There are far too many athletes and bodybuilders who neglect the importance of a proper diet. It is often tempting to dismiss the effects of a big meal, thinking that you are active enough to work off the extra weight. However, this assumption is usually not correct.
In the end, it all comes down to one thing: Optimal performance requires optimal fuel. Those who neglect this principle are likely to experience a whole host of health problems. In this article, we will examine the five most critical problems that come from a poor diet.
Problem #1: Poor Blood Flow
Iron is a nutrient that is far more important than most people realize. Although it’s not as important as the three macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats), iron plays a large role in the circulation system. When your iron levels are too low, your body is not able to circulate blood in a normal way. This can cause all kinds of problems as the body tries to compensate for this deficiency.
If we want to find proof of this fact, we need only look at a condition called anemia. As you probably know, anemia is a disorder of the blood. All medical authorities seem to agree that this condition is caused by a lack of iron in the diet (among other things). The body uses red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron, together with folate and vitamin B12, is one of the three substances that the body uses to create red blood cells.
Problem #2: Lack Of Muscle Growth
Most fitness enthusiasts are looking to lose fat and gain muscle. Without a proper diet, you can only do one of these things. If you use more calories than you eat, you can indeed lose weight. However, you cannot build muscle without a sufficient supply of amino acids. These proteins are used as raw material with which your body builds and repairs muscle tissue.
A low-quality diet is probably not going to contain enough protein. Most junk foods and snack foods are heavy on the fat and carbohydrates and light on the protein. They are essentially just filler, and you can’t build strong muscles with filler! In order to gain muscle, you have to create a positive protein balance, which means that your body is getting more protein than it uses.
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Problem #3: Longer Recovery Times
have you ever wondered why you feel so sore after a good workout? Just for the record, you might need to stretch more if this is a big problem for you. However, a poor diet can also cause you to feel sore for a longer amount of time after a workout. Even with good stretching, however, you will still likely experience some soreness. This happens because of microscopic damage that occurs when exerting your body.
We have already mentioned that you need plenty of protein to carry out this muscle repair. However, protein alone is not enough. You also need vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and calcium. Zinc and vitamin C are particularly important for the production of collagen, a bodily substance that is necessary for the maintenance of good bone and joint health.
Problem #4: Reduced Energy
The entire purpose of eating is to replenish the body’s energy stores. Therefore, any food that doesn’t offer a high nutrient content is a waste. Fat and carbohydrates are the body’s two main sources of energy, but carbs are slightly more important in this regard. Vitamins and minerals are very important for the conversion of fat and carbs to energy, so don’t neglect those either.
This does not mean that you should go out and eat a lot of fat and carbs when you need energy. On the contrary, this will likely cause a major weight gain. The answer is to seek out high-quality carbs and unsaturated fats. Whenever the body eats a meal that is heavy in saturated fats and/or bad carbs, it triggers a release of serotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that induces a feeling of satiety and satisfaction, but it also tends to make you feel drowsy. If you’ve ever had one of those days where you just can’t seem to wake up fully, it might be because you’ve eaten too much of that nasty saturated fat.
Problem #5: Reduced Immune Function
Even if you don’t care about losing weight or gaining muscle, you probably do care about your ability to live a long and healthy life. Well, guess what? Diet is critical for that matter as well. There are many studies (like this one) that have conclusively linked poor dietary habits to a decrease in the functioning of the immune system.
In particular, the immune system is affected by zinc, selenium, iron, copper, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, and folic acid. These are referred to as micronutrients because they are usually ingested in much smaller amounts than macronutrients. They are abundant in most natural foods, including both plant and animal-based foods. However, junk foods will give you little to none of these crucial micronutrients. It is worth noting that most processed foods are usually low in these micronutrients. That is why junk food can literally make you sick. If you already have an existing health condition, it is even more important that you give your body what it needs.
We could have named plenty of other health problems that result from a bad diet. However, we think these five are more than enough for you to get the point. If you don’t have the discipline to control your eating habits, your exercise sessions will largely be a waste of time. Sure, you will see some benefits, but you will always be holding yourself back from the health and fitness that you could have had. We advise you not to waste your time or your effort, which means adopting a healthy diet that provides everything you need. If this article has been helpful, we ask that you show your appreciation by following us on Facebook using the link below.