A Healthy Diet: What it Really Looks Like


EATING RIGHT doesn’t have to be complicated. Trust PRO Sports Club’s dietitians to tell you how it is. Optimize your health and manage your weight with the following basics:


Fruits and Vegetables

A diet rich in vegetables and fruits leads to lower blood pressure as well as a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and, most likely, some cancers. Consume a minimum of 4 1/2 cups per day. Eating a variety will optimize the mix of nutrients your body needs.

The Right Kind of Fat

Good fats include monounsaturated fats (avocados and olive oil) and poly saturated fats, which includes essential fatty acids (salmon, flaxseed, walnuts). Good for your heart, cholesterol, and overall health, these fats lower total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglycerides while raising HDL (good) cholesterol. How much? The percentage of fat in your diet is less important than the source of those fats, so consume mostly unsaturated fats.

Whole Grains

A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Although it’s recommended that 3 whole grain servings are consumed each day, only 10% of Americans do so.
Choose whole grains that are full of nutrients including fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium. Look for whole wheat as the first ingredient on the food label.

Lean Proteins

Since this macronutrient cannot be stored in your body, be sure to include lean protein with all meals and snacks. Lean protein provides satiety, helps build muscle and synthesizes enzymes and hormones.


Added Sugars

Often labeled as corn syrup, fructose, cane sugar, or brown sugar, these provide nothing but empty calories. Americans, on average, consume 22 to 28 teaspoons of added sugars a day, which is equal to 350 to 450 calories. Women should cut back to 100 calories (6 1/2 teaspoons) per day. Some of the negative impacts of a high sugar diet almost certainly include obesity, raised triglycerides and lowered HDL (good) cholesterol which can lead to heart disease and tooth decay.

The Wrong Kind of Fat

Trans fats, which are hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil, are found in commercially prepared baked goods and snack foods. Saturated fat is found in chicken with skin, whole-fat dairy products, and red meat. These fats tend to be solid at room temperature. Together these fats negatively impact total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Aim for 10% or less of calories from saturated fat and zero grams of trans fat per day.


It is recommended that sodium intake be limited to 2300 mg or less per day. However, on average, Americans consume 3400 mg each day. The majority of this consumption comes from processed foods. Cutting back on these, eating more fresh foods, and limiting salt makes it easier to keep to 2300 mg of sodium per day. For those sensitive to sodium, too much can lead to an increase in blood pressure. Meal tracking can help track your intake of sodium.


Originally from PRO Pulse September-October 2013
By Julie Tredway

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