In this article we will discuss Basic Concepts and Education around Nutrition.
It is always a good thing to understand basics around proper nutrition and fueling our bodies adequately.
Our food has specific components and once we understand this we can make better educated choices around how to feed ourselves and why it is important.
Education leads to better adherence to a Nutrition practice. You sticking to a specific practice will lead to consistency. More consistency leads to better results.
I hope you enjoy the contents of this article and as always if you have follow up question send us en Email HERE.
What is a Calorie (aka Energy Balance)?
Calorie – A calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. Calories in food provide energy in the form of heat so that our bodies can function.
For us, they are a measure of food or daily intake. It is also a metric we can use to see how many calories we expend through daily activities.
Keep in mind that Calories are a metric placed on food by humans. For us it is a metric to help us change our bodies.
What are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients: A substance required in relatively large amounts by living organisms.
They are different types of foods (e.g., fat, protein, carbohydrates) required in large amounts in the human diet.
These Nutrients make up our calorie intake because they contain calories.
|Protein has 4 calories per gram|
Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram
Fat has 9 calories per gram
*Alcohol has 7 calories per gram
Now we realize that Alcohol is NOT a Macronutrient but most of us in the training world would argue it is the 4th Macro.
Protein is pretty much the most important Macro. It is an essential nutrient we need meaning you cannot survive without its presence in your body.
Protein is the building blocks of our tissues and helps to keep all of our bodily systems running. Almost every system in our body needs some sort of protein to function, manage and continue working.
We need protein for enzymes in our body, skin and hair growth, and many other hormones like metabolism, adrenaline, testosterone, and growth hormone.
Here are some big points and why you should care:
- Protein rebuilds our muscles. When you train you create little micro tears in them. We need our muscles to heal so that we can train again and build more muscle. The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn. The more calories you burn the more body fat you will burn.
- Protein has the highest effect on something called the TEF (Thermic Effect of Food). Meaning it takes more calories to digest protein than any other. Yep you sure do burn calories just by eating protein. Protein is very hard to break down so you can see how it makes sense to consume enough of it daily. It is FREE Fat Loss!
- Protein is very tough to store as body fat. Now there is an upper limit to how much you can consume as it can cause issues in your gut and other organs but we know a large percentage of your daily intake should come from protein.
- Protein is very satiating. It helps you to feel full longer. And if you have tried to lose body fat before you know this is very valuable.
As you can see, protein is very important for you to consume and should be a priority in your life daily. Especially if you want to change your body composition for any reason. Simply put, if you want to lose fat, build muscle, or increase performance EAT YOUR PROTEIN.
Very similar to protein Fat is another essential nutrient. This is why it is listed right after the discussion around protein.
In theory you could live and survive off of protein and fat alone and you would be “fine”. This is why diets like Keto, Atkins, and Paleo became so popular again in the past few years.
But, who wants to just live “fine”?
Don’t we want an exceptional life where we are full of life and energy?
Not to make a knock on those diets they can all work for some people but balance of the macronutrients tends to work so much better.
Big point on consumption of Fats:
- Fat is the hormone highway. It is the vehicle of how our bodies regulate hormone health. This is why it is essential, especially for females.
- Fat is a primer for the nervous system and axon, which is a major part of the nerve that transmits signals to the brain to initiate bodily functions. The brain is said to be made up of 80% lipids (aka fats), which means for full neurological capabilities we need adequate fats in our diets.
- Fat is also a secondary energy source. When it comes to low intensity activities it is likely fats are being used for energy. It’s not great for explosive energy but it is great for basic life activities.
By now we are assuming you recognize how consuming quality fats is so important. With all of these facts you can also recognize how individualized Nutrition should be from person to person.
Carbs… Over the past few years carbs have been turned into a dirty word and demonized.
But the reality is, you should be consuming them.
Carbohydrates helps us to thrive in life. Each macro performs different actions in our bodies and helps us live in a higher level which is why all around macro balance is so important.
