Nutrients vs. 'Putrients' – What’s on Your Plate?


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  21 comments   :  12,824 Views

Well I’ve finally done it – joined the multitude who seem intent on meshing words together to come up with their own thing.  I’m sure at least one of my English teachers of the past is now rolling her eyes.

So what is a "putrient" anyway, and what does this have to do with keeping weight off?  I think it has everything to do with it.  Frequently people will stop by my SparkPage and ask me how I’ve lost all the weight, and how do I stay off the Yo-Yo dieting cycle.  Nutrients vs. Putrients is one of my answers.

It all comes down to what you are putting on your plate on a day-to-day basis. A putrient to me is one of the putrid ingredients that we eat because food marketers have convinced us it is food, but really it is not nutritious at all.  This was all reinforced for me recently when I was reviewing some information for for my personal trainer certification.  I was studying an article about the impact of obesity on our brain and it linked to a YouTube video called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth," by Dr. Robert Lustig, M.D. 

In it were some facts that I thought were stunning.  By drinking one regular soda a day for a year, you can add 16 pounds to your body.  Drinking one Big Gulp a day can add up to 47 pounds.  It is stark when you look at the long-term impact.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a proponent of abstaining from everything you love for the rest of your life.  I do believe in and practice moderation to include some foods that I love that shouldn’t be on my menu every day.  On the other side of that question though is what are you eating on a regular basis that you don’t think is really that bad, but if you calculated the impact out over a year would be something that you need to stop putting on your routine list?

I’ve done just about every diet known to man over the last 20 years. What I finally found that works for me is twofold: First is SparkPeople and being honest about tracking my food.  I’ve been using SparkPeople for over two years and I still find it beneficial to track my nutrition on a routine basis.  Part of tracking is periodically measuring my food so I understand what a correct portion size is.  The second part that has changed my life for good is the Clean Eating Diet.  Basically that comes down to eating healthy, nutritious food and eliminating as much artificial, processed food as possible.  I eat real food, and lots of it, on a daily basis. I think Tosca Reno should call it the Clean Eating Lifestyle because I never feel like I’m on a diet.  I eat six to seven times a day and am rarely hungry. 

 A few tips that I would recommend to get you started on moving towards nutrients and away from putrients would be to track your fruit and vegetable consumption on SparkPeople.   It’s very easy to click on that from your start page.  You can find recommendations for daily allowances on the USDA website. Second, choose more food that doesn’t come in a box with ingredients that you cannot pronounce.  Third, learn how to read a nutrition label, and if sugar or words that you can’t pronounce are in the first five ingredients, consider alternatives.  I like to us an application called Fooducate on my phone to scan items at the store.  Not only will it rate an item for me, but it will list several alternatives that received a better grade.  It helps me make better nutritional decisions on choice at a time.

What small steps can you take to change your eating habits to include more nutritious food?  Have you tried using the SparkPeople nutrition tracker?  What is your favorite fruit or vegetable?

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    I like your ideas about above topics. Your Post covers most of all the points related to the topic. - 1/31/2012   8:29:55 AM
    I would rarely be hungry if I ate six or seven times a day, but I don't have that kind of time! The nature of my profession doesn't allow me to always stop what I'm doing. - 1/13/2012   5:56:01 PM
  • 19
    I eat a healthy salad for lunch each day - my favorite fruit is apple and I use the nutrition tracker faithfully. - 1/13/2012   9:42:37 AM
  • 18
    I love your examples! Keep up the great work!! - 12/31/2011   3:34:51 PM
  • 17
    great blog. my favorite fruit is hard to decide as I have several apple, grapes & strawberries. my favorite vegetable is peas. Love my my fruits & veggies. - 12/31/2011   1:40:06 PM
  • 16
    I've tried to keep as much processed food out of my diet for about the last 6 months. It's amazing how much of it there is out there. There's nothing like making things from scratch with nice fresh ingredients. We're lucky here in NZ that fresh food is something we do really well. Great article. - 12/30/2011   2:35:37 PM
  • 15
    Thank you for recommending the video, "Sugar, the Bitter Truth." - 12/30/2011   9:26:41 AM
    I use Fooducate every day & I think it has helped me make better choices. I highly recommend it. - 12/30/2011   6:54:14 AM
  • 13
    Thanks for the tip on the app. I'll download it today! - 12/30/2011   6:08:45 AM
  • 12
    omg... fooducate is awesome! just downloaded onto my droid and played around with it at home... i love it!!

    i try to eat as much unprocessed foods as possible, i eat tons of fruits and veggies on a regular basis and it certainly helped me to lose weight! that was one of the staples of my lifestyle change.

    thanks for the great blog! - 12/30/2011   5:13:10 AM
  • 11
    My dietician also recommended Sugar: The Bitter Truth. Because of its length, I haven't seen the entire video yet, but will in the next week.
    I also am aiming to eat more unprocessed foods not just for the New Year but as my lifestyle. - 12/30/2011   2:19:19 AM
  • 10
    Happy 2012 New Year. - 12/30/2011   12:09:15 AM
  • TSHIRT24
    I plan to use menus from spark and track my food! My favorite fruit is oranges! - 12/29/2011   10:31:06 PM
  • 8
    Another great blog!! Thanks for doing the homework for us! - 12/29/2011   6:16:55 PM
  • JULIA1154
    I don't know that I could name a favorite fruit or vegetable - sometimes it's whatever is in season and is particularly tasty this year. I've always enjoyed a huge variety of freggies (my parents were both adventurous diners) so have many more likes than dislikes.

    I've found that the fewer processed foods I purchase the more readily I lose weight. Reading labels can be a real appetite suppressant! - 12/29/2011   4:04:40 PM
  • 6
    I just took the time to watch the lecture by Dr. Robert Lustig from the link on your blog. What an eye opener! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. I will need to revamp some of my current food choices, that much is obvious! - 12/29/2011   12:12:02 PM
  • 5
    New fav veggie: asparagus!
    I love it roasted. It's become a family fav too. - 12/29/2011   9:46:33 AM
  • 4
    I agree 100%. Thanks for the tip on "Fooducate" too. I just loaded it onto my Android phone. - 12/29/2011   8:51:17 AM
  • LJ1225
    Thanks for the info ... certainly has given me some food for thought. I know I must really change my lifestyle to lose weight and more importantly, to live more healthy. The "fooducate" app looks very interesting too ... going to check that out because sometimes it's hard to tell if a product is as good for you as you think. - 12/29/2011   7:33:17 AM
  • 2
    My husband and I always look at the food label and look at serving sizes, calories, how much and what kinds of fat, and carbs, then price. Most of the time we can find a less expensive item that is better in the nutrient count than the more expesive one. I can not believe how much salt and sugar we have given up for healthier choices and we don't even realize it until we eat something we considered normal long ago. It is amazing at how realatively easy it is to eat healthy. We find fresh veggies and fruit at our local farms and it's actually less expensive and fresher than Walmart! When you combine healthy eating with exercise it equals weight loss and a stronger body and immune system. - 12/29/2011   7:31:31 AM
    favorite fruit always has been the apple. But also like the grapes (seedless the better), banana, pineapple, all of the tropical fruits. As for veggies, carrots and corn are ok. Latino or Hispanic people are raised (at least me) eating tubers, lots of them, eg. plantains (green, yellow, fried, boiled, baked) any style. - 12/29/2011   7:26:16 AM

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