The Key to Success: A Balanced Diet

The Key to Success: A Balanced Diet

BY HELEN KOLPAKOV – STAFF WRITER

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Photo by Yoojin Koh

In business school, we’re pulled in many directions. We attempt to juggle academics, networking and recruiting while maintaining some semblance of a social life.

Amid all the stress, it’s easy to fall into bad habits, like noshing on fast food, indulging in alcohol and energy drinks, and skipping out on exercise, says Zhaoping Li, M.D., a professor of clinical nutrition at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

No damage done, right? Wrong. Carbohydrates and starch have been shown to curb mental alertness and trigger drowsiness. That means we should be steering clear of pastries, juices and sodas during exams.

Another negative outcome is that when we skimp on protein, our bodies begin to break down muscle tissue, which is what helps us burn fat. Poor nutrition can also lead to deficiencies in Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and folic acid, resulting in a variety of health issues.

The frightening news is that these effects can be permanent. New research indicates that nutrition is a cumulative process; damage caused to your digestive system by fast food can be repaired by proper nutrition, but only if the unhealthy habits don’t persist.

The takeaway: Don’t take a two-year break from nutrition. Even your post-M.B.A. salary won’t be worth it if you’re not in good health.

Sure, we’re all feeling overextended with deadlines, informational interviews and resume drops – but remember to break the cycle and take some time for yourself.

Your mind and body will thank you for it later.

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