BodyGem Nutrition 101 Basics
Food is the fuel our body uses to enable us to carry out our daily activities. In simple terms, food is energy. There are over 45 nutrients that our body needs every day.
Some nutrients have energy (calories) and others do not, but both are important to our body. A basic understanding of nutrition can help you achieve your personal health, weight and lifestyle goals.
The objective of a proper diet is to meet the body’s energy and nutrient requirements, while achieving and maintaining a desirable body composition.
These daily requirements for calories and nutrients depend on a person’s age, sex, weight, health status, Metabolic Fingerprint and physical activity.
Nutrients that have calories are called macronutrients. These include:
Carbohydrate – Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and include starches, sugars and fiber.
Fiber – Dietary fiber should be consumed daily to improve movement in the gastrointestinal tract, keep blood sugar levels moderate after eating and to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Fiber is found only in plant foods.
Protein – Proteins are made of amino acids. Proteins are necessary for growth, maintenance and tissue repair. Good sources of protein include meats, legumes and dairy products.
Fat – Fats supply energy, essential fatty acids, and are needed to help absorb vitamins such as A, D, E and K.
Saturated Fats: Tend to raise cholesterol. Found in high fat dairy products, higher fat meats, skin and fat of poultry, lard, palm and coconut oil.
Unsaturated Fats: Replacing foods high in saturated fats with foods high in unsaturated fats can help reduce cholesterol. There are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated fats are found in canola oil, olive oil, peanuts and avocados; polyunsaturated fats are found in all other vegetable oils, nuts and high fat fish.
Trans Fatty Acids: Tend to raise blood cholesterol. The best way to identify these is to look for “partially hydrogenated” oils in the ingredient list of the nutrition facts label. Found in many commercial baked products (crackers, cookies), commercially fried foods (chips), and some margarines.
Cholesterol: Foods high in cholesterol tend to raise blood cholesterol; however, saturated fat may play a more important role in raising blood cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol comes from animal sources such as egg yolks, meat, poultry, fish, and high fat dairy products. It is important to monitor your cholesterol since it is directly associated with heart disease.
Micronutrients & Water:
Foods that do not contain calories include micronutrients and water. These include:
Vitamins – Do not provide energy because they do not contain calories, but they do help the body convert the food you eat into energy. This in turn is necessary for metabolism. Vitamins are abundant in vegetables and fruit. They can also be found in legumes, dairy products, eggs and meat.
Minerals – Play an important role in metabolism and are involved in the make up of the body’s structure. They do not provide energy directly but are necessary for the body to function properly.
Calcium, iron and zinc are examples of minerals.
Water – Dissolves substances, lubricates our joints, and provides a way to transport nutrients and waste.
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