How to Pick the Best Foods for Any Diet Part 3: How to Assess Nutritional Value in Foods

Overeating is something that SO many people struggle with. It’s an issue that has both physical and psychological ties and requires personalised help to overcome.

That’s why this may be one of the most important articles you’ll read if you truly want to help yourself or others tackle this problem!

Learning to assess nutritional values in food will help them (and you) all the same.

Because right now, a lot of people have a bad relationship with food. They don’t understand the concept of nutritional values and they suffer as a result.

It doesn’t help that there’s LOTS of conflicting information out there…

It seems like every article has a different idea about what you should and shouldn’t eat, which foods make you fat, and which help you lose weight…

Most of the time, those articles are misleading at best, and straight-up harmful at worst.

So, what if we told you that you CAN eat your favourite foods? Even if it’s hamburgers, pizza, or that dessert you just can’t live without?

Interested? (we know we are, because chocolate is life).

Well, let’s get down to the science of “how!”

Welcome to calories and nutrients 101

I’d like to start by addressing a common misconception when it comes to calories and nutrients…

It was an old FALSE belief that each calorie provided the same amount of nutrients. Modern science has proven that this is simply NOT true.

Not all calories are created equal!

That also means that eating more calories WILL NOT provide you with more nutrients.

In fact, “empty calories” are one of the worst things you can eat if you’re concerned about weight loss and good nutrition.

We use this term to describe foods and beverages that are comprised primarily of sugar, fats, or oils. (And very few essential vitamins and minerals, phyto-nutrients, fibre, or essential fatty acids like Omega 3.)

For example, sugary fizzy drinks.

These pack a large dose of calories (“food energy”) via sugar, yet lack any of the essential nutrients that contribute to important internal processes.

The quick sugar spike stimulates insulin production, which may lead to increased fat storage and the risk of diabetes over time.

To avoid such foods, we’ll want to look at nutrient density when choosing what to put in a diet…

So, what’s nutrient density and why should you consider it?

Nutrient Density shows us how much of a food’s energy content (or weight) comes from beneficial nutrients.

It’s going to be your personal and professional compass when choosing the healthiest food.

If you want to see an example, let’s take a look at 100 grams of carrots and 100 grams of milk chocolate.

Although we’re looking at the same weights, the carrots will contain about 40 calories…

While the milk chocolate contains 550.

But that’s not all…

Notice that most of the carrot’s calorie-content comes from carotenoids and fibre. (Both pretty good for your body!)

While all those milk chocolate calories come mainly from sugar and fat. (Not so good for your body, especially if you’re looking to lose weight…)

With this in mind, we can tell that 100 grams of carrots are a much better choice, health-wise than the milk chocolate.

And that’s because it’s more nutrient-dense.

Always consider this when you’re building a personalised diet plan!

The first step is always assessing the nutritional values of food. That way, you can create an EFFECTIVE meal plan that matches the needs of your future clients.

This will highly reduce the risk of nutrient deficiency and improve their overall health.

In short, they’ll see a positive change in how they feel… as a direct result of working with you!

But you can’t build diets based solely on carrots. That was just an example.

And that’s where the concept of superfoods come in!

“What about these superfoods I read so much about?”

Now, we know that we’ve covered fads so we want to address the term “superfoods” here as well.

When we talk about “superfoods” we’re not talking about some magical berry that will melt fat and lead you to the fountain of youth…

No. We’re talking about foods that are incredibly nutrient-dense and are jam-packed with good things that your body needs; like essential vitamins and minerals, fibre, phytochemical compounds, and healthy fats.

Sounds easy, right?

Fill your diet with them and you’ll supply your body with exactly what it needs to function at its best.

In exchange, you won’t feel hungry as fast and as often as before (thank you fibre)!

You’ll still have to watch your calories because too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing, and the same goes with “superfoods.”

But it’s less likely you’ll binge on them as your body will give you the “full + satisfied” signal quicker.

And as your body adjusts to having all of its needs met, you won’t crave sugary processed foods as much…

But if you do find yourself staring at the front of your favourite sweet shop, don’t panic!

We promised you could still eat hamburgers, pizza, desserts, and all that “bad” stuff.

And you can…

As long as you base 80% to 90% of your diet around superfoods.

You can fill the remaining 10% to 20% of your daily calories with whatever you like. And, if possible, you may consider making these “treats” at home from scratch, using whole ingredients so you know exactly WHAT goes into them!

(But make sure you don’t go overboard and load up on 120% of your caloric requirement. Even your homemade pizzas, burgers and desserts are calorific…).

Now the only question is, how can you find more information on superfoods?

Let me show you a simple “hack” to do that.

How to find over 8,000 scientific papers on superfoods…

Few people know but the term “superfood” was coined by the media just a few years ago. 

However, the concept had been carefully researched for a long time before that.

We scientists actually call them functional foods.

These are the same thing really. They’re both foods high in nutritional density that you can wholeheartedly recommend to most people.

The only difference?

When you search PubMed using the term “functional food(s)” you’ll find over 8,000 scientific papers.

You can access all this knowledge about the best foods for free. So, you’ll be able to give nutrition advice that’s backed by science.

Super cool, right?

But your journey doesn’t end here.

Your next steps…

By now you realize how you can assess the nutritional value of food. You also know that more calories do NOT equate to more nutrition…

You’ve learned about nutritional density, and you know how to use it as your guideline when building diet plans.

You can even access over 8,000 scientific studies on the best possible food choices.

Good job!

Now it’s time to decide if you want to comb through all of that research yourself, or if you’d rather have us summarise the most recent science cultivated over the last 5 years of development.

As appealing as 8,000 research abstracts may seem, we’ll make it easier for you…

Tomorrow’s article will give you a birds’ eye view of the latest nutrition findings from the last 5 years, and help you better understand what it takes to build a diet plan that actually works!

Ready to start learning more today?

Click here to explore our Nutritional Therapist certification page and get started!

If you’ve found this article helpful? Don’t keep all this info to yourself. Share it with your friends and family so they can live healthier lives too!

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