Yesterday I had the privilege of speaking with six different freshman health classes about nutrition. If only I had known as a teenager what I now know....
I gave an overview of how nutrition is the foundation of everything we do, and without it, sport (or even a healthy life) may not be achievable. The information that was preached to me when I was a kid is inherently flawed. Refined carbohydrates, such as bread and cereals, should not make up the bulk of our diet. Real foods, such as vegetables, lean meats, healthy fats and some fruit are much better choices. In the 70's and 80's saturated fat was vilified and said to cause heart disease. What was overlooked was the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates consumed in conjunction with fat. The fat free trend was born,more sugar replaced fat in foods, and we have become sicker and more obese as a nation. Something is broken.
Sound nutrition is about insulin control. Obesity is merely a symptom, with the real problem being too many refined carbs, sugar and polyunsaturated fats consumed in the average American diet. Over time, this toxic combination causes inflammation and can lead to hyperinsulinimia which can, in turn, lead to hardening of the arteries, type 2 diabetes, increased triglycerides and obesity.
The message I left the teens with today was to eat as follows as often as possible. Sure they will enjoy some candy on Halloween, cake on birthdays and pizza with friends. But if the following can be the norm, they will be doing what they can to set themselves up for healthy eating for life.