Today, we’re talking about the importance of nutrition. Nutrition is considered one of the single most important factors in helping you optimize your weight (through both weight loss as well as weight maintenance) in addition to improving your overall health and wellbeing.

When it comes to losing weight, people often think that if we simply exercise more, we’ll see results – and while regular physical activity certainly plays a role in losing weight, it actually only accounts for 30% of the equation, while diet and nutrition account for the rest – up to 70%. Early on, much of the focus on weight loss was on the wrong things, such as short-term (or what’s now known as “yo yo”) diets. It was also thought that the main reason why people accumulated too much fat in their bodies was because they had too much fat intake in their diets, which is also not exactly accurate. The real reason is due to carbohydrate intake – although it depends on what kinds – and the emphasis, now, is to be able to separate the bad carbohydrates from the good, and know exactly what you should or shouldn’t be putting into your body in terms of the foods you eat.

When it comes to carbohydrates, they are separated into two categories:

• Simple carbohydrates
• Complex carbohydrates

Examples of simple carbohydrates including foods that are high in sugar, such as:

• Candy
• Cake
• Chocolate
• Ice cream
• Pop
• Juice

These types of simple carbohydrates are made up of two sugar molecules that give them the sweet flavour you might find yourself craving, and they should ultimately be avoided at all costs.

It’s also important to recognize carbohydrate loads that aren’t sweet in flavour but can also still cause a spike in blood sugar levels and be overall unhealthy for you. These are known as complex carbohydrates, and include starches such as:

• Bread
• Rice
• Pasta

As for what carbohydrates are considered good carbs, think of foods that are high in fibre, such as vegetables (as well as some fruits.) Examples of good carbohydrates include spinach, lettuce, cucumber, quinoa, and tomato.

If you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll need to focus on a diet that consists of higher protein and moderate to extreme reductions in carbohydrate levels. Examples include the South Beach diet, Atkins diet, Paleo diet, and Hunter Gatherer diet – all of which focus on the same or very similar things. Protein sources, such as chicken, should also be a main staple of your diet as it can not only help you feel full for longer periods of time (making you less likely to want to snack in between meals), but it will also help build muscle and prevent your blood sugar from spiking.

When changing your diet, it’s important to plan and organize as much as possible to ensure you are consistent with your healthy eating habits. In addition, the more radical your plan is, the more quickly you will notice results and stay motivated to continue down the path of healthy eating.