By Jessica Berardino

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Everyone has their own eating habits, some more healthy than others, but many neglect maintaining healthy eating habits.

People will differ in body types, goals, over eating or under eating. Some people want to gain muscle and others want to lose fat, but all of those differences require a unique style of healthy eating.

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The Director of Sports Medicine at UPMC, Leslie Bonci, explained how as a sports nutritionist she deals with consulting the Pittsburgh Pirates, Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Penguins on eating properly. She noticed that football players need less calories a day, whereas hockey players and swimmers could use 10,000 calories a day.

“You need to have a fine mix over the day so the body can check off all the columns of the pyramid,” said Bonci. “We need to focus on what to do than what not to do.”

Bonci is a believer in living a healthy life with a “colorful plate”. The more plants on the plate like deep greens, oranges or reds give your body less sugar and more good fuel for energy. She adds the more veggies you get in to your diet the better your medications will work for you.

“You don’t have to change everything all at once, you can do it incrementally,” said Bonci. “You can begin to substitute parts of your meals with healthier options.”

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Leslie Bonci has plenty of experience working with athletes and helping them maintain a healthy weight and part of her diet doesn’t recommend drinking protein shakes. She believes that her athletes need to rely on food first before supplementing a meal with a shake. They should be added to a meal, not a replacement.

Coffee is one drink she sees many people over indulge in. The average person should only consume 400 milligrams of coffee in a day. If you go over that amount then your body will experience jitters, agitation and sleeplessness. Mike Pintek admits that he is one of those people, he jokes that he’s reached that limit before he leaves for work!

A concerned mom is interested in helping her son gain weight, but the healthy way. Bonci suggested increasing his meals by 1 quarter to give him more energy throughout the day. She explains what she calls as dinner 1 and dinner 2, where you eat 2 smaller meals, the last one is eaten before bed so your body has more calories to take in.

Finally, Leslie was presented with the question of the differences between genetically enhanced food and natural food. She can with confidence say that there is nothing wrong with eating GMO foods. The population needs to see why they are doing this to foods and realize that with the always increasing population and death rate, we need more food for everyone.

“There isn’t an organism being added to the food, but with food supply shrinking this helps keep the crops healthy and growing,” said Bonci.

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