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Diet

Exercise is a critical component of overall health as it not only develops muscular strength and shape but increases metabolism and promotes overall well-being.  But no amount of exercise can compensate for poor dietary habits.  Forget fad diets - high protein, liquid diets, skipping meals, etc.  The body needs food on a regular basis but where most people fail is making poor dietary choices.  Fried foods, pizza, ice cream, pastries, candy, bread, rice and pasta should be consumed in only limited portions.  Instead choose vegetables, salads, soups, natural fruits and leaner sources of protein.  Limit the portion of calories from liquids.  This means choose water or tea over juices and sodas.  Yes, we all have certain food choices which are our weaknesses.  Identify those and choose better alternatives.  If you don't have it in the fridge you can't eat it!  Lastly, realize that portion sizes in restaurants are typically much larger than we are really hungry for.  Eat out of hunger rather than because of the time of day or because of social pressure. 

For those who are more interested in weight training and muscular development, there is evidence that the athlete does need additional protein to maintain a positive nitrogen balance and promote muscular growth.  But that is no reason to be downing protein bars (which usually are high in fat, sugar and calories) throughout the day and eating steaks and burgers "because I need more protein."  Have protein at each meal and add a protein shake or low-sugar protein bar for an afternoon snack.  If you consume more protein than you need, just like with excess carbs and fat, the body will convert the excess calories into fat.  That defeats the purpose of weight training.

This video illustrates the alarming increase in obesity in the US over the last 20 years...