Lately, trendy diets seem to be taking over the food scene, but little is known about the science behind why they do or don’t work. Blindly starting a diet without any information on how it affects your body can be one of the worst things you do for your health.
To fully understand your own health, you need to learn why you truly are what you eat. This can be difficult when dining halls offer limited meal choices, and groceries are expensive on a college budget. I found the first few weeks of school daunting because I had a much smaller variety of foods. It was especially hard for me to find something to eat because I am such a picky eater. However, I decided to take a nutrition class, and it completely changed my outlook on food.
CU doesn’t offer a major in nutrition; however a variety of nutrition classes are offered throughout campus. I had the opportunity to take one through my RAP program in Libby Hall. Our professor was Dr. Donna Louie. She made class fun and taught all of us valuable lessons regarding our health. My first few weeks of classes covered food groups and the smart ways to effectively eat healthy. Unlike the diets we commonly see, like gluten-free, no carb, and most recently juice cleanses, Dr. Louie taught us how to properly lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or gain weight.
The science behind your body is not difficult to understand, but most diets don’t outline the reasoning behind restrictions or add-ons. For example, going on a strict no carb diet can be one of the worst decisions you make, especially if you exercise regularly. Carbohydrates provide the main source of energy for your body, so cutting them out does more harm than good. A no carb diet can lead to quick weight loss, however over a longer period of time, the weight will end up being gained back, plus more. Dr. Louie was very dedicated to making us realize that carbs are good for everyone.
Nutrition class is not just a list of foods we shouldn’t eat. Overall, different ways to maximize the number of nutrients we get in our diets every day are provided throughout the semester. Good nutrition is all about balance. You’ll learn that desserts are okay, junk food in moderation won’t kill you, and nutrients can be found in hidden places.
However, the class provides an eye-opening experience of what is being put into our bodies, and that we should probably be avoiding certain foods. Soda, for example, can do more harm than good. Every aspect of what we eat has to go somewhere in the body, whether it is stored as fat or altering the cells to cause cancer. Everything we eat becomes a part of us, so it’s critical that we make good choices and understand what food actually is.
It’s also essential to understand how much food we should eat. Recently, MyPlate has replaced the food pyramid for an outline of how much food should be eaten based on a 2,000 calorie diet. The new format offers a visual representation of how much food we should eat per meal.
The amount of food we eat is also essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. According to Dr. Louie, there are four words to remember when analyzing your diet; adequate, balanced, moderate and varied. These aspects make for a healthy diet and a long life.
So, the next time you’re registering for classes, reflect on your eating habits throughout the previous semester. You’ll quickly come to realize that a nutrition class can only improve your life. College is the perfect place to start developing nutritional eating habits, and taking a nutrition class provides a resource to keep your body happy and healthy for the rest of your life. It completely transformed me from a picky eater with limited options into a student looking to get the most nutrients out of each meal.