Fitness Nutrition Information
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As you make the journey to total fitness, you have begun to realize just how important it is to combine healthy workout routines with a dietary regimen that complements your physical efforts.
You are not just going on a diet. You are making a commitment to a permanent lifestyle choice that will put you on the road to lasting health for the remainder of your life.
It’s helpful to tell yourself that you don’t have to sacrifice your favorite foods forever. You can plan to go for pizza or ice cream with friends or family occasionally. Once you accept that your new choices allow for moderated forays into questionable food options, you won’t be fighting the sense of deprivation that traditional diets give you.
Now you are ready to learn everything you need to know about proteins, carbohydrates, and all kinds of fats. You will become an expert at judging foods for their nutritional value, and you will understand how a single portion of something fits into your total daily dietary intake.
Fitness Nutrition Information - Why Proteins Are Popular
If you’ve been paying attention reading your fitness nutrition information, you know that proteins are made up from chains of amino acid molecules.
Proteins within a cell are involved in every one of its functions, so they are vital to our well-being.
They bring about growth in our cells, so that we can form muscles, grow hair, produce new blood cells, and heal bones and skin when they’re injured.
They also play a role in involuntary functions such as digestion, and they regulate our ability to produce thyroid hormones, estrogen and testosterone, and insulin.
Proteins are either essential or nonessential. Essential proteins are the ones not produced by the body, and so must be obtained through food consumption.
The nonessential proteins, then, occur naturally within the body. There are twenty amino acids, both essential and nonessential, that synthesize most of these proteins.
The nonessential amino acids are alanine, asparagine, aspartate, cysteine, glutamate, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine, arginine, and histidine.
Essential amino acids include isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Both plant and animal food sources contain all of the essential amino acids, but in many cases plant food sources lack sufficient levels of these proteins to meet our needs.
That’s why it’s so important to eat animal proteins, or to look for specific protein sources in plant food sources if we are vegetarians. So why don’t we recommend getting all of our proteins from animal food sources? Because those food sources are the ones highest in the fats we need to avoid.
Scientists have been studying these actual “building blocks of protein” since the 1800s, and we know that they interact with one another and with other nutrients.
Let’s look at alanine as an example: It metabolizes the carbohydrate glucose as well as the amino acid tryptophan. It’s possible that on the plus side it might reduce cholesterol; on the negative side, it seems to have some connection to Epstein Barr and chronic fatigue syndrome. And other amino acids have their purposes, as well.
Proven fitness nutrition information shows us that amount of protein that you need is determined by your age, weight, and gender. Men need more than women because they have more muscle tissue, but women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need more than men. The average woman needs about 46-50 grams per day.
If you’re working out and building muscle mass, you need enough protein to sustain the positive nitrogen balance you’ve learned about. You should eat proteins every four hours, but you have to vary your protein sources.
Choose from lean-trimmed beef, turkey or chicken, fish, legumes (beans) or nuts, egg whites, and grains such as kasha. Dairy foods also offer proteins, but choose low-fat milk and yogurt options.
Fitness Nutrition Information - Controlling Your Carbohydrates
Just as proteins are made up of amino acids, carbohydrates come to us from molecular chains of saccharides.
You already know that simple carbohydrates can include the sugars found in fruits or honey, and complex carbohydrates are the starches that we digest more slowly that contain the fiber we need. You also know that you need them as fuel for your body’s furnace —but which ones and how many?
All carbohydrates are eventually converted to sugar by the liver. When there is too much sugar in the bloodstream, the pancreas releases insulin to shoo the sugar out of the bloodstream; unfortunately, it goes into our cells and accumulates as fat. If the pancreas cannot produce the insulin to handle someone’s sugar intake, the person risks developing diabetes.
That’s why we limit sugars found in sweet foods that have little other nutritional value. Junk or dessert foods lack the minerals and vitamins found in fruits and vegetables.
We do need all the carbohydrates, however —the starches, the sugars, and the fiber. Under normal circumstances about half of our daily calories should be from carbohydrates. The body first uses complex carbohydrates as its energy source. It’s best to get them from leafy and green vegetables; because they have more fiber in them, they have fewer calories than starchier food options.
Here’s a way to put carbohydrates in perspective. Suppose you are on a 2000 calorie diet. Half of your calories can come from carbohydrates, which is 1000 calories. Only ten percent of those calories can come from sugar, which means 100 calories. When you realize that just one candy bar has about 250 calories, you can see why so many people carry too much fat.
Fitness Nutrition Information - Don’t Forget About Fats
It’s probably most difficult to understand the importance of fats in our bodies. You now understand that our body fat mostly comes from excessive carbohydrates. So what happens when we have too much fat in our diet? A high amount of cholesterol that clogs our arteries is the most harmful effect of fat. And yes, it does store excess fat as fat, especially on abdominal muscles.
But we have difficulty tracking the fats we eat because there are so many kinds: Trans fats, hydrogenated fats, and saturated fats—as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.
It’s easiest to remember that the unsaturated fats are the best ones for you. The trans fats, hydrogenated fats, and the saturated fats are the bad ones. All fats should be 25-35% of your daily calories, but the saturated fats can only make up 7% of your daily calories and trans fats should be limited to less than 1%.
The trans fats mostly come from animal products—fat on meat or in dairy foods. Hydrogenated fats include margarine and peanut butter made with artificial oil. It’s best to get your daily fat from nuts or seeds and the oils made from them. Ultimately the best sources of fats are fish with the Omega fats they offer.
Fitness Nutrition Information - Putting It All Together
Now that you understand the importance of these various nutrients and proper fitness nutrition information, you can move on to making new and better daily dietary choices.
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