Maintaining a Healthy Diet is Important when Living With CMT
As CMT has major mechanical implications for people with the condition, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and avoid becoming overweight or obese. The added weight of a poor diet can result in extra strain on the feet and legs, resulting in worsening the symptoms of CMT, and potentially resulting in injury. Also, avoiding weight-related conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes is important due to the compounding issues diabetes can have with CMT, such as poor circulation. A healthy diet will also aid you in achieving your fitness goals, whether it is losing weight or building muscle.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I EAT?
Fuel From Food: Energy In, Energy Out
How much food you should eat will be based on caloric intake, which will consider factors such as age, weight, and activity level.
Calories are the amount of energy that is contained within food and are used by the body to produce energy and keep you functioning. If you eat fewer calories than what you use on a given day, you will be in a calorie deficit and subsequently will lose weight. If you eat more calories than what you use in a day, you will be in a calorie surplus and will begin to gain weight.
For general advice regarding a healthy, balanced diet, guides for healthy eating can be found at The Eat Well Guide, as recommended by the UK NHS, of the MyPlate scheme as recommended by the USDA.
If you want to go a step further and consider calorie intake, the concepts of a calorie deficit or surplus are cornerstones for fat loss or muscle gain. As this can be difficult to work out, below are links to calorie and macronutrient calculators which will give you suggested calorie and macronutrient values:
A HEALTHY DIET: THE THREE FOOD GROUPS
What should a person eat to be healthy? This varies significantly depending on the person and their goals. To understand what should be eaten, and how much, a basic understanding of nutrition is needed, starting with the three main food groups (macronutrients):
A Daily Source of Energy
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in a regular diet, coming in three different types: sugar, starch, and fiber. All of these types of carbohydrates have a useful role in a person's daily diet when managed correctly.
The Building Blocks of Muscle
Acting as the main dietary source for growth and repair of the body, protein is mainly found in meat and other animal products. While it can be found in non-animal products, the concentration is highest in meat. Without enough protein, a person will struggle to gain muscle.
Necessary for a Balanced Diet
Fat can be both good (unsaturated) and bad (trans and saturated), therefore it is essential to choose healthy sources of fat as is an important part of any balanced diet, providing more energy per gram than either carbohydrates or protein.
ARE ALL FOODS EQUAL?
The simple answer: no.
For a healthy diet that helps you achieve your fitness goals, you have to eat the right types of food. If all your carbohydrates come from sugar, you will end up with a myriad of problems. The same applies to fats; some sources of fat are healthy, others are not and can result in issues such as heart disease. Below are two key concepts that should aid you when thinking about what to eat.
THE GLYCAEMIC INDEX (GI)
Why some food helps keep you awake, and others cause an energy crash
Most people have experienced the consequences of fluctuating blood sugar levels; a "sugar" rush and the following energy crash. However, sugar is not necessarily the only culprit that can result in fatigue shortly after a burst of energy. This is all due to the Glycaemic Index, which as described by the NHS, is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates. It shows how quickly each food affects your blood sugar (glucose) level when that food is eaten on its own. Low GI foods release energy over a longer period of time, as opposed to high GI foods, resulting in a more sustained energy source without a subsequent energy crash. In general, high GI foods should be avoided in large quantities as they can result in lower energy levels, but are sometimes found in sports supplements for a quick energy source either during or post-exercise.
GOOD AND BAD FATS
Not all fats are created equally. Some are healthy, others can be dangerous.
Fats come in four types: monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, saturated, and trans fats. The first two are found in natural products such as olives, nuts, and avocados, whereas saturated and trans fats are mainly found in processed and fried foods, such as fatty meats, hard cheese, and pastries. These fats all have an impact on a person's cholesterol, which is a type of blood fat. Too much cholesterol can increase the chance of heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and other serious medical conditions. For a healthy diet, saturated and trans fats should be avoided as they can increase cholesterol in your blood, whereas unsaturated fats help maintain healthy levels of cholesterol.
BEYOND THE BASICS
A healthy diet can expand beyond macronutrients and calorie intake, with concepts such as ketogenic, paleo and other types of diets, that focus on delivering specific results. Meal plans and trackers are also a widely available resource that can take away the headache of having to figure out what to eat each day
From Keto, to Paleo and Beyond
Many fitness apps are either designed around or contain diet tracking that can help with maintaining a healthy diet.