Three Food Types for Diet and Nutrition
It goes without saying that the foods we eat are of utmost importance to our bodies. Our health, both mental and physical, greatly depends on the choices we make in our diet and nutrition. There are three main food types – protein, carbohydrates, and fat – and in this article, we’ll discuss each one along with its benefits and drawbacks.
Animal and Vegetable Protein
First on the diet list is protein. Protein comes in two forms – animal protein and vegetable protein. Animal protein comes from meat (beef, pork, etc.), poultry, fish, game animals and eggs. The whey in milk is actually the highest-quality and most nutritious protein there is, followed closely by eggs and beef. While whey is a very high-quality protein, it is also quickly digested, so consuming protein in this form will not keep you feeling full for very long. Beef and other meats, on the other hand, take longer for our bodies to digest and will help stave off hunger – important if you’re trying to lose weight.
Vegetable protein comes in the form of beans and legumes, tofu, and some dark green, leafy vegetables like spinach. Corn and potatoes also contain protein, but in much smaller amounts than their animal counterparts. For example, one-half cup of ground beef has approximately fifteen grams of protein compared to approximately five grams in a medium russet potato.
The amino acids of proteins from any source help build strong muscles, bones and teeth, and the iron in protein helps to carry oxygen through your bloodstream. This is likely why those with an iron deficiency have a sallow complexion – they simply aren’t receiving enough oxygen to the skin’s surface.
Simple and Complex Carbohydrates
Next on the dietary list are carbohydrates. There are two types of carbohydrates (or carbs, as they are also called) – simple and complex. Simple carbs are derived from those substances our bodies don’t need much of – sugar, white flour, pasta, bread and rice, these are not nutritional. Some fruits and vegetables are also considered simple carbs as they contain fructose, which is a fruit sugar that our bodies respond to in the same way it responds to simple sugars.
Complex carbohydrates consist of foods that stay in your digestive system longer, such as rolled (not instant) oats, brown rice, and lentils. The Glycemic Index ranks carbohydrate sources depending on their ability to raise the blood glucose level after eating. Simple carbs have a higher number on the Index, and complex carbs have a lower number. A slow, steady rise in your blood glucose level is better for your metabolism, helps you to stay full longer, and also helps to avoid a “sugar crash” that you typically experience after consuming a lot of simple carbs.
Fat in Your Diet
Though it tends to get a bad rap, fat is a necessary and vital part of every single cell in our bodies. From your brain to your toenails, your body needs fat. And contrary to popular belief, you do not get fat from eating fat. Choose unsaturated fats in the form of lean meats, poultry, and cold-water fish, and you’ll be consuming all the proper fats for proper organ function, healthy skin, nails and hair, and vitamin absorption.
Don’t skip the good fats despite what you hear!
The Good and Bad of Calories Explained
If you’re interested in diet, nutrition and fitness, you’ve no doubt heard of calories. But what exactly is a calorie and what does it have to do with you? Quite a bit, actually, and after reading this article, you’ll know all about the good and bad of calories. A calorie is simply the energy value we give to the food we eat in our daily diet.
So a food or serving that has 1000 calories will have a higher energy value than that which has 100 calories. (We’re referring to energy as it pertains to metabolism, not physical energy.) A pound of fat contains approximately 3500 calories and, therefore, when you want to burn off a pound of fat with exercise, you need to perform the exercise equivalent (and/or reduce your consumption) of those 3500 calories. This sounds daunting at first, but it is a very achievable goal if spaced out over a few days, or a weeks’ time.
Different Calorific Values
Different food types have different calorific values. Fat contains nine calories per gram. Proteins and carbohydrates contain around four calories per gram. What this means to you and your nutrition and diet is that you can consume more foods containing proteins or carbohydrates and take in the same number of calories as you would consume less than half the same amount of fat.
Here is an example: a pound of trimmed steak contains approximately 700-900 calories. A pound of bacon contains approximately 2200 calories. So in order to consume the same number of calories of both foods, you’d need to eat more than two pounds of steak to equal just one pound of bacon!
When people talk about “burning calories”, what they are referring to is the amount of exercise needed to reduce the energy equivalent of a dietary calorie. Many aerobic workout machines (treadmills, elliptical trainers, stair-steppers) will have a calorie readout based on your weight for any particular workout that you do. The more challenging the exercise is to you, generally the more calories you will burn during that workout. The longer you work out, the more calories you will lose.
