Vigor Improvement Practices—Nutrition (Part 2)

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Want to feel better than you’ve ever felt?

Here’s another excerpt from my 10th book, The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

Some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions every year are:
*Lose Weight
*Get in Shape
*Reduce Stress
*Get Healthier
*Win the Lottery

The Secret of Vigor can help you with 4 out of 5 of the most popular resolution goals, so I’ll be posting excerpts from the book for the next several weeks – so please stay tuned for each installment.

If you simply can’t wait, then you can certainly get a copy at or at your favorite library or bookstore.

Vigor Improvement Practices—Nutrition (Part 2)

Beyond fruits and vegetables, you may also be confused about “macronutrients,” which are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Many dieticians and nutritionists forget the concept of “balance” and guide their clients toward diets high in complex carbohydrates. Although it is true that most people can increase the amount of complex carbohydrates they eat, it is important to balance those carbohydrates with proper amounts of protein, fat, and fiber.

Because we’re on the subject of carbohydrates, here are a few things to keep in mind: During anxious or highly stressful times, you may even crave carbohydrates, such as bread and sweets. Those cravings are due in part to the effect that the stress hormone cortisol has on the body in terms of suppressing insulin function, increasing blood-sugar levels, and stimulating appetite. Your brain may also urge you to eat more carbohydrates, because they can act as a “tranquilizer” of sorts by increasing brain levels of serotonin (the neurotransmitter that calms you down). Unfortunately, although caving into the craving for carbs may give you a euphoric feeling for a few minutes, you’ll surely pay for it later in the form of low energy levels, mood swings, more cravings, a tendency toward weight gain—and, of course, a loss of vigor.

Besides the problem of balancing complex carbohydrates with appropriate amounts of protein, fat, and fiber, another issue causes confusion for many people. Some popular dietary experts promote the idea that proteins are “good” and carbohydrates are “bad.” Those following such misguided advice may end up consuming too much protein and not enough carbohydrates.

Again, this type of approach misses the point that what you want to strive for is the right balance of each. Achieving this balance is of key importance, because each of the macronutrients performs a different role in the body. Protein can be thought of as the primary tissue builder (and rebuilder), because it helps you maintain lean muscle mass. But if you consume more protein than you need (as might happen when drinking some of the very high protein bodybuilding drink mixes), the result can be dehydration and bloating.

By the same token, it is vital to consume carbohydrates, because they serve as the primary fuel for the brain (which cannot use any other fuel source as efficiently) and also play a role as a metabolic enhancer to encourage the body to use fat as a fuel source. A popular saying among metabolic physiologists is that “fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate,” which means that the breakdown products of carbohydrate metabolism are required for the optimal breakdown of stored body fat and the conversion of that fat into energy.

Finally, in addition to proteins and carbohydrates, fat and fiber are also essential to good health. They are needed to round out the balanced macronutrient mix, because they work to slow digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, control blood-sugar levels, and induce satiety (feelings of fullness). Then, too, certain kinds of dietary fat provide your only sources of the essential fatty acids (EFAs), linoleic acid and linolenic acid. These EFAs have been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure; reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and possibly some kinds of cancer; and prevent dry hair and skin.

As you can see, your body needs all the macronutrients, and it is much better to take a balanced approach to nutrition than to try to eliminate certain foods or restrict your diet in unhealthy ways.

About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Solve the 3 Main Sleep Problems
and Improve Your Sleep Quality
without Drugs or Synthetic Melatonin