Most people find nutrition the hardest part of their quest to weight loss, fitness and good health. It really isn't very complicated and most are able to obtain the health, performance and body composition they desire with these straight forward guidelines:
• Eat more protein (meat, fish, eggs, cottage cheese)
• Eat more vegetables
• Eat more fresh fruit
• Avoid refined carbohydrates (sugar, white flour)
• Eat more nuts, seeds and beans
• Eat less junk food (any processed food counts as junk food no matter what its fat or sugar content)
• Do not have more than one standard alcoholic drink a day (none is best, no matter what supposed "health benefits" come from red wine)
• Do not smoke
When people follow these guidelines they feel better, instantly look better, have more enthusiasm and energy for working out, and in combination with a good weights and cardio routine they build muscle strength and tone and lose fat, and become fitter.
Fat loss comes down to energy in vs energy out. Your workouts increase your energy out, your diet is the energy in. Food consists of four basic things: protein (builds muscles etc), fats (builds cells, provides energy to live and move), carbohydrates (provides energy to live and move), and nutrients (vitamins and minerals). There exist essential and non-essential proteins; that is, the non-essential ones the body can just make out of something else, the essential ones it can't, it has to consume. And there are essential and non-essential fats, too. But there are no essential carbohydrates, they just give you energy.
Which brings me to the popular low carb diet and why they work so well. When you want to reduce energy in, you can cut protein, fats or carbohydrates. When you cut proteins and fats, you cut some essential ones, too, and thus risk your health. When you cut carbohydrates you just lose some of the energy in. So if a person wants to lose weight or body fat, it is often suggested to cut carbs, which will reduce total energy in while sacrificing the least nutrients.
As well, the most energy dense processed food tends to be carbs - sugars in biscuits and fizzy drinks, other carbs in crisps (in the lethal combination of bad carbs/ bad fat). As well as being energy dense, being processed it will have lost many nutrients which are needed to keep the body healthy.
Whole grain carbs aren't bad in themselves and the more active you are the more you can consume as you will need them for energy. They won't make you fat. Just avoid ALL refined carbs they are simply pure energy and have lost most vitamins and minerals the original grain had. Select whole and unprocessed foods as much as possible. A pound of boiled rice is going to fill you up and nourish you a lot better than a single doughnut. But two pounds of mixed vegetables will fill you up and nourish you even better still.
Try eating wholegrain carbs (and unprocessed food in general) in the daytime and gradually replacing them with vegetables as the day moves on so your evening meal is all protein, good fats (e.g. oily fish) and mixed vegetables. No need to overcomplicate things.
Remember the KISS principle- Keep Things Simple Stupid (and that DOES NOT mean simple carbs!)
Mark Hayward Personal Training 2015