Sunday, February 13, 2011

Macronutrients of your Diet (Eating Healthy is Key to Losing Weight)

I was asked about diet, so I am going to start with the basic 3 macronutrients that are essential for your diet, losing weight, and overall healthy eating and fitness. This information is taken straight from my favorite diet guide.
Macronutrients are just things like carbohydrates, fats and proteins. All are necessary, and none are evil per se. A (sort of) quick guide:
Carbohydrates ("carbs"). Despite what you may have heard, these are not evil. They are a necessary source of energy for your body. The problem is that people over-consume certain sources of carbohydrates, most notably simple sugars from soda and candy, and starches from white bread. If you have to cut down on one macronutrient, cut down on carbohydrates. People in Western cultures consume far too many carbohydrates on average.
Proteins. These are necessary for your body to maintain its muscles, repair damage to them, and generally hold itself together. Most people get enough protein, though an intense exercise program may call for eating more for optimal results. If you cannot manage to take enough protein into your diet, protein powder may be the key.
Fats. Fats are not evil, either. Eating dietary fat does not mean that body fat will instantly appear on your gut or ass; your body doesn't work that way. Fats perform a variety of necessary functions. The problem is that people over-consume saturated fats and trans fats, which raise LDL ("bad") cholesterol and lower HDL ("good") cholesterol, and under-consume healthy fats like monounsaturated fats (found in high concentrations in olive oil and canola oil) and Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish, flax seed oil and other sources). Fats also have more calories ounce-for-ounce than carbohydrates and proteins, making very high fat foods astoundingly calorie-dense.
There is some disagreement over what the ideal ratio of carbohydrate to fats to protein in a person's diet should be. In fact, some studies are now showing that this ratio matters much less than previously thought. For most people, something in the neighborhood of 40% carbohydrate calories/30% protein calories/30% fat calories would be about the right ballpark, with approximately 1/3 of your fat calories coming from each type of fat (saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated). The general population skews towards lower protein, and more carbohydrates and fat, and more importantly tend to get their carbs and proteins from unhealthy sources.

I don't want these diet entries to be too long, so I'll stop here and continue in another entry. Thanks for reading friends! Have a good on all.