Over the course of the last few years, IIFYM has become one the most commonly used terms in the health and nutrition world. While it is true that macronutrients play the most important dietary role in terms of body composition, micronutrients have quickly become lost. They have been all but forgotten in the fitness world; a world that places a greater emphasis upon aesthetics over health.
As members of the fitness community, we must strive to play a greater importance upon micronutrients and the role they play in our overall health and well-being.
If you browse the Instagram pictures of any fitness personality there is a strong likelihood you will encounter a picture of an ice cream sundae covered with Oreos, hot fudge, and M&M's along with the hashtag #iifym. On the other hand, you will find a far fewer number of pictures emphasizing pictures of spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower... and for good reason. A picture of a quadruple layer fudge cake is far more exciting to the average person that a 6 ounce dried chicken breast and some overcooked asparagus!
As a result of the recent IIFYM phenomenon, a great number of people commonly neglect vegetable, fruit, and fiber intake. This is mainly die to the fact that these specific nutrients do not generally have any direct effects on body composition and overall aesthetics.
We think we can get away with eating whatever we want if it fits into our calories, fats, carbs, and proteins. But there is much more that should be taken into consideration as part of our diet.
Typical carb choices for the IIFYM lifestyle include Pop Tarts rather than sweet potatoes, Honey Buns rather than brown rice, or brownies rather than quinoa. While our bodies are becoming more visually appealing while eating these foods, internally we may be lacking vital nutrients needed to live long and productive lives.
As a result of the recent IIFYM phenomenon, a great number of people commonly neglect vegetable, fruit, and fiber intake.
The NEW IIFYM - If It Fits Your MicrosThere is nothing inherently wrong with fitting some "unclean" foods into our diets. However, we must be sure that we are not neglecting the foods that should be the staples of our diets. Therefore, I am calling for a new IIFYM If It Fits Your Micros.
The following is a list of benefits from eating micronutrient dense foods as part of our diets.
SatiationMicronutrient dense foods are almost always more filling than some of their less healthy counterparts. A pack of two pop-tarts has 400 calories, but for this same amount of calories you could easily pack an 8 ounce chicken breast, 100 grams of sweet potato, and a serving of broccoli. Now which do you think would be more filling?
DigestionItems such as vegetables and lean protein sources are whole foods that are easier to breakdown in the body. Time and time again scientific studies have shown that processed foods composed of various indiscernible ingredients are tougher for our bodies to digest. They may actually shorten our live spans if consumed too frequently.
Vitamins and Minerals
Processed food generally is severely lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Whole food sources are typically much higher in fiber, Vitamins A & C, and Iron. These essential nutrients assist human beings in fighting illnesses and preventing chronic ailments such as cancer and heart disease, which are among the most common causes of death in America today.
By consuming a diet rich in micronutrients it will go a long ways towards prevention of these illnesses. Note: if your diet is lacking in vitamins and minerals, MTS Nutrition Machine Greens is a great supplement available to reach your micronutrient goals.
Lower in CaloriesMicronutrient dense food is generally lower in calories. Therefore, you can eat a much greater volume of these foods. When you are on a diet and trying to lose weight micronutrient dense foods can play a tremendous role in helping cut calories while still eating large amounts of food.
Regulates HormonesThese foods can help regulate hormone production due to their antioxidant-rich properties. They also improve libido, giving us a better sex life.
Looking Good vs. Feeling GoodAs an extremely vain society, we have placed more emphasis on looking good rather than feeling healthy. Is a six pack more important than living a long and healthy life?
Now I am not saying health and aesthetics can't go hand in hand, but health and overall well-being should be more of much greater significance. What good is a visually appealing body if we aren't healthy individuals capable of leading long lives free of ailments?
I don't believe you must consume tons and tons of vegetables at all times of the day. With that said, it is important to consume a variety of healthy, nutritious whole foods with the majority of your meals. The 80/20 rule is generally a good rule of thumb to follow for whole nutritious foods versus processed consumer foods.
To illustrate, if you are consuming 2500 calories per day, 2000 of those calories should come from whole foods and the other 500 calories can be used on whatever other foods you choose to enjoy. If you're craving that ice cream sandwich go ahead and grab it. Is it a Reese's Cup you crave, go for it!
Just make sure the rest of your diet is in check and you will be able to both enjoy what you eat while maintaining a diet rich in micronutrients and at the same time also meeting your macronutrient needs. As is the case with anything in life we must strike a balance between health and personal enjoyment. So next time you make sure it fits your macros also be sure that it fits your micros as well.