I am a 46 yr old male in general good health. 5'7'' 220.
It's very confusing. Paleo, Atkins, good carbs, no carbs, vegetarian,,,etc..
I stopped working out last August. Was doing Crossfit for about 8 months and really enjoyed it. I also worked in some 2 mile to 5K running in with it. Got lazy and stopped about 6 months ago. I am planning on restarting back up. I have come to realize the diet is just as important (if not more) than the exercise but I am sooo confused to how I should eat. My main goal is weight loss and muscle toning. I am not going to be burning thousands of calories on my workouts and I am not trying to be an Arnold Schwarzeneger.
I am planning on restarting my fish oil regiment and vitamin D and C supplements but it's the diet that has me most confused. Sugar is bad so can I eat fruit? Sushi would seem to be healthy but carbs? Eggs? If I go low carb then rice is out along with whole grain cereals and milk. If I go low cal, then steaks and most meats are out. It's very confusing and the more I read, the more I get confused.
Your body needs everything you can give it, including carbs, sugars, protein, even fats. You just need to know how to eat in moderation and know which of these are bad for you ( specifically, such as sugar is okay, but not high fructose corn syrup ). Whatever you choose to eat, just remember the basic things - drink plenty of liquids ( water, milk, juice ), don't consume too much fat in any form, or too much sugar including the sugars from fruit, and make sure you're getting the recommended daily amount of all vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, etc.
You should be eating about 2500 calories per day, and a bit more if you're doing intense workouts of course. Your body needs protein, fiber, carbs, water, sugar, and other vitamins and minerals, and there's several places online that can help you find out exactly how much you need.
If you can, the best diet would be to eat raw or steamed vegetables / fruit, plenty of water / juice ( 100% or fresh ) / milk, any type of grain such as pastas / rice / oats / etc, and don't overdo anything. What a lot of people have trouble with is portion size - your meat should not take up half your plate, it should only be around 1/3 of it, or a fist-size.
High fructose corn syrup is used to sweeten foods, but it can be found in much more than just sweets, and it's quite bad for your body - we don't have the right stuff to digest it, instead it sticks around inside your organs. Stay away from anything non-pasteurized, artificial sweeteners, and anything "diet". "Diet" and "sugar-free" can be even worse for you, with replacement fats and sugars that can overload your body. Even foods labeled "organic" can be bad for you - for example, an organic coconut bar might sound good, but there's more fat in it than a bucket of fried chicken.
Also, baking is better than frying, so if you can do that instead go for it. Even a pizza can be good for you, if you make it with say... a whole wheat crust, sliced tomatoes, a dash of olive oil, and vegetables with a light dusting of cheese.
Your diet doesn't need to have a name, it just needs to be what's right for you and what you like. If you want to follow a specific one but don't want to cut out certain things they tell you to, then just don't cut them out. It's about you, and a diet should never make you eat things you hate, or cut out things you need.
What to eat,what not to eat... yikes! It's the most confusing thing EVER!
Pretty much, Sachimi hit it on the head.
It's all about what your body can process and how quickly it can do it. Whole wheat is burned quickly through exercise while white flour is not... it sits until your body processes it due to all the added (enriched) components. Your metabolism can burn what is natural.
Fruit is good in moderation because it packs nutrients. Yes, it has sugar, but your body can burn this sugar. If you drink fruit juice with added sugar that's bad because it's not natural.
Try to stay away from processed foods. There is so much junk packed into processed food that half of it never gets burned by your metabolism. Think of yourself as your car engine. You wouldn't put gas in your car that's full of crud would you? No, because it's going to clog your engine. Your body/metabolism is your engine. Feed it the things it can burn quickly... whole wheat, fresh fruit, almonds, fresh veggies, etc. You have to read the label. You can't just pick something because it "claims" to be something. Organic does not mean diet... it just tells you the process in which that product was produced.
If you are exercising you have to eat carbs or else your body will not have anything to burn. Carbs are fruit, veggies, pasta, rice, bread, etc. They are everywhere, you just have to choose the right ones... the ones that will burn fastest (whole wheat). A good point of reference is honestly the South Beach Diet's guidelines... not the phases but the food they recommend post phase.
p.s. you have to allow yourself a cheat day once a week. People that cheat on their diet lose more weight than those who don't. Why? Because they aren't denying themselves to the point of a total collapse. Believe me!