Everyday you hear about a new nutrient or food that has superpowers – green tea helps with weight loss, fish oil helps with weight loss, vinegar helps control blood sugar, etc…etc…
While this all sounds good in the headlines, the question we should be asking is – “Will effects make an impact on my life and health?” or as my friend Alwyn Cosgrove would say “Is there a real world effect?”
The answer is yes. They do have what can amount to a very important effect through what I call nutrient stacking.
Nutrient stacking is the cumulative beneficial effect of small improvements in your body’s function that lead to increased weight loss, improved health, and ultimately a longer life.
To illustrate this point let me use two examples from the latest issue of Strong, Fit, & Healthy. In one of the Research Reviews I share a study that looked at how cinnamon can help control blood sugar levels.
Adding 1 TBSP of cinnamon to your oatmeal each day won’t be the difference between you having diabetes or not but the addition of several small factors such as making an effort to regularly using cinnamon, vinegar, and even an alpha-lipoic acid supplement each day as part of your diet/routine will amount to you gaining better control on your blood sugar levels. When you then stack large impact factors like eating less starches and regular exercise, you will have an unbeatable combination.
The second example comes from the Key Concepts section this month’s newsletter. The key concept this month is eating 5-6 meals per day. In this I discuss one of the benefits being an increased thermic effect of food.
The thermic effect of food is the amount of calories that you body burns from digesting and processing the foods that you eat.
The boost in calorie burning you get from consistently eating 5-6 meals per day isn’t ground breaking; however when you combine it with other thermic effect of food boosting strategies such as eating more protein (which takes more calories to digest and process compared to carbohydrates and fats), you will start to see a ‘real world’ increase in the calories your burn from the thermic effect of food.
To wrap things up, nutrient stacking is a powerful concept that can be applied to many different aspects of your diet beyond the two examples I shared above. Whenever you learn about foods/nutrients that can improve your health, performance, or weight loss always think of what you can combine with it to further enhance the effect.