Nutrition Breakdown - May 14th, 2010

Nutrition can be extremely overwhelming.  If you don’t like something you hear on the news, just wait 3 days and likely the information you hear will change.  This influx of changing information can either discourage healthy eating all together by creating a “why does it matter anyway” mentality or it can creates “nutrition monsters” who think they can only eat 3 things in this world that won’t harm them.  Despite all the ups and downs of nutrition,  the key elements of nutrition have remained the same (for that I am thankful).  Following these key elements and their concepts is like being the turtle in the race…the slow and steady win the race.  Don’t freak out by everything you read.  Consistency is the key.  Apply these nutrition guidelines into your life and you will be creating the outline to great health.

Carbohydrates are otherwise known in our vocabulary as starches and sugars.   They are not evil and your body NEEDS them.  Carbohydrates are the main energy source of your body.   There are two forms of carbs:  complex and simple.
Complex Carb Examples: legumes, grains, and starchy vegetables (potatoes, corn, peas).
Simple Carb Examples:  fruits, milk, and foods made with sugar (candy/sweets).

What to focus on:  45%-65% (225-325 grams in a 2,000 calories meal plan) of your intake should be made up of carbohydrates.  Eat more complex carbs such as 100% whole grains, beans, and nutrient rich fruits.  Limit added sugars and drink low-fat milk.

Proteins are essential to life.  Our skin, bones, muscles and organ tissues all contain protein.  You can also find protein in your blood, hormones, and enzymes.  Sources can be from plant and animal.  Richest sources of protein include:  legumes, poultry, seafood, meat, dairy products, nuts & seeds.

What to focus on:  10%-35% (50-175 grams in a 2000 calorie meal plan) of your intake should be protein.  Emphasize plant sources such as beans, lentils and soy.  Choose lean meats and try including seafood 2x/week.  If you are trying to build up lean muscle tissue in your body, focus on 35% of your intake being protein.

Fat is NOT your enemy.  It helps your body absorb essential vitamins, maintain structure of cell membranes, while also helping your immune system work.  Fat is a VERY concentrated energy source.  It has over twice the calories per gram than protein or carbohydrates.

What to focus on:  20%-35% (44 – 78 grams in a 2,000 calorie meal plan) of your intake should be from fat.   Too much saturated or trans fat can increase blood cholesterol levels and increased risk for coronary artery disease.   Eat nuts and oils (olive, canola, and other nut oils).   On a 2,000 calorie meal plan, keep saturated fats under 15 g/day, keep trans fats under 2g/day and keep cholesterol under 300mg/day.

To reduce blood cholesterol, focus on eating fruit and vegetables, limit animal products and eat no more than 170 grams of meat (animal protein) a day.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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