The Five Pillars of Good Nutrition


By Men’s Fitness Editors

Regardless of whether you’re looking to get bigger, leaner, or healthier, you’ll need to follow a core set of principles that lay the groundwork for your diet plan.

1. Try to eat six times a day
2. Limit processed foods
3. Stay hydrated
4. Eat lean protein throughout the day
5. Be strategic with carbohydrates

It really doesn’t matter if you’re trying to pack on size, chop off bodyfat, or simply live a little bit healthier. These pillars are cut and dry, as simple as they get. They’re the backbone to a solid eating plan. Follow these, and managing what foods to eat, and how to live well just got a whole lot easier.

1. Fuel your body with multiple small meals and snacks each day to keep your blood sugar levels under control and your metabolism steady. This will assist with stimulating the production of new muscle.

2. Whether it comes in a box, a carton, or a bag, if it’s got a label or a brand name, it’s likely highly processed and not worth eating. Remove these high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods from your life and you’ll be much more likely to stick to any weight loss or muscle-building goal.

3. Drink water and calorie-free beverages to keep your performance in the gym at its peak. Avoid sugar-laden drinks that will fatten your waistline and sabotage your body’s antioxidant defense systems.

4. Give your body a protein infusion every couple of hours to maximize muscle growth while stimulating the release of fat-burning hormones. The best sources include lean beef, chicken, and fish; lower-fat dairy foods; and soy.

5. Carbs come in two forms – starchy, faster-acting options such as rice, bread, and pasta, which raise blood sugar quickly; and non-starchy carbs such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are higher in fiber and raise blood sugar gradually. Non-starchy carbs are rarely a problem. Enjoy them! The timing of when you eat starchy carbs, on the other hand, is key to getting and maintaining a lean and muscular body. Eat them either first thing in the morning or directly after your workouts and your body is more likely to use them to help refuel your energy reserves.

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