11 November 2009

Getting Enough Calories and Nutrition

Sufficient daily calorie intake is crucial whether you are on a diet or not. Dieting and skipping meals mean restrictive calorie intake which can ultimately decrease the body’s metabolic rate (the rate at which energy is used by the body). As you give the body less calories to work with it responds by trying to conserve energy to make sure that it is able to support its daily tasks. But the result of all of this is usually fatigue and lethargy. Furthermore, if one were to increase calories significantly, it is likely that they would gain weight because those calories would be burned at a much slower rate. This is why once someone has stopped dieting and begins eating normally they may regain the weight.

The bottom line is that the body needs ample energy and the ability to function at its best. It is able to do this by utilizing Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats and many minerals and vitamins. Carbohydrates' role is primarily to provide a direct source of energy and fuel. Fat also provides energy although the process of extracting energy from fat is more complicated.

There is an interchange of mostly carbs and some fat for energy as needed, but it is ideal to have enough carbs in the diet so that the body isn’t forced to resort to both Fat and Protein in the absence of sufficient Carbohydrates. Protein has many other major functions (e.g. for tissue building and repair) and when the body is forced to use it for energy then this usually means that the body is greatly deprived and starved. So be wary of extreme carb. restriction.

Carbohydrates, Protein and Fats are all essential and need to be consumed in proportion to each other to make sure that they are being utilized in the most efficient way in the body. Although there are variants to the proportions, daily requirements are generally 55% Carbohydrates, 15% Protein, and 30% Fat of total calories consumed for the day. They are each used by the body in very specific ways to complete tasks and maintain an optimal state of health.

A simple way to ensure that you are getting enough energy and nutrition is to consume nutrient-dense foods. This means less processed foods,and foods which have been minimally altered. This would also ensure that you are consuming enough vitamins and minerals which are also needed for generating energy and serving the many other functions of the body. For e.g. at breakfast time, a nutrient dense food like whole grain hot or cold cereal with nuts or whole grain bread with nut butter would provide high quality Carbohydrate, Protein as well as Fat calories, and essential vitamins and minerals.

To Your Enjoyable and Guilt-Free Food Experiences,


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