balancing nutrient intake

There are seemingly a zillion fad diets out there, all promising the best system to get you skinny as fast as possible.

Unfortunately, while they might take off many pounds quickly, those pounds have a way of finding their way back, often times with friends.  A diet needs to be a sustainable change in the way you think about and consume food and drink in order for long-term weight loss to be maintained.

Think about it: how did you get to where you are?  Most of the time, it’s with your current eating habits.  So if you suspend those habits only until you lose weight, then go running back to them, what’s going to happen?  Weight comes back.

The other problem with fad diets is that most of them are not healthy.  Any diet that’s high-anything or low-anything isn’t good.  Your body needs balance.

What is the right balance?

At the most basic level, in order to function properly, your body requires protein, carbs, and fats.  However, it requires far less protein than most of us feed it.  It would run better on different carbs than most of the types we give it.  And not all fats are created equal.

For the average person, a roughly 30-30-40 split is healthy: 30% of your daily calories come from protein, 30% come from fat, 40% come from carbs.  (These are estimates, and depending on your level of activity and goals, they can vary somewhat.)

Protein: mainly meat, beans, nuts.  But many foods contain protein.  For example, a cup of raw broccoli has about 2.5 grams of protein.

Carbs: we tend to think of bread, cereal, pasta, and while those are carbs, they’re not the best ones to be consuming.  Whole grain breads and pastas are best if you’re going to go that route.  Fruits and many veggies are high in carbs.  Fiber is also in the carb family.

Fat: “I don’t eat peanut butter because it’s fattening!”  But the fats you find in nuts, avocado, olive oil are the “good fat.”  They’re the kind we want, just in moderation.  The kinds you find in cookies, ice cream, and candy are not the kind we want.

So the diets that propose indefinitely eliminating any one of these categories are not healthy diets.

Are you with me so far?  Questions?

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