Carbs help with:
- Performance. Carbs aren’t “technically” needed to survive. However if you want to perform on any level then carbs are what you need. Carbs are your primary energy source when it comes to physical activities and anything with any level of intensity.
- Recovery is another huge benefits carbs provide us with. Carbs replenish our muscle glycogen for future movement and help rebuild muscle tissue along with protein. You literally cannot build muscle without protein and carbs working together.
- Hormones also impact our hormones. Hormones like leptin, ghrelin, the thyroid, and our adrenals are all affected positively by carbs.
- Carbs are the easiest way to get fiber in our diets
- Lastly carbs are everywhere. We are social creatures so when you show up to a gathering it is likely that carbs will be present. Being able to enjoy some just helps you with adhering to the plan and sticking to you nutrition plan.
Carbohydrates are important and should not be left out. They are not the enemy, eating too much or too little is the real enemy.
Let’s discuss fiber.
Fiber is very important for overall gut health and satiety. This is very important 100% of the time. Especially while working to lose body fat.
On average we typically recommend 20g for most Females and 25g for most Males.
Another simple way to calculate is to give 10g per 1000 calories you consume.
A thing to remember in regards to fiber is to track how your gut feels. You can in theory consume higher than that as long as you do not have any issues and feel ok.
Now let’s discuss an often overlooked piece of the puzzle…Micronutrients.
Micronutrients are a chemical element or substance in trace amounts for normal growth and development of living organisms.
Basically all living organisms need these in order to survive, grow, and develop.
We need to focus on this because you literally won’t survive without them. That is not to scare you. That is reality.
Micronutrients are broken down into ‘Vitamins’ and ‘Minerals’.
Now we aren’t going to jump deep into each one here but we do want to describe the differences between the two.
Minerals – There are two types of minerals that we consume on a regular basis; these include macrominerals, which our body needs in bigger doses, and trace minerals, which our body needs in smaller doses.
The macrominerals include potassium, calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium. Most of these are electrolytes, which directly link to our fluid intake, and if we don’t have balance with these, hydration and performance become a big issue.
The trace minerals include iron, copper, iodine, selenium, zinc, molybdenum, and cobalt (there are more, but these are the big hitters). Even though these are needed in much smaller quantities, these are just as important to get in your diet as the macrominerals are.
Vitamins – Vitamins come in two different types, just like minerals do, but it’s related to how they’re absorbed and utilized in the body. We have fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.
Fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E, and K) are absorbed and utilized with the assistance of fat through the small intestines and tend to stay in the body much longer than water-soluble vitamins.
Water-soluble vitamins (All 8 forms of Vitamin C and B), as you probably imagined, are absorbed with the assistance of water – but this is also why we don’t hold onto these vitamins as long, because they get excreted through urine and sweat pretty regularly.
2 SCENARIOS YOU NEED TO WORRY ABOUT.
There are really only two times we really need to be concerned about becoming deficient and/or not getting enough of these micronutrients.
Those two times are when we’re starting to get really lean (1) and when we’re simply excreting a lot of fluids (2), which could be simply training hard and drinking a lot of water. In other words, you’re peeing and sweating a lot.
First this is because fat-soluble vitamins can store in the fat cells of our body, making them become more readily available without constant consumption of them. Which is why at the start of a diet you’re very unlikely to be depleted or deficient in any of these vitamins.
Second, it’s because when we’re excreting more fluids than normal, by training hard and urinating frequently, we’re removing those water-soluble vitamins from our bodies.
Again, rather than taking a bunch of supplements and vitamins you can simply focus on getting more variety and whole foods into your diet. 9 times out of 10, which is more than enough to provide the nutrients you need.
By now I am assuming you can see how important your nutrition is. Our bodies need the right fuel to function properly and optimize our results.
Results are what we are after correct?
We want to be lean, muscular, and healthy for as long as possible.
Fuel yourself correctly and try to make your nutrition a priority starting today!