Get a better understanding of the basics
Carbohydrates ~Fat ~ Protein
None of the above are only "good" or "bad", but rather there are good options for each, and not so good options. The optimal ratios of each differ from person to person based on their goals, activity level, age, and individual physiology. It is important to know that most foods have a combination of two or three macronutrients, with some exceptions. All categories are important for good health and balanced hormones. See the next few pages for a breakdown of each.
There are three categories of macronutrients that our bodies need to create energy. These three categories are:
Carbohydrates include a broad range starches, fiber, and sugar. Carbohydrates occur naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and beans. They can also be added to products, mostly as refined sugar and this is often where people get in trouble with carbohydrates.
Most (not all) packaged food contains refined carbohydrates.
Each gram of carbohydrate contains approximately four calories. These calories can either be full of nutrients, or can lack any nutritional value.
Foods rich in naturally occurring fiber, which is a carbohydrate, have many health benefits. Fiber is food for the healthy living bacteria in our gut, and they need it to thrive. Most foods that are high in natural fiber also contain many micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals that support our bodily functions.
Most carbohydrates raise our blood sugar levels and therefore, our insulin levels which is why keeping carbohydrates within moderation is very important for our metabolic health. See the next page for healthy vs. unhealthy carbohydrates.
Proteins are large molecules made up of amino acids. There are nine essential amino acids in which our bodies need but can not make on its own. Complete proteins contain all nine essential amino acids while incomplete proteins contain less than this.
Proteins can be thought of as the building blocks for our cells. they are necessary to repair damage cells, transport molecules throughout the body, protect the body from bacteria and viruses, and aid in growth and developments. The average adult needs approximately 0.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. However, more may be necessary if you are active and trying to build muscle, still developing, pregnant or breastfeeding, or older than 50.
Undeservingly, fat has gotten a bad reputation.
The low fat fad is a thing of the past as we now know that healthy forms of fat are not only necessary for survival, but can drastically improve our health.
Fat is made up of essential fatty acids that our bodies can not create on its own. These fatty acids help with hormonal balance, maintenance of the cell membranes, vitamin absorption, and energy production. Fat aids in the absorption of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E.
Saturated fats can increase cholesterol and should be had in moderation. Some saturated fats are better than others. For example saturated fat from coconut is better than saturated fat from highly processed conventional meat.
Trans fats should be avoided. Seed oils should be eliminated from your diet as much as possible.