You also burn calories during other types of workouts like weight training, and you burn calories doing everyday activities like cleaning the house. And in fact, the more muscle you have on your body, the more calories you will burn day-to-day, just to maintain that muscle mass. You even burn calories while sleeping; as our body needs to support respiration, brain function, circulation, etc.
Lose One Pound Each Week
Remember when you’re attempting to lose weight, that each pound of fat you want to lose is equivalent to approximately 3500 calories. If you want to lose one pound each week, you must reduce your calories by 3500 that week, through either consuming less calories, working out to burn more calories, or a combination of both of these.
If you ate 2000 calories less during that week, and worked out and burned off the additional 1500 calories – there is your pound of fat loss.
The math may seem overwhelming, but the really important thing is just to get out, get active, and enjoy getting a little exercise every single day. If you do this, the calories will matter less, because you’ll just feel great!
Low Fat Proteins You Should Eat and Why
It is important to include protein in your diet, and this is due to a number of reasons, including their nutritional value. 20% of the human body is made up of protein, which, plays a crucial role in almost all of the biological process that take place inside our bodies. It is amino acids that are the building blocks of protein, and they help to build protein in the body, they facilitate its growth and development and they build lean muscle mass.
They are the building blocks of life
The body does not make amino acids on its own, they can only be obtained from food and specifically those foods that are high in protein and nutrition. You must ensure that you do not eat proteins containing high proportions of fat. Unfortunately, many excellent sources of proteins are very high in fat, especially that which comes from animals, like beef. Consuming too much animal proteins that are high in fat in your diet can lead to high cholesterol levels, heart disease and even stroke.
Therefore, it is wise to opt for lean meats and other protein sources that are low in fats that will provide you with the amino acids that your body requires, less the added fat and calories that are to be found in other protein sources. The best low fat proteins are beans, grains, lean meats and seafood, and here is why and should always be included in your diet.
Beans and Nutrition
Beans are rich in protein and nutrition and contain very little fat. In fact, the majority of beans contain between fourteen and seventeen grams of protein and less than one gram of fat per cup, which is very little indeed.
The Best Beans:
Finally, beans are extremely cheap and can be easily found all over the world, either fresh, dry or canned. When choosing canned products, check the label and make sure that there are no added ingredients, like sugar or salt. In any case, it is always best to get your beans dry and in their whole state and prepare them at home.
Whole-grain foods also provide protein without fat. Teff and quinoa contain significant amounts of protein, and very little fat. Quinoa can be used to substitute brown rice, which, is high in calories, contains less fiber than quinoa and has only one quarter of the amount of iron that quinoa contains. Therefore, quinoa is a healthier option than brown rice, and can easily be used to substitute brown rice.
Teff is usually ground and turned into a healthy nutritious type of flour, which can be used in baking, as a substitute for white flour. Steel oats are best and can be enjoyed as a hot breakfast, or added to muffins, made into cookies and home-made energy bars. Avoid sugar added instant oatmeal’s.
As indicated above, you must be careful to choose the right meat, and the right cuts of that meat, if you want to use it as a way of incorporating healthy protein in your diet. As a rule of thumb, cuts of meat with little fat, skin or bone tend to be the healthiest. Because of this, boneless, skinless chicken breasts make for a very healthy choice. A three-ounce portion contains 27 grams of protein and only 3 grams of fat.
Turkey is another great option, and can be purchased whole, ground, in patty and in fillet form. Red meat does hold significant nutrients as well, such as, iron, and can be enjoyed in moderation.
Choose lean cuts:
There are lots of fish and seafood varieties that contain high amounts of nutritious protein and low amounts of fat that can be beneficial to any health based diet. White fish, such as cod, halibut, flounder, carp or sea bass provide between 15 and 20 grams of protein, and merely 1 to 4 grams of fat.
Shellfish, such as clams, mussels or scallops also provide good amounts of protein and are low in fat. In order to ensure that seafood remains low in fat, stick to steaming, baking or grilling them. Unfortunately, this means avoiding the classic fish and chips.
Enjoy Lean Protein!
Make protein a part of every meal you consume as it is crucial for the body and provides energy and keeps you satisfied, which, is always useful for the waistline!