthy, constant body weight basedon BMI (18,5 – 25,0 kg/m2) and healthy waistline below 94 cm for men and below 80 cm for women.
  2. Do some daily physical activity about 30 minutes, such as taking a brisk walk or excercising.
  3. Eat a varied diet, 4-5 meals per day and do not skip breakfast.
  4. Eat enough frutis and vegetables (raw and cooked), at least 500 g per day (two times more vegetables than fruits), divided into several portions and eat a small amount of nuts from time to time.
  5. Consume grain products (preferably whole-wheat, pasta and rice) or potatoes up to 4 times per day, do not forget to eat legumes (at least once a week).
  6. have fish and seafood at least 2 times per week.
  7. Inculde milk and dairy products into your diet every day, mainly the fermented ones.
  8. Keep track of your fat intake, limit amount of fat you consume every day: hidden sources (high fat meat and meat products, dairy products, pastry and long-lasting bakery products that are high in fat, crisps, chocolate products) spreads, fats used in cooking. If possible, replace animal fats with vegetable oils and fats.
  9. Cut down on sugar, mainly the sweetened beverages, candy, canned fruti and ice cream.
  10. Reduce your table salt intake and cosumption of high-salt foods (crisps, saltet pretzel sticks, smoked food and cheeses), do not add too much salt into cooked meals.
  11. Prevent food poisoning by handling food properly when buying it, storing it and preparing meals. When it comes to cooking, opt fot healtier cooking methods, limit grilling and frying.
  12. Do not forget to drink enough water, at least 1,5 l of fluids (water, mineral water, weak tee, fruit tea and fruti juice, preferably sugar-free)
  13. In case you drink alcohol, do not exceed the daily safe alcohol limit: 20g (200 ml of wine, 0,5 of beer, 50 ml of spirits).