The Basics of Macronutrients Science
Today I'm coming at you with another transfer post from the Kayser Nutrition blog. I was busy this weekend with some Master Chief business. In case any of you didn't already know, I am contracted by Microsoft Canada as a Master Chief suit model, but it's NBD. Stay tuned over the next couple of months as I reveal how you too can fit the mold of your favourite super soldiers or super heroes by enhancing your FUEL sources and your FITNESS training program. (Of course I can't help you become 6'6'' if you aren't already).
So let's take a look at the fundamentals on the macronutrients: proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Hopefully this will help you to understand why we want to eat different macronutrients at different times of the day.
Is protein really all that it's made up to be? I sure think so. The building blocks for your entire body (muscles, organs, hair, skin, etc.) Helps you recover from exercise. Demonstrated to be the most satiating of the three macronutrients (fills you up the most), as well as the most important for boosting your metabolism and promoting fat loss. Protein has the greatest metabolic cost to break it down and digest it out of the three macronutrients. Therefore you want to include it in each of your meals. One palm sized amount for females, two for males. Examples: lean red meats, poultry, fish, (some) dairy (particularly Greek yogurt and low fat cheeses), whey protein powders (or some soy protein), eggs, tofu and vegetarian alternatives. Proteins help you lose weight and keep you strong and vital throughout adulthood.
Here's the skinny on fats. Necessary for hormone production. Helps to keep you feeling full. More energy dense than carbs and protein (more calories per gram). Choose healthier sources of fats – avocado, olive oil or macadamia nut oil rather than other cooking oils, nuts and nut butters, fish oil, flax seeds. Check food labels to avoid trans fats and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils. Saturated fats are necessary in your diet, but try to replace the majority of them with the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in healthy cooking oils and nuts. Ideally you want the daily ratio at 1/3 saturated, 1/3 monounsaturated, 1/3 polyunsaturated. Include a thumb size amount (or thumbnail for cooking oils) with each meal and you won't have to worry about being spot on with the ratios. Fats provide you with a good energy source and make meals more filling.
So what's the deal with carbs anyways? Why are they under such heat in popular news? Why can't we just eat as many pop tarts for late night snacks as we want? Carbs get broken down into glucose as its fundamental unit. Blood glucose rises when we consume high carbohydrate foods. High blood glucose is toxic and can damage cells through glycolating proteins (the glucose molecules bind to proteins, changing their structure and functioning). Insulin is the hormone that acts to lower blood glucose levels by allowing the glucose molecules to pass into muscle cells and fats cells. If there is a need for energy in the cells, the glucose can be used, but if energy is not needed at the time, excess glucose will be converted into triglycerides to be stored as fat so that it is available at a later time for energy. When insulin levels are chronically high, because of high carb intake all the time, the system gets out of whack and the cells of the body start to become resistant to the effects of insulin, thus more insulin has to be released in order to get the same effects (shuttling glucose out of the blood and into the muscles for energy). Baseline insulin levels become too high as well and your body develops a propensity to store fat and not want to get rid of it. High carbohydrate foods at every meal = bad idea unless you want to add fat to your body.
With what I've just told you, think of your body as a car and the high carbohydrate foods you consume as gas for your car. If you constantly are refueling your car by putting more gas into it, the gas will spill out of the gas tank and become excess (rather than fueling your muscles, the excess carbohydrate energy will be stored as fat). So instead, you should refuel when your car needs it, like after you've been driving it around for a while (consume starchy carbs, like breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, only around exercise). Hopefully this helps to explain why it’s better for you to consume high carb foods for function, or when your body needs them, like after exercise, rather than all the time.
Also : carbs are not necessary for bodily function, unlike fats and proteins, because they can be formed from proteins and fats through gluconeogenesis. Although the vitamins and minerals from carbs (mainly fruits and veggies) are still very important, unless you get them through multivitamins when very low-carb dieting. The only carbs that are essential for optimal health come from fruits and veggies.
10 eating habits that will get you fit and healthy!
