The saying goes ‘’you are what you eat’’ – at first glance it makes a lot of sense, but then I never thought after eating a cake I started to look like a Victoria Sponge that much. Joking aside, whilst the sentiment is sound the message isn’t correct. It should read ‘’you are what you absorb.’’ The fitness industry is rife with advice on how many calories and macros you must ingest if you want to build muscle or burn fat. Ironically there is far less emphasis on the fact that you need to ensure your digestive system is firing on all cylinders – if it isn’t then the food you eat no matter how carefully weighed out will not be as beneficial to your goals as you might have hoped for.
Some will pay heed, most will dismiss this as a mellow dramatic view point – those who do take notice will however notice the difference and in turn benefit from improved health and enhanced results.
Why is it important? Just because you chew something down doesn’t by default mean your body absorbs the nutritional content. If it doesn’t it will be passed as waste. What’s worse, if that particular food is causing issues for your digestive tract and stimulating inflammation then you might feel uncomfortable, fatigued and unable to benefit from other foods as well. In short, the digestive system is the key to your results. Before you start weighing meals, hitting macro targets let’s make sure you are absorbing the food you eat effectively!
To add further weight to the punch let’s not forget that the immune system is housed within the gut. If we are causing inflammation to occur within the gut on a regular basis by failing to support our digestive system then our immune function could also suffer. If this occurs, the body will simply not prioritise fat loss or muscle building – it will be focussed on battling colds, sore throats and all those other gremlins we learn to hate once or twice a year.
If ever there was a justification for spending money on supplements and specific foods it is for gut health and digestive performance. No question about it at all! As a ‘’default’’ setting below are 2 supplements I feel you should utilise immediately in order to cover the bases which have just discussed.
Digestive enzymes are fantastic as a ‘’fail safe’’ supplement to boost digestive health. A lot of the foods we eat can be hard for the body to break down effectively, a market leading digestive enzyme will simply enhance your ability to digest and absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat. Udo’s Choice are market leaders in this category!
Greens powders are something I like all my clients to use, along with the supplement above. They have a myriad of benefits on the digestive front. We can increase fibre intake instantly, micronutrient (vitamins and minerals) intake and improve liver health. Combined this makes for improved gut health and the ability to absorb food more effectively.
To further compliment the two supplements above aim to eat at least 90% of your overall calorie intake from natural single ingredient foods and furthermore add in plenty of roughage from green leafy vegetables. In doing so you will increase natural digestive enzymes present in your system which will be imperative to effective food absorption.
As a finale note, keep a food diary. Track all the foods you are eating and how they make you feel afterwards – if there is any bloating, stomach cramping, trapped wind or excess fatigue there’s a good chance that food needs to be removed from your diet for the time being.
Next time somebody tells you ‘’you are what you eat’’ correct them and point out the fact that absorption is where the real magic happens. If you can increase what you can absorb then you can improve health and progress. Simple!