I have seen a lot of people talking about using apps to track their micro and macro nutrients to “make sure” they are getting what they need. The process seems exhausting to me (most diets do). They have to track everything they eat, how much, what kind, how it was cooked, etc, etc. Then the app spits out how they're doing on nutrients. There is much complaining about “failing” to get this or that or getting too much of the other thing.
But here’s the issue –
What your body needs can’t be determined by an app. Sure there are averages and generalities but your body has trillions of cells all doing whatever it is the cells do in relation to your environmental factors, the specific microbiome that you have and what enzymes you have. All of that is unique to you. All of that affects the balance of nutrients your body needs. And it changes from day to day and even hour to hour!
Fortunately, your body has about 2.5 million years of evolution to help it figure out what it needs, when. All you have to do is give it lots of options and it will take what it needs. That’s why portion control doesn’t work. Your body knows what it needs and it’s not going to be okay with less.
Have you ever had a boss who looked over your shoulder and told you how to do your job? When I was in my 20s my boss moved my desk right in front of her and would constantly question what I was doing. Since I got bonuses based on how many transfers I processed, I was none-to-keen on her slowing me down by making me explain myself to her. And since she didn’t actually know how to do my job, it made me want to pull my hair out. I ended up turning my computer so she couldn’t see it. But that meant I had to sit leaning over my desk. It was crazy!
Just imagine how your trillions of cells must feel about some app telling them what they need or don’t need!
Now, the problem is that most of “food” available in the Standard American Diet (SAD) isn’t very nutrient dense. Animal products and processed food-like stuff has tons of calories and human created chemicals, but the nutrients are stripped out (nutrients cause food to spoil). So, if you’re eating the way most Americans eat, then yes, maybe you should be tracking things because there is no way you’re getting the nutrients you need.
But, if you’re eating mostly plants and a variety of fruits, veggies, grains and starches your body will take exactly what it needs and use it to create optimum health. You don’t need to count. In fact, you don’t even have to know anything about it (bonus!)
Dr Robyn is a former competitive volleyball player turned psychologist with continuing education in nutrition. Russ is a former competitive bodybuilder and trainer on the Mr. Olympia Tour. They are the co-founders of Whole Food Muscle and the authors of How to Feed a Human The Whole Food Muscle Way. To work with them one on one to improve your health and fitness or to have them speak at your event or organization email them at Health@RnRJourney.com.