Note: I am a Precision Nutrition certified Professional Nutrition Coach and like to base my recommendations for healthy eating around the same principles, since they are backed by scientific research and verified in practice.
1.Eat every 2-4 hours. Stimulates metabolism, balances blood sugar, maintains lean mass
2. Eat complete, lean protein with every meal – lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy (cottage cheese, yogurt, partly skimmed cheese, string cheese), vegetarian choice (tofu, tempeh, soy burgers, soy protein), milk protein supplements, poultry. Women should have 1 palm sized amount and men should have 2 palms sized amounts. Simple!
3. Eat vegetables with each meal (1 – 1 ½ cups). 1 serving = 1 fist sized amount.
4. If fat loss is your goal, eat veggies and fruits with any meal; any other carbs only after exercise
5. Eat healthy fats daily – about 30% of your calories should come from fats – 1/3 saturated, 1/3 monounsaturated, 1/3 polyunsaturated. You don’t have to be afraid of fats if they are well balanced like this. Saturated should come from the meats you eat mostly, adding in olive oil and avocado , or nuts, flax, fish oil will help to include the MUFAs and PUFAs (the other fats)
6. Don’t drink beverages with more than 0 calories. This isn’t that hard to do! Drink water, tea, and maybe some diet sodas. Coffee should ideally be taken black to stick to these rules, but I think that you could probably get away with having your coffee how you like it, as long as you aren't downing it by the litre each day, I’m talking 1-2 coffees / day. Also remember that alcohol has 7 calories / gram and therefore has to be looked at as having a cheat meal if you are partying on Friday nights or whenever. If you have a post-workout shake, it is an exception to this rule, (it's a separate category, kind of like an extra meal on workout days to help with recovery) or if you make a high protein smoothie with fruit and veggies for one of your meals each day.
7. Eat whole foods instead of supplements whenever possible. You get more nutrients, feel fuller, avoid unnecessary additives, etc.
8. Plan ahead and prepare food in advance
9. Eat as wide a variety of good foods as possible – keeps things fun and interesting. Check out local farmer's markets or butcher shops. Eat fruits and veggies that are in season.
10. Plan to break the rules 10% of the time. That gives you 3-4 imperfect meals / week, so don’t stress out and feel bad. If you just want to be healthier, you may be a little more lenient than this although BE CAREFUL, because if you aren’t following good habits enough of the time, they may not become ingrained well enough and you may be more prone to fall back into your old eating habits. So make sure you hold yourself accountable.
Or find someone else, like myself to hold you accountable. THIS is the number one trick to making sustainable changes when adopting a healthy lifestyle. By having something to lose (the cost of nutrition consultations) you will be much more motivated to be successful at reaching your goal!!
List of 21 Superfoods
These foods fit nicely into the 10 habits and will hopefully give you an example of what kind of things to add in to your grocery list. While you don't have to follow this list exclusively, doing so will make your diet damn near perfect. Aim for 3-5 servings of each of these per week.
Email me if you'd like a pdf copy of the superfoods list to use for grocery shopping! Just message firstname.lastname@example.org
Lean red meat (93% lean, top round, sirloin)
Omega-3 eggs (free range or local farm fresh eggs are also great options)
Low fat, plain yogurt (lactose free ideally)
Protein supplements (milk protein isolates, whey protein isolates, or rice protein isolates)
Veggies / Fruits
Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower)
Extra virgin olive oil
Flax seeds (ground)
Exercise drinks (quickly digested carbohydrate and protein. Not necessary, but the best choice for post-workout nutrition, especially when wanting to build more muscle)
Greens + (vegetable concentrate supplement. Not necessary,but good for busy people who need to cover their bases. Whole foods are much more ideal)
That's it for today! A big'un but also my most popular blog post, so I figured it was important to transfer over to my new blog.
Remember to share this blog with anyone you know who wants to get in shape or eat healthier!! Like my Kayser Strongman page on FaceBook and subscribe for emails updates to new posts.