“If I am eating a nutrition plan from a magazine I read, how do I know I am really getting everything I need nutritionally?”
This is a great question that I actually get a lot. Magazines are under pressure to have articles that are new and different each month and having the latest nutrition plan is a great way to draw a potential reader’s attention. With that being said, it can be concerning to wonder if that plan will provide everything your body needs, especially since many of these are driven by the latest fads. I will say this to give you piece of mind; all nutrition plans found in any magazine should have been overviewed by a dietician or nutritionist. If you can’t find the reference for someone with these credentials on the article it would be best to avoid the diet plan.
Another thing you may notice with most nutrition plans in magazines is that they are typically meant to be followed only for a certain number of weeks. This can mean two things; either the plan is designed to achieve a specific wellness goal, or the plan designer knows it doesn’t have everything your body is meant to have for the long term. The former reason is okay; however, you may have issues maintaining the results you achieved with the plan if a maintenance program isn’t provided.
Some other areas to look at for a nutrition plan is if it is designed around the use of a specific product like a meal replacement, supplement brand, a recovery drink, etc. This is a key give away that the nutrition plan is more concerned with your use of the product than your individual needs. A plan may recommend taking a multivitamin, but it should not be a necessity for all cases.
Some key go-to elements for a good nutrition plan are:
- Primarily based on fruits and vegetables with at least 5 servings a day
- Lean proteins regularly throughout the day
- Minimal sources of other carbohydrates should be from starchy tubers, roots, and gourds like sweet potatoes, turnips, and squashes
- The only food groups acceptable to be absent are dairy and grains
Any plan that omits the first three bullet points or over emphasizes the last bullet point, will have a high likelihood that the plan will be nutrient deficient and best to be avoided. I will also note that organic foods should be preferred, and your animal based foods should be free range and pasture raised.