Diet season is upon which means some gyms and businesses specializing in weight loss will be very busy living off the fat of the man or woman who has made the unimaginative and predictable New Year’s Resolutions of getting in shape and shedding some pounds. Being an active part of the fitness and food industries means I keep a small eye on the latest diet fads that come out. Over the years fat and carbs have been made out to be the enemy while protein had its 15 minutes of fame with the high-protein Atkins diet.
Fat, carbohydrates and protein are the macronutrients required in our daily diet in the following ratio: 30:55:15. According to popular diets and self-proclaimed experts over the last few decades the ratios should look dramatically different from this. While there may be discrepancies on the exact ratio, we do need all 3 of these daily in proportion to meet our energy requirements and nutritional needs. Quantity is a guide to how much we should consume on a daily basis but quality makes a difference in what we should choose.
Fat, carbohydrates and protein will be featured in more detail in future posts, but in the meantime, here’s a taste of each of the macronutrients.
Fat is necessary in our diet as a source of energy and transport for certain nutrients. It also makes food taste good and helps us feel full helping to prevent us from overeating. The majority of dietary fat consumed should be natural sources of the unsaturated variety.
Carbohydrates are also a source of energy and provide many micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that our body needs for good health and optimal functioning. Choose ‘slow’ carbs i.e. break down more slowly thus not raising the glycemic index too quickly. Whole grains and fruits/vegetables in their natural state are best.
Protein also provides micronutrients, plays a role in immunity and is needed for repair and building of tissue. There are many sources for vegetarian/vegan protein out there. The key is quality. As an example, raw nuts, soaked then eaten in a salad retain more nutrients than eating them honey roasted.
Stay tuned as we break these macro nutrients down further in future posts. Watch this space…