Achieving a balanced diet
A common mistake when following a calorie controlled diet is treating all calories equally. While most will recognise that eating 1000 calories of well balanced meat and veg is not the same as eating a 1000 calories of pure sugar, it is important to evaluate exactly how your calorie intake is dispersed.
The human body needs a variety of nutrients to function. Each performs a different function and consequently it is important to maintain a healthy balance. Cutting out one type absolutely will have consequences for your health.
A balanced diet is comprised of a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each is important.
Protein is the building block of the human body. During exercise muscles are broken down. It is protein that repairs this ‘damage’, building them stronger than before. It is found in chicken, red meat, fish, nuts, eggs and dairy products. All healthy meals should be built around the protein element.
Carbohydrates are the fuel providers to the body. Carbohydrates are converted by the body into glucose which is then used to provide energy across the body. Complex carbohydrates are found in vegatables, fruit and grains are common sources of carbohydrates. In addition there are bad carbohydrates which should be avoided. These are processed carbohydrates such as refined grains, cakes, sweets and biscuits etc.
The problem with carbs is basically we all eat too many of them each day and often too many of the wrong type. Complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to break down requiring the body to burn fat for energy as well as converting the carbs from the last meal into glucose. Eating refined carbs and lots of them, basically means that the body is not required to burn fat and instead stores it.
Finally there is fat. I personally don’t subscribe to the myth that all fat is bad.
Fat is important to the proper functioning of your body and should be part of your daily calorie intake. Try and stick to the healthy fat, polyunsaturated and monosaturated. Olive oil, avos, almonds, walnuts, etc. Try to keep the saturated fats in moderation. I am happy to use butter and coconut cream but wouldn’t eat lots of it everyday.
Nutritionists recommend that 20 to 25% of your daily intake is made up of lean protein, circa 100 to 125 g per day. Carbohydrates are then to make up the bulk of the remainder at between 45 to 60% (225 to 300 g), the balance being made up of healthy fats.
If you after weight loss then try taking refined carbohydrates and saturated fats from your diet. Also measure the amount of carbs you are consuming daily. They will nearly always be more than you think.
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