*This Nutrition page will be an evolving segment as science continues to churn out new information.
The MACROS (Macronutrients = all of our food categories)
There are only 3: When you eat, you are eating either a CARBOHYDRATE, a PROTEIN, a FAT or very likely, some combination thereof. That’s it! Those are the options and therefore, because there’s only three options, understanding nutrition should be simple. But it isn’t… There’s nutrition as it sits on your plate and there’s nutrition as it is ingested and you metabolize it. The former is pretty straight forward, whereas the latter is quite complicated and to a degree, largely still not fully understood/explainable.
We can still develop a basic understanding that will allow us to make some good general decisions regarding nutrition and allow us to sift through the jungle of misinformation that exists.
*Heads up: I’m going to use calorie and kilocalorie (kcal) interchangeably for sake of simplicity.
CARBS are sugar – done! It’s that simple and knowing this fact will alleviate so many myths/fallacies and potentially help you avoid disease and/or manage existing issues such as diabetes, obesity, lethargy… Remember this: there are 4 calories for every 1 gram of CARB e.g., 50 g of carbs = 200 calories (of pure sugar). When sugar is present/eaten/consumed our pancreas will secrete INSULIN. When INSULIN is present – the body will not burn FAT for fuel (why would it when CARB is present to be used as the primary fuel?). Instead the body will store FAT. INSULIN’s job is to shuttle sugar into the cell for use as energy (instead of FAT).
Proteins (PRO): PRO can be metabolized for energy but is not the body’s primary or preferred choice. PRO = amino acids (building blocks of PRO). Generally speaking, amino acids are necessary for promoting growth, repairing damaged cells & tissue (strength training), as well as aiding in metabolic and hormonal activity. There are 4 calories per 1 gram of PRO. PRO also provides satiety and minimal INSULIN response. PRO is a good choice of food when desiring to feel satisfied and/or attempting to add a little muscle to one’s frame. How much PRO should we eat? It depends on our activity level but generally speaking, the RDA for adults is .8g/kg (I weigh 175lbs so 175 divided by 2.2 = 79.5kg x .8 = 63.6g of PRO for my daily intake. Let’s round up to 64g and multiply by 4 (# of calories in a gram of PRO) and we get 256 calories of PRO/day as the recommended daily allowance. Athletes and active individuals require more PRO. We should all be active!
FAT – Oh boy…where to begin. 1st of all there are different types of fats and therefore different functions of fat. Fat in general has long been demonized as a bad thing. Fat is believed by too many to be that stuff that clogs arteries and causes heart attacks. FAT is much less evil than that and is in fact a very necessary macronutrient not only for it’s use as a source of energy but also because of its many other necessary functions within the body. Generally speaking there are 3 categories of FAT: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Recent nutritional science is revealing some incredibly new approaches to the consumption of FAT e.g., Ketogenic Diets. It is generally agreed that trans/hydrogenated fats are to be avoided. Otherwise, saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated FATs should simply be consumed in moderation as should food in general. There are 9 calories for every 1 gram of FAT. So, yes, calorically speaking FAT does gram for gram contain more calories than CARBs or PROteins. However, if you view calories as units of energy (because that’s what they are) then this shouldn’t be alarming or a reason to avoid FAT consumption.
SOOOO…Please consider this: The mantra we always hear when being told by the “experts” (MOST Doctors and TOO MANY Personal Trainers) is eat less food, eat less FAT, move more (do more exercise). Here’s the problem: it’s not the answer for everyone and for a huge # of people making a strong effort to follow this prescription – it’s simply an exercise in failure and thus is ineffective.
Despite following traditional efforts many people are still finding themselves stricken with what is described as Metabolic Syndrome: having any 3 of the 5 things: high blood pressure, high blood sugar, low HDL, high TG (triglycerides), central obesity (waist larger than 40″).
Having Metabolic Syndrome simply indicates you’re harboring a stronger potential for any of the following diseases/conditions: Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Stroke, Coronary Heart Disease, Obesity (really just another marker for something else potentially going on).