Nutrition 101 (part 2)
If you missed my first post in the series, we talked about calories and macros( if you missed it, you can catch up here). We went into the importance of calories, and what exactly are macros. In Nutrition 101 Part 2, we are going to dive into the 3 different types of macros, what each one of them does and take a look at the healthier options available for each one.
It is important to remember that not one of these is more important than the next as your body needs each one of them to complete it's daily tasks in an efficient, safe and healthy manner. It is your diet that will ultimately play a key in your health, appearance, energy, athletic performance and overall general well-being. The more you can fulfill your bodies daily Macro needs, the easier it will be to maintain, lose or even gain weight to match your lifestyle goals.
As mentioned in part 1, Protein's main task is building and repairing body tissue. It is also involved in the synthesis of hormones and enzymes. Dietary Protein is the vehicle for amino acids. Our body uses approximately 20 different amino acids to build its different types of proteins. I wont go to deep into amino acids, but if you would like to read a bit more science on essential vs non essential, you can do so here. Varying your protein sources daily and from meal to meal will help to ensure you are getting all of the essential and non essential amino acids your body needs.
Meats, fruits, vegetables, grains , dairy products and even supplements provide us with the building blocks of proteins we need. Protein can also help with weight loss as it helps with satiety (the feeling of being full longer). As for how much you need, the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) at MINIMUM is .4 grams/lb of body weight. So for example, a 125 lb sedentary person would need a minimum of 50 grams. This number will vary on many things, but it comes down to how active you are and your health goals. An active person should consume between .5-.8 grams/ lbs of body weight daily.
Carbs are a primary energy source for all body functions and muscular output. This fact leads to a rapid depletion of available and stored carbs and creates a continued craving for this macro. Carbs are composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and are generally classified as sugars(simple) and fiber (complex). For the sake of simplifying the explanation, keep in mind that the more “complex” the carb, the more nutrient dense it will be. (YES, this whole process is MUCH more complex, so if you would like to dig into the science, you can do so here.)
Simple carbs do not contain as many nutrients, and take more energy to break them down then they will give in the first place. Not only that, but you will become hungry much quicker when eating a diet high in simple carbs. So as a general rule of thumb, pick carbs that have color , not white types.
Fats (or lipids) may be saturated or unsaturated. They are the most concentrated source of energy in a persons diet. One gram of fat equals approximately 9 calories (vs 4 for one gram of protein or carbs). You can see how a diet high in fat can add up real quick. Fats also regulate and excrete nutrients and act as carriers for Vitamin's A, D(which aides in the absorption of Calcium)E and K. There are 4 different types of Fats. Monosaturated (most recommended), Polysaturated, Saturated and Trans-Fat (least desirable) . For this specific writing, I am trying to keep it as simple as possible, but if you would like a more scientific breakdown, please read more here. Fat intake should not be more than 20-35% of your daily caloric intake (this will vary from person to person).
Putting it All Together
Now that you understand how much energy your body needs and where the energy comes from, in part 3 we will dig into putting it all together with a simple , fool proof technique!
See you all next time.