The food you eat is the source of energy and nutrition for your body. Getting enough food is rarely a problem, but getting enough good nutrition can be a challenge.
What should you eat to stay healthy? Nearly everyone has an opinion – from your best friend to the daily newscaster! But keep in mind, everyone is different and the nutrition guidelines cannot be generalized.
Which Nutrients The Body Needs?
Your body needs over 45 different nutrients every day. These nutrients are essential for health and must be provided from the foods eaten. These nutrients can be divided into five classes:
– Carbohydrates (starches, sugars, and fiber)
– Proteins (includes 22 amino acids)
– Fats (saturated, mono-saturated, and poly-unsaturated fatty acids)
– Minerals (Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Selenium etc.)
– Vitamins (Vitamin A, B complex, C, D, E, H, K etc.)
These nutrients work together and interact with body chemicals to perform several functions :
– Provide materials to build, repair and maintain body tissues
– Supply substances that function in the regulation of body processes
– Furnish fuel for energy needed by the body
The energy values of the 3 calorie-providing nutrients are as follows:
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
First you need to determine your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) with the following equation. Your BMR is the total number of calories your body needs at rest (if you did nothing but lie in bed all day with no activity at all).
Men : BMR = 66 + (13.7 X wt in kg) + (5 X ht in cm) – (6.8 X age in years)
Women : BMR = 655 + (9.6 X wt in kg) + (1.8 X ht in cm) – (4.7 X age in years)
(Note: 1 inch = 2.54 cm and 1 kilogram = 2.2 lbs)
If you are looking to gain some weight (hopefully you want muscle) you would eat above your maintenance and if you were looking to lose fat, you’d eat below your maintenance. While everyone is different, a general guideline is to add or subtract 500 cals per day to/from your maintenance. Some may find that they need to adjust that figure.
Be sure to monitor your gains though, if you increase your calories too fast, you will likely gain a lot of fat as opposed to muscle. Similarly, if you drop your cals too fast or too much, you will slow your metabolism down and it will take longer to lose fat.
Tips to Meet Your Calorie Recommendations
– Eat small, frequent meals 5-6 times daily.
– Drink nutritious liquids if you are not hungry for food.
– Prefer low sodium, low-fat products.
– Have ready-to-eat-healthy snacks available to munch on when you feel hungry. Such snacks include nuts, dried fruit, yogurt, fruits and salads.
– When you drink beverages, make certain they are nutrient-rich. Limit diet drinks, tea and coffee.
– Enjoy Super-Strength Milk for extra calories and protein. Simply mix together 1 quart of milk and 1 cup of instant non-fat dry milk powder. – Stir for about 5 minutes or until the dry milk is dissolved. Store this beverage in your refrigerator and use it just as you would regular milk.
If I consume fewer calories than my diet plan recommends, will I lose weight faster?
Your body is designed to protect itself from starvation during times of greatly-reduced food availability. So when you eat too little, your body thinks it’s starving. In this state, your body will preferentially burn everything but your stored body fat. Eating too little poses other problems as well, such as nutritional deficiencies. On top of that, if you later increase your calories after a long bout of eating too few, your body will be more likely to store these calories as fat, in preparation for another future “famine.”
Your best bet is to aim for a slow weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week by combining a moderate calorie reduction with increased calorie expenditure through exercise. If all the info you entered during your program set-up is accurate, the recommended calorie range you received should be what you need to accomplish this healthy rate of weight loss.
Last but not the least – always remember- Eating should be a pleasurable experience, not one that causes guilt or remorse!