These days there are so many people pushing their opinions on being healthy as if it’s their business. Nobody stops to do research to find out what’s the truth. He says low-carb diet is good for you. She says low-fat diet is good for you. He says to count your macros and eat whatever the heck you want. She says Paleo is better; no vegetarian diet is better. How about a raw food diet? Which one should I follow? Are you overwhelmed yet? That’s a dumb question to ask because I feel overwhelmed myself writing this.
The Health and Fitness industry is a billion dollar industry
not because they provide authentic information or products but because we don’t educate ourselves enough and go with the flow. When was the last time you sat down to research rather than believing on what the person next to you said? If you never have, then let me enlighten you.
There is no one size fit all protocol in diet
What I consume on a daily basis is not what will fit your plate. As an individual, our body’s mechanism doesn’t work A to Z the same. Thus, you have to do trial and error and I’m here to help you with that.
I’m ready to learn but where do I start?
Let’s start with macronutrients
Macronutrients are nutrient needed in larger quantity. They provide our body with energy (calorie) to do daily functions (1). They are essential for survival, growth, and maintenance of health.
Division of Macronutrients
Macronutrients are combinations of Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat.
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy. They provide energy to our cells, fuel our central nerve system, store in muscle to be used during activity, provide dietary fiber promoting digestion, and more (2).
How does Carbohydrates convert into energy?
Once we consume carbohydrates, it’s broken down into the smallest molecules called glucose and cells use them for energy. No matter what type of carbohydrates we eat their end product is glucose. Our intestine digest carbs and turns them into glucose to either use as an instant energy or stores it into Liver and Muscle as glycogen for future use (2).
Stored glycogen is then used when we perform any form of intense activities, such as dancing, interval training, Tabata, Lifting weights, or any types of sports. The more stored glycogen you have the better you will perform.
Carb provides fuel during exercise.
If you are one of those who is on a mission to lose weight and exercises vigorously then you have to fuel yourself with Carb. Carbohydrates are stored in muscle as glycogen being ready to be used during intense activity. Now think of it this way. If you don’t have enough stored energy in your body will you be able to give your 100%? No, right? That’s why you have to fuel your body with carbohydrates so you don’t end up crashing during exercise. That being said, you have to be careful tho. There’s not a lot of storage for liver or muscle glycogen. Once they are filled with their storage contain, all the excessive glucose will convert to fat. Fat, on the other hand, has abundance storage and this is why we gain weight. Eat the required quantity but not more.
Types of Carbs
- Simple carbs
These are the simplest form of carbs. They digest quickly raising your blood sugar level high. When you consume a diet full of simple sugar (soda, processed food, processed pastry) it doesn’t provide other vital vitamins and minerals that your body needs to function. Simple carbs also digest and absorb fast causing you to feel hungry soon after you eat (3). This leads to overeating causing you to gain weight.
- Complex carbs
They are made with complex molecule structure and digest slowly. It takes longer time for them to break down and to be used as energy. Therefore, we feel full for longer period of time and don’t over consume. This also doesn’t increase blood sugar response by allowing the body to use glucose as energy, as it converts (3). These types of carbs are brown rice, grain, potatoes, sprouted wheat bread, yam, quinoa, etc.
Now we come to the best carb source. Vegetables are not high in calorie but they provide lots of vitamins and minerals our body needs. They are nutrient dense and digest slowly keeping us full for long. This makes you not over consume food leading to weight loss. Eat as much veggie as you can because they are one of the best sources of carbs.
Now let’s invite our best friend protein. A Lot of us as girls don’t like eating too much protein because we think we will add too much muscle? Really, though, will we? Proteins have many vital functions than just adding muscle tissues.
Functions of Protein
- Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue.
Protein is a building block of muscle tissue. Our muscle tissues go through a process of constantly breaking down and repairing and this mechanism is formulated by protein. Proteins are made of combinations of amino acids that feeds into muscle tissue to repair them after exercise. When we workout or lift heavy weights, we end up tearing our muscle tissue because of the extra load. To repair them, we need amino acids. And what are amino acids made off? You are right protein. This is why we have to eat food that has high protein contain (4).
- They create certain hormones
Proteins play a big role in creating certain hormones in the body. For example, they are involved in creating the hormone called Insulin. Insulin regulates blood sugar level. This is why it’s very important to include enough protein in your diet (5).
- They provide energy
When our body is running low on fuel from carbs we get energy from stored amino acid. They convert into glucose to give you energy. This is not what we want because muscle has other very important function. If we break them to use as a source of energy then they can’t do their job right. That being said; they provide energy for our body (5).
