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

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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?