Diets come and go. Advice on water, supplements, energy drinks, and food choices vary like the wind. There are two key principles, however, that have withstood the test of time in our clinic:
Protein and water should make up most of your diet. Here is why. Fats and carbohydrates (sugars) are also essential parts of diets, yet almost everyone gets an excess of both. It takes effort to get protein—but if it is consumed in the morning, protein carries most people through the day’s activities longer than the other choices. It is a protein that builds muscle, provides the longest-lasting energy supply, and helps the immune system resist infection. Protein allows bones to build mass and helps tissues repair injuries.
The hard part is what to reach for when you are hungry between meals. The world is full of fatty fast foods and, worse, sugary ones. The brief high from an immediate sugar fix is both addictive and destructive. Every disease known to man—from tooth decay to fat deposition—has been linked to poor dietary choices. In addition, the gut microbiome adjusts itself to our dietary intake.
Eating fatty foods induces fat deposition while consuming sugar promotes the overgrowth of destructive bacteria—bacteria that communicate to the brain the desire for more sugar. But if you can reach for protein instead, the snack will fuel your efforts—both muscle and brain power.
Water is the ideal beverage. No calories, no sugar, pure taste, and an optimal source of hydration.
Try drinking water as a pre-beverage drink—a full glass of water before a beer or a cocktail. A glass before each meal reduces caloric intake. A glass before bed reduces nighttime dehydration. There are very few athletes who need to replace electrolytes, despite what the advertisements say. Yet there are millions of people who, if they drank water more often, would save untold dollars while improving their performance.