- They provide enzymatic function and create antibodies
Enzymes are types of protein that plays a huge role in a chemical reaction in the body. Chemical reactions are very important for many functions including digestion (5). Think about it; if we could not digest anything we eat then how would our body be able to function in day-to-day basis? We all would be dead by now and that’s not what we want. We want to live a long life, see our kids grow up (once we have them), see them get married, have grandchildren, and be proud of the people we create in our lives. This is why you have to include protein in your diet!!
They also create antibodies that bind with a foreign substance to keep us from harm.
Therefore, eat a diet rich in protein. They have many other functions than making you bulky.
What are the protein sources?
Good sources of protein include unprocessed meat, beans, soy, nuts, dairy product, and more.
You are probably thinking oh why do I have to eat fat. Don’t they make me fat? Don’t we wish it was just this easy? The problem is, it’s not that simple. Over consuming food is what’s gonna add weight to your waistline. No matter what type of food you eat if you consume more than your body burns, your body converts them into fat and stores them. So technically fat don’t make you fat. Overeating does!
Why are they important?
- Provide energy
Fat provides energy to do the day-to-day task. Walking, cooking, running they all required energy. When you do any aerobic task you burn stored fat as fuel, not carbohydrates (they burn during anaerobic exercise).
- Transport fat-soluble vitamins in the body to be used.
These vitamins include vitamin A, D, E, and K.
- Insulate body temperature keeping you warm when it’s cold.
- Make up our cell membranes and protect our cells from harm.
- Provide energy to our brain
60% of your brain is made of Fatty Acid contain (6). This is why it’s very important to include a good source of fat in our diet. Better the memory the farther you will go 🙂
Now we know why they are important, Let’s talk about types of fat.
These are one of the worse sources of fat you can have. Do not include them in your diet. They provide nothing besides empty calories. They raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease your good (HDL) leading to many cardiovascular diseases.
Trans fats are mostly man-made by the process of hydrogenation. This means changing the chemical structure of liquid oil by heating them up in high temperature. Once heated they become solid at room temperature because of the changes in the chemical property . These types of fat can clog your arteries causing heart attack, stroke, and many more diseases (7).
Where are they found?
They are found in processed food. Avoid anything that says partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oil in the ingredient list.
These types of fat are naturally solid at room temperature because of their chemical structure. There have been undergoing effort on finding if they are bad for our health or not.
Though there is insufficient evidence to prove that saturated fat may or may not be bad for cardiovascular disease, it’s always best not to over consume them (7).
One thing for sure, though; if you are ever cooking anything use saturated fat to cook them with. Their heating temperature is much higher than unsaturated fat thus, they don’t turn into trans fat while cooking.
Where are they found?
They are found in animal products such as butter, ghee, red meat and in plant base product such as coconut ,and coconut oil.
Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are very beneficial to our health. They lower LDL and increase our HDL quantity. They decrease heart diseases such as stroke, heart attack, and much more.
These types of fats are plant base fat. They are found in nuts, avocado, flax seeds, olive, chia seeds, sunflower and more. They are good to eat with your other meal sources but don’t cook food with them as their heating temperature is not that high. You don’t want to convert unsaturated fat into trans fat by heating and changing its chemical property.
Let’s take a step further and explain why people gain weight?
Eating healthy is not only for losing weight and looking great but also for your mental and physical wellbeing. You need lots of vitamins and minerals along with water to function at your best. If you are missing a diet rich in these types of food you might lose weight but you will not be healthy.
I’m speaking to you from an experience, girl. Good source of food is the medicine for everything. If you don’t believe me then read my Bio.
That being said you can’t over eat clean food either. Eating more than you burn is the epidemic of gaining a massive amount of weight. If you over eat anything it turns into fat and stores in your body for future use. End of subject! Whereas if you eat little less than what you are burning in a day then your body replenishes that energy with stored fat so you will lose weight slowly.
You have to eat food portion depending on your daily activities.
What’s on your plate now?
Make sure you balance out your food plate in every meal. Good source of fat, protein and carb need to be in your diet. Eliminate empty calories that make you over consume food. Eat foods high in vitamins and mineral to keep you healthy not just full. Also, drink plenty of water because it plays a big role in a human mechanism. Cut that binging habit and eat food only when you are hungry.
Check with your doctors if you have any medical condition that requires removing certain food from your diet. If not then you may eat food from all categories and still be healthy and be able to lose weight.
Remember Overeating anything = weight gain
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