Okay, so we’ve talked a lot about setting yourself up to be successful in achieving your healthy lifestyle change– KISS yourself every day, focus on developing a daily habit of consistent exercise, doing your exercise in the morning, going to the grocery store so you don’t find yourself dropping a dime on the local Hoy Toy Chinese restaurant you have on speed dial at 10pm for greazzy egg fu young patties. (You know what I’m talkin’ about!)
Let’s go over some of the basics of nutrition and nutrient classification. People talk a lot about calories and how carbs are “bad for you”. All calories are not created equal and your body needs to obtain calories from several different nutrient classes so that you can function and be the flyest you possible.
So let’s talk about nutrient classification.
There are six categories of nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and water. These nutrients are further divided into two categories: macronutrients (carbs, fats, proteins, water) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Macro – needed in large amounts; micro needed in small or trace amounts.
Macronutrients are basically these vessels of potential energy, when eaten and digested they become energy you can utilize. A calorie (which is really a kilocalorie) is describing the energy in food just waiting to bust out.
Carbs have gotten a bad rap. All this no carb stuff is nonsense. Carbs are tremendously important in providing you with energy for daily activity and for providing energy to organs like your brain and muscles. Carbs’ primary function is to provide energy. You will need carbs to exercise, and like, live! That doesn’t mean chow down on bunch of bread. Bread (especially white breads) can turn into sugar, which when not burned off, can turn into fat. Fruits and vegetables are carbs that the body can metabolize more quickly to be great sources of energy. When calculating calories from 1 gram of carbs, the equation is 1 gram of carbs = 4 calories. Carbs also provide necessary sources of dietary fiber to keep your system running clean and regular. You need carbs!
Fats provide protection to the organs but also provide energy to the body. Fat has the highest source of energy. 1 gram of fat= 9 calories
Proteins have several non-energy functions like providing structural support to organs, bone, skin, cell membranes. Proteins also help to transport hemoglobin and antibodies. Proteins can also be metabolized for energy but it is not the ideal energy source. 1 gram of protein = 4 calories
Vitamins and minerals are not energy (they have no calories) but play a key role in the metabolism.
Water is a macronutrient with several functions including being a medium for transportation and maintaining body temperature.
So when people talk about eating a “balanced diet”, they’re referring to getting your calories and energy from these different nutrient classifications. For me personally, I can tell when I haven’t gotten enough in one of the categories. As you get more in tune with your body, you will know when you need to eat more carbs or protein or fat. More to come on nutrition because seriously, what you eat REALLY matters for overall good health, weight loss, and to support any athletic or health goal you may have. Here’s to eating good food and living great!
Source: Fitness Professionals Guide to Sports Nutrition and Weight Management.
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By day, Jennifer Turner is a high-powered media executive. By night, Ms. Turner is a self-proclaimed, “Fitness Activator.” This is to say that her life’s mission is to empower others to “activate” their innate ability to have a healthy lifestyle and achieve happiness.
Visit jenniferturner.com to learn more about Jennifer and follow her team of fitness enthusiasts at Mad Cool Fitness.