Seeking advice on changing your diet? Quite often, people just forget to check the labels for the basic nutrients you may need, buying food impulsively for months because it’s “organic” or “healthy”. But how healthy are these “organic” or “healthy” products, if you don’t understand what basic nutrients does it have?
The three main basic nutrients
As you consume proteins, they get broken down into amino acids. Amino acids themselves are called building blocks of the body. They contain nitrogen, which is a key ingredient in forming new tissue for our organs, muscles, hair, skin. That means, if you deprive yourself of proteins for a long period of time, you’ll age quicker, your immune system is going to weaken and the healing process is going to take longer. To calculate how much protein do you need, 1.5 grams of protein multiplied by your body weight in kilograms or 0.68 grams per pound.
Some of the best sources for protein is meat, eggs and milk, but that doesn’t say much for how much you need it.
Here’s a small list of foods with the appropriate amounts of protein in them :
- Eggs – 6 grams of protein in 1 large egg
- Chicken – 28 grams of protein in 3 oz.
- Steak – 26 grams of protein in 3 oz.
- Pork – 22 grams of protein in 3 oz.
- Salmon – 22 grams of protein in 3 oz.
- Shrimp – 20 grams of protein in 3 oz.
- Peas – 4 grams of protein in half a cup
- Pinto beans – 11 grams of protein in half a cup
- Lentils – 9 grams of protein in half a cup
- Kidney beans – 8 grams of protein in half a cup
- Almonds – 6 grams of protein in 1 oz.
- Greek yogurt – 18 grams of protein in 6 oz.
- Cottage cheese – 14 grams of protein in 4 oz.
- Milk (skim, soy) – 8 grams of protein in a cup
If we break down the nutrients as easy as possible, carbohydrates would be the ones that power you. Carbs are divided into two sections – simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates easily said are sugars, while complex ones – starch.
Simple sugars give you energy as soon as you start to consume it, as it’s chemical structure is easily deconstructed by the body to give you immediate energy. You may have heard sugars have complex names like monosaccharides (single sugars) which include glucose (blood), fructose (fruit) and galactose (broken up from lactose), or disaccharides (double sugars), which include sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk) and maltose (beer).
It is recommended not to consume more than 70 grams of sugars for men, and no more than 50 grams of sugars for women.
Complex sugars – usually known as starch or polysaccharides, which means that these carbohydrates are made up from more than two simple sugars. This makes up the fact, that starch is consumed harder than sugars. But, there is no evidence that starches should be fully cut out of your diet. Starches and other polysaccharides, require more time to be dissolved in your body, creating more energy in the long run.
The thing is, consuming more starch for you is good, but not all carbohydrates are equal. For example – simple white bread, pastries or cake doesn’t give anything good for you. To change that, you should change the habits to eat whole grain foods. while they aren’t that great themselves, it’s still better than nothing at all. Other foods, that generate good amounts of starch are :
- Whole grain pasta
If you’d like to have a flour free diet, read more about here!
How much carbohydrates do you need?
During a normal day you should consume about 220 to 320 grams of sugars and starches for a 2000 calorie diet, unless you have some health issues like diabetes, where only a doctor can help you regulate your diet. If you want to know how to get norms, here’s a small chart on how much carbohydrates do some foods have:
- Almonds – 22 grams of carbs in 100 grams
- White bread – 15 grams of carbs in a slice
- Yogurt – 4-5 grams of carbs in 100 grams
Fat is one of the three main macronutrients, along with the other two: carbohydrate and protein. Fats molecules consist of primarily carbon and hydrogen atoms, thus they are all hydrocarbon molecules. Examples include cholesterol, phospholipids and triglycerides.
How much fat do you need?
Research now indicates that as much as 20 to 35 percent of your calories should come from fats.
It’s importing to eat fat – why?
- Help protect and run your immune system
- Allow good production of testosterone and estrogen
- Play an essential role with nutrient absorption (think important vitamins like D and E)
- Help all of the cells in your body work as intended