Most of our calories should come from whole, natural foods – we know that. But how much of everything should I be eating?
Let’s talk about protein, carbohydrates & fats and use the examples from the previous article. As this was based on 50kg of lean body-weight, it makes it easy to translate to other body-weights, using a pro-rate conversion
- Protein @ 75g
o Meats, fish and poultry have around 25g of protein per 100g when cooked. Aim for 3 serves of about 100g.
o If you’re vegetarian, you’ll need to get proteins from nuts, beans and legumes mostly. (Protein foods include quinoa, tofu and other soy products, beans, and nuts.) These are lower in protein – you can average it at about 10g to 15g per 100g, so you’ll need about 700g, which is around 3 to 4 cups. Don’t use this guide for nuts because they’re high in fat, so 2 serve will be enough for the day.
o If you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian, there are other ways to consume protein, including fish, seafood, and protein supplement powders such as pea or soy protein.
- Carbohydrates @ 80g
o Avoid the white stuff – this is my most important rule. The highly refined products with high sugar content are white in color –bread, pasta, pizza, cakes, cookies, sugar, white rice, potatoes, cereals, and skim milk – should be avoided. Keep an eye out for things that look natural but they’re just coloured brown, for example bread.
o Did you know, the calories in low fat milk, for 1 cup (250g) are 102 and these come from 2g of fat (21 Cal), 8g of protein (32 Cal) and 13g of carbohydrate (42 Cal). This means that almost half the calories are from sugars (the lactose in milk is a sugar and it becomes more “concentrated” when the fat is removed). Be careful of cereals too – they’re often made from highly refined wheat, topped with sugar.
So where do you get the 80g of carbs?
The primary source should be from vegetables, some dairy, nuts, legumes, and fruit. Only consume fruits as a treat because they’re naturally high in sugar. In particular, dried fruits should be avoided. The water has been removed so they are a lot lighter and less filling – but when the fruit is evaporated, the sugars remain in concentrated form.
3 or 4 serves each day (each serve consisting of 3 or 4 varieties of fibrous vegetables) will give you around 50g of carbs. They’re the best carbs as they take time to break down and deliver sugar into your blood stream. These carbs also come with another friend – fiber.
The remaining 30g of carbs can come selections from the following
• Nuts; 2 serves per day (30g serves each). Two handfuls per day will give you about 10g of carbs.
• Dairy; 2 serves per day will give you around 20g of carbs (a serve is a glass of milk or a few cubes of cheese, or a tub of natural yogurt).
• Fruits; 1 serve per day. The high sugar fruits such as apple, banana, orange, pear, have around 20g or sugar. Other low sugar fruits can also be added such as melons or berries.
• Beans and peas –A possible source of protein, also contain good fiber and carbohydrate.
• Potatoes – can also be added occasionally, but not too often is you are trying to lose weight. Sweet potatoes, despite their name, are the better choice, as the blood sugar rush is not as great.
• Summing up the above will give you close to the 110g target
- Fats @ 70g
o Fats confuse most people. Let me tell you something first: fats aren’t bad. Quite the contrary. They’re important to our health and are a natural part of our diet. Fats – poly unsaturated and mono-unsaturated – help drive our hormones, as well as our immune system, and help support cell and nerve health. There are “Essential fatty acids” that we need and can only be obtained from foods, as we can’t manufacture them ourselves.
o What our bodies need for energy is actually glycogen, not carbohydrates. Glycogen is the form that sugars are stored in the body for use as energy. Carbohydrates are one possible source of glycogen, but are bodies can actually manufacture it from other sources. In people who don’t consume high portions of carbohydrates each day, the body adapts to deriving glycogen from other sources and this often involves the conversion (breakdown) of fats.
o Cholesterol also confuses people. We make most of it ourselves (in the liver) that’s more likely that sugars in our diet contribute to our own system getting out of hand and making too much. Sugars in turn can cause inflammation and the cholesterol can be laid down to try to quell the inflammation – the result is that when it all turns nasty, cholesterol in the form of plaque is branded the perpetrator. Cholesterol is found in the arteries, particularly within the heart, and is blamed for the heart disease, whereas it is more likely that it was sugar causing the inflammation and the cholesterol was acting as a “band-aid”. Unfortunately, this is one case where the body’s solution can also act against us.
o Let’s talk servings. The two servings of nuts mentioned earlier will give you 24g of good fats. Olive oil can be added to salads and vegetables (do not cook with it – add it raw afterwards) – two tablespoons per day is 40g. You can also add a healthy natural supplement such as fish oil (5-15g per day) or flaxseed oil (10-15g per day).
There you have it – a nutrition guideline for losing weight and maintaining health! One of the most important things you can do to not only lose weight but to keep it off is to plan. Check back in next time for advice on planning your nutritional regime.
AMP Your Workout Smart Tips:
- It’s important to not only know what to eat, but how much to eat.
- Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are essential components of our everyday diet. Aim to consume them in reasonable portions throughout the day.
- Don’t be scared of fat. We all need it for health. Choose predominantly the good kinds of fat – polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in nuts, avocados, olive oil, seeds.