By ANDREA CROSBY
Diet fads and trends are popular across the board, at any age, especially with new generations constantly being subjected to them through media and magazines.
Students are no exception, except their diet fads are more extreme. Starving, skipping meals, cutting out fats or carbs completely, are just some of the ways students struggle with dieting. Why these methods? They’re easy.
However, it’s not about fads, it’s about nutrition for successful weight loss, fitness, and overall, a healthier student.
Zach Peckham, a Pre-health university student at Niagara College, recommends eating foods like chicken, sweet potato, rice and vegetables to optimize performance during a workout.
“Pretty much anything healthy will benefit you when you’re trying to perform better,” said Peckham.
“It all depends on what your goal is. When people are trying to get better aesthetics, they’re usually cutting out their carbs, but for someone that wants to lift heavier weights they eat more carbs.”
As for diet fads and trends, Peckham said he would stick with he knows works for him.
“I don’t really believe fads are a good way to get to your goals,” said Peckham.
“Most of them are short term and after a couple months, you’re back to where you started. It definitely doesn’t benefit you at all.”
Electrical Engineering student Chris Babin works out five to six times a week, and increases his intake of carbohydrates for energy during a workout.
“I usually have pasta before I workout, and get in my protein after,” said Babin. “Lean protein, and I try to keep my carbs all whole wheat.”
Babin said he has heard a lot about body cleanses lately, but will not fall for a fad, and instead “do what has been working for me the last year and a half” that he has been working out.
Jordan Petrykowski, Construction and Engineering student training for a men’s physique show, must follow a specific regimen to get the results he’s striving toward.
“Right now I’m bulking, so I’m taking in more protein and more carbs and restrictive amount of fats to gain muscle,” said Petrykowski. “And for my (weight) cutting, I usually intake high protein, minimal carbs and minimal fats.”
With his coach’s help, Petrykowski talks about his success in putting on 15 pounds since beginning the bulking process.
“Last year I prepped for a show and I went down from 190 lbs. to about 170 lbs.
I was at nine per cent body fat!”
He said he sticks to using whey protein powder for his shakes, and takes extra vitamin D and vitamin C daily. For a pre-workout snack, Petrykowski likes P28 bread, which is high in protein and carbs that can be used to burn during a workout. But despite the carbs, protein or fats someone takes in, he said it really comes down to the calories.
“To lose weight, you have to lose the amount of calories you eat. I eat about 1,800 calories, and that’s like four to five meals a day,” said Petrykowski. “So, in order to lose the weight, you have to burn all those calories, a day.”
Joanna Cielen, a nutrition professor here, recommends being mindful of where calories are coming from, not being afraid of fat, and eating a variety of healthy and natural foods to keep full and satisfied.
Cielen addresses body image as a major issue that goes hand-in-hand with dieting.
“Athletes are not necessarily the epitome of health,” said Cielen. “What they put their bodies through physically and nutritionally should not be glorified for the average person.
But that is their job. Most of us look at them and see this perfection, but that isn’t necessarily the result of healthy choices.”
She goes on to say that “there isn’t one cookie-cutter approach.”
Basically what works for one, may not work for another; someone should choose the option best suited for them.
She recommends eating extra calories for those who may be putting on weight for a body building competition, but to be mindful of where those extra calories are coming from.
“Even weight gainers can sometimes be filled with really questionable ingredients,” said Cielen.
“Calories are important but quality is even more important.”
She strongly advises people to make their food at home, so they can control what is going into the food they are eating.
“It’s how you make the food and where you get it that makes all the difference,” said Cielen.
“Come back to Earth. Ask yourself, ‘Is this coming from the Earth or has it been processed?’
“The further away the food is from the food, the more devoid it is of nutrients. We don’t need calories as much as we need nutrients.”
She also recommends staying hydrated at all times, as dehydration is one of the biggest issues seen with today’s athletes.
“Athletes need good quality, clean water, or coconut water for the extra minerals. Any pure liquid that will replenish electrolytes lost during a workout.”