If you could have only one meal to eat for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Assume there is no negative impact on your health whatsoever…

Posted: 11:17AM on Jul 2, 2019 | By Pynora


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  • 3.9%
  • 20.4%
  • 4.9%
  • 16.5%
  • 1.0%
  • 2.9%
  • 4.9%
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Understanding Macronutrients: How to Really Eat Better for Healthy Living

Posted: 12:26AM on Jan 13, 2020 | By Pynora

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Diet after diet, blog after blog, and sweaty mile after mile, your head is left spinning on a black hole of terms like paleo, keto, intermittent fasting, and more. What’s actually good for maintaining optimum health is often hard to dissect from the hype of the fitness world, leading thousands to wonder things like, “is it really good for me to stay in a state of ketosis, and should I try that 10-day juice cleanse?”

Diet trends and cleanses will continue on, and many produce fast-acting results that carry on for years to come. But for many that transition back to a normal regimen, all the unwelcome weight piles back on in an instant.

All bodies and metabolisms are different than others, and what works for a bodybuilder won’t deliver the same results for someone with a sedentary lifestyle. What’s important is to figure out exactly what works for you—which typically involves a pricey visit to a licensed clinical nutritionist.

If you’re not quite ready to invest in an appointment with a nutritionist, there’s still a way to cut through the clutter and find a wellness solution. The answer lies in macronutrients.

The word diet implies something temporary. But understanding macronutrients, the type of nutrition we put into our bodies, and how it helps us to thrive can positively upend your world of healthy living. Let’s dive in and fuel up with what keeps our systems running strong—macronutrients.

What are Macronutrients?

If you’ve ever heard someone say “count your macros,” they’re referring to adding up the nutrients that supply us with both energy and calories—specifically protein, carbohydrates, and fats. We need each macronutrient to survive, and a good balance is essential for optimum health. Let’s go over the three micronutrients to better understand how our bodies benefit from each.

Cooked pasta with greensCarbohydrates

Every so often, carbs are shunned like a first-class criminal. And with the dramatic entrance of regimes like the ketogenic diet, carbs are again withering away in the hot seat. The mere sight and smell of fresh-baked bread will have some carb-shunners sprinting away like they saw a spider.

Carbohydrates have been blamed for everything from obesity to heart disease, and many that scorn carbs find themselves trading rolled oats for 10 slices of bacon, or switching lentils for bun-less cheeseburgers. But despite the bad press, carbs are good for you—you just need to understand what type of carbohydrates you’re consuming. This brings us to simple and complex carbs.

Simple Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are broken down lightning-fast by the body and are found naturally occurring in fruits and milk products. Most simple carbohydrates, however, are found in processed and refined sugars, and you’ll get plenty from candy, soft drinks, syrups, and more.

Simple carbs are either monosaccharides or disaccharides. Monosaccharides are single molecules, while disaccharides are two monosaccharides jones together. Glucose, which is needed for healthy brain function, is a monosaccharide. Another common one is fructose. Common disaccharides are a fusion of sucrose (table sugar) and lactose, which is a common cause of bloating after drinking milk products.

Overall, you’ll want to limit your consumption of simple carbohydrates.

Complex Carbohydrates

Complex carbohydrates take time to be digested by the body, and are chock-full of starches and fibers. Starch is another misunderstood element of the nutrition world, even though it’s one of the good guys—starch provides us with slow-release energy throughout the day. Fiber regulates our system and acts as a high-octane broom for our colon, clearing out waste and ramping up healthy digestion.

Complex carbohydrates are the types of carbs you’ll want to buddy up with.

Make Room in Your Life for Carbs

Carbs are important macronutrient fuel for our bodies, and are essential for replacing lost glycogen stores and preventing ketosis. A sustained spike in ketones can be detrimental to the body over time—if you’ve ever smelled a whiff of acetone on the breath of someone on a keto diet, you’re likely smelling the effects of ketosis. And completely cutting carbs from your life means you’re turning your back on wellness-building nutrients, which could put you at risk for an assortment of health problems.

Protein

Those looking to build, tone, or maintain muscle tend to focus vociferously on protein. But those same people might be surprised to find out that giving you energy is not this macronutrient’s main role—and that many of us consume way too much protein. Let’s find out what protein’s real responsibilities are.

What Does Protein Really Do?

Protein is necessary for a well-balanced bodily ecosystem. Protein helps to ferry nutrients through the bloodstream and cell walls, and some proteins are enzymes, which can help to decrease inflammation, improve digestion, and even reduce pain from arthritis and other ailments.

Protein also regulates the body’s acid-base balance and acts as an immune defense, arming your body with antibodies that flock together to fight off disease. Furthermore, collagen protein helps to give structure to bones, skin, and teeth.

How Much Protein do we Need Each Day?Grilled meat with sauce on a white plate

While many think that consuming more protein is the key to health, that’s not entirely the case. In fact, most Americans consume over 100 grams of protein per day—over twice the recommended daily amount.

RDAs for protein change depending on age. But a healthy, 140-lb adult’s requirements is 50 grams of protein per day. That can be found in a single 6 oz chicken breast.

The RDA for most adults is 0.8 g/kg of body weight, even for highly active people. But if you’re in the endurance or strength arena—say, a long-distance runner or a bodybuilder—some evidence has suggested that upping consumption to 1.4-1.7 g of protein may be necessary.

Fats

Eating proper amounts of quality fats won’t make you fat. Rather, this macronutrient will give your body energy, supports cell growth, and will help you to absorb other important nutrients. Moreover, it’s essential for optimum brain function—the brain contains no less than 60% fat.

Breaking Down Fats

Much like carbs, there are bad fats to stay away from and good fats that you’ll want to include in your diet. Saturated and trans fats raise levels of LDL (bad cholesterol) in your blood, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats lower these levels.

Your body naturally produces all the saturated fat it needs, so it’s not necessary to consume any saturated fats. It’s the unsaturated fats that contain omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, which help to prevent heart disease.

Say Yes to Fats

Turning your back on fats doesn’t mean you’ll shed weight any faster—but doing so will make you feel hungrier and will prevent you from absorbing essential nutrients. Eating too much fat will certainly pack on the pounds, but as with any diet, this macronutrient should be consumed in appropriate amounts.

The RDA for fats is 20 to 35% of your daily caloric intake. If it takes 2,000 calories to maintain your healthy weight, you’ll need about 44 to 77 grams of fat per day.

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