All you need to know
Many people have their own meaning of a balanced & healthy diet.
The word 'Diet' itself has even been distorted from its true meaning. We automatically think of some short lived, deprived, weight loss way of eating, rather than it's true meaning. Simply put, Diet is the food we eat.
A balanced Diet can be defined as one that contains a well proportional amount of all food groups. It needs to contain adequate levels of macros - which are Proteins, Fats & Carbs. These are your Micronutrients, which contain all of your vitamins and minerals.
We often hear the word Calories time and time again, what are they? A Calorie is used to describe a unit of Energy. Throughout our day we consume and use energy, the energy comes from the food and water we consume. The body uses energy to eat, digest and metabolize food, and to burn Calories during physical activity, but it also needs a large amount of energy to exist in a state of complete rest, known as energy expenditure.
So how many kcal per day do our bodies require to function efficiently?
This figure is unique and specific to each individual and would be difficult to calculate accurately without the use of high Tech lab equipment. However over time Formula/equations been made to give us a close to most accurate figure as possible.
Why is this important? Let’s take a quick look at Energy Balance.
The amount of Calories you need depends on your metabolism which is the collective term that refers to energy (calories) required to maintain all the chemical processes that are taking place in the body whilst taking into account some of the major factors such as Age, Weight, Gender and activity levels.
At Integrate Fitness we preach on the dictum that if people utilise more kcal than they take in, then they will lose weight and if we consume more calories than we expend then will do the reverse and gain weight.
If I needed 2000kal per day to certain myself at rest known and BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) but I consumed 2500 we can see there is an excess of energy. If the excess energy is not burned/used the access will be stored as Fat, therefore gaining weight.
With the modern world making use of technology we have become less active making exercise so crucial to get the expenditure needed.
(Picture of someone with Fitbit showing MEP readings)
So once we have identified our calories needs, energy-in vs energy-out, we need to ensure the right of amount of Protein, Fat and Carbs are made up to the total calories known as macro management, broken down into percentages for the following.
Carbs 25-45% Proteins 30 -50% Fats 20-35%
It is absolutely essential to include Fat in your diet, Fat from food is the Source of essential Fatty acids which the body cannot produce itself. Fat is important for healthy functioning for cells, protection of the body and to allow for the absorption of Fat Soluble.
There are 3 Types of Fat; Saturated, Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated. General Rule of Thumb is that Saturated Fats are not good for the Heart while mono and Poly are. This is because saturated fats increase your bad cholesterol while unsaturated Fats can reduce or increase good.
Fats should provide no more than 35% of total energy intake per day with a maximum of 10 percent coming from saturated fats
Many people look at Carbs as the reason for weight Gain. When we think about Carbs and the wide category of foods that fall within this area is easy for carbs to be bullied and seen as a suspect. So yes people who do cut out carbs do naturally lose weight when replacing a cake to a piece of fruit Yes, however we should evaluate the type of Carbs we consume and not just carbs as a whole. We need to understand that Carbs are crucial for balanced diet, this brain food and our main source of energy. For weight Loss the body can require as much a 55% Carbohydrate for Total energy. Focusing on the right Carbs is what’s important.