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Most American adults consume about half of their calories as carbohydrates. This falls within the AMDR, but unfortunately most Americans do not choose their carbohydrate-containing foods wisely. Many people label complex carbs as good and sugars as bad, but the carbohydrate story is much more complex than that. Both types yield glucose through digestion or metabolism; both work to maintain your blood glucose; both provide the same number of calories; and both protect your body from protein breakdown and ketosis.

The nutrient-density of our food choices is far more critical. For example, fresh cherries provide ample sugars, and saltine crackers provide just complex carbs. Few would argue that highly processed crackers are more nutritious than fresh cherries. For this reason, many people call them empty calories. Sometimes people look to the glycemic index GI to evaluate the healthfulness of carbohydrate-rich foods, but this too oversimplifies good nutrition. The GI ranks carbohydrate-containing foods from 0 to This score indicates the increase in blood glucose from a single food containing 50 grams of carbohydrate compared to 50 grams of pure glucose, which has a GI score of Foods that are slowly digested and absorbed - like apples and some bran cereals - trickle glucose into your bloodstream and have low GI scores.

High GI foods like white bread and cornflakes are quickly digested and absorbed, flooding the blood with glucose. Research regarding the GI is mixed; some studies suggest that diets based on low GI foods are linked to lower risks of diabetes , obesity and heart disease, but other studies fail to show such a link. All of these factors complicate the usefulness of the GI. Additionally, many high-calorie, low-nutrient foods such as some candy bars and ice creams have desirable GI scores, while more nutritious foods like dates and baked potatoes have high scores.

However, research supports that diets of a wide range of macronutrient proportions facilitate a healthy weight, allow weight loss and prevent weight regain. The critical factor is reducing the calorie content of the diet long-term.

If we shunned all carbohydrates or if we severely restricted them, we would not be able to meet our fiber needs or get ample phytochemicals, naturally occurring compounds that protect the plant from infection and us from chronic disease.

The hues, aromas and flavors of the plant suggest that it contains phytochemicals. Scientists have learned of thousands of them with names like lycopene, lutein and indolecarbinol. Among other things, phytochemicals appear to stimulate the immune system, slow the rate at which cancer cells grow, and prevent damage to DNA. All naturally fiber-rich foods are also rich in carbohydrates. The recommended intake for fiber is 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women.

The usual fiber intake among Americans, however, is woefully lacking at only 15 grams daily. Perhaps best known for its role in keeping the bowels regular, dietary fiber has more to brag about. Individuals with high fiber intakes appear to have lower risks of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension , diabetes and obesity. Additionally, fibers are food for the normal healthy bacteria that reside in your gut and provide nutrients and other health benefits.

To boost your fiber intake, eat fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans frequently. Carbohydrates are critical sources of energy for several body systems. Nourish your body and help shield yourself from chronic disease by getting most of your carbohydrates from fruits, whole grains, legumes, milk and yogurt. Limit added sugars and heavily processed grains.

S, this question is usually answered with some type of meat like pot roast, chicken, salmon or meatloaf. The truth is, most Americans eat much more protein than their bodies require. And even if you choose to eat no meat at all, you can still meet your protein needs. Like carbohydrates and lipids, proteins are one of the macronutrients. Though protein provides your body with 4 kcals per gram, giving you energy is not its primary role.

In fact, your body contains thousands of different proteins, each with a unique function. Their building blocks are nitrogen-containing molecules called amino acids. If your cells have all 20 amino acids available in ample amounts, you can make an infinite number of proteins.

Nine of those 20 amino acids are essential, meaning you must get them in the diet. Bodybuilders drink protein shakes for breakfast and after working out. Dieters with no time to stop for lunch grab protein bars. Are these strategies necessary for optimal strength building and weight loss?

Proteins in the body are constantly broken down and re-synthesized. Our bodies reuse most of the released amino acids, but a small portion is lost and must be replaced in the diet. The requirement for protein reflects this lost amount of amino acids plus any increased needs from growth or illness. Because of their rapid growth, infants have the highest RDA for protein at 1. The RDA gradually decreases until adulthood.

It increases again during pregnancy and lactation to a level of 1. The RDA for an adult weighing pounds The RDA remains the same regardless of physical activity level. There is some data, however, suggesting that both endurance and strength athletes have increased protein needs compared to inactive individuals.

Endurance athletes may need as much as 1. For an adult consuming kcals per day, the acceptable protein intake ranges from grams per day, an amount easily met. Consider the pound bodybuilder whose protein needs are approximately grams per day.

With his energy needs so great, however, his diet will need careful planning. If he requires engineered foods such as bars and shakes, it will most likely be to meet his energy needs rather than his protein needs. One population that needs special attention is the elderly. Though the RDA for older adults remains the same as for younger adults, some research suggests their needs may be 1.

Helping them meet their nutritional needs may take a little creativity and perseverance. People become vegetarian for a variety of reasons including religious beliefs, health concerns, and a concern for animals or for the environment. Yes, in the typical American diet, most of our protein comes from animal foods. It is possible, however, to meet all of your protein needs while consuming a vegetarian diet.

You can even eat adequate protein on a carefully planned vegan diet - a diet that excludes all animal products, including eggs and dairy. When you think of protein, like most people, you probably think of beef, chicken, turkey, fish and dairy products. Beans and nuts might come to mind as well. Most foods contain at least a little protein, so by eating a diet with variety, vegetarians and vegans can eat all the protein they need without special supplements. This list illustrates the amount of protein found in common foods that may be included in your diet.

A complete protein includes all of the essential amino acids. Complete proteins include all animal proteins and soy. Incomplete proteins lack one or more essential amino acids. Beans, nuts, grains and vegetables are incomplete proteins. Previously, registered dietitians and physicians advised vegetarians to combine foods that contained incomplete proteins at the same meal to give the body all the necessary amino acids it needed at one time.

Today we know this is unnecessary. Your body combines complementary or incomplete proteins that are eaten in the same day. If you eat a variety of foods, you will meet your protein needs. Recreational athletes rarely need protein supplements. Doctors, nutritionists and public health officials told us to stop eating so much fat. Cut back on fat, they said, to lose weight and fend off heart disease among other ills.

Rather, low-fat food labels seduced us, and we made pretzels and fat-free, sugar-rich desserts our grocery staples. Today we know to focus on the quality of the fat instead of simply the quantity.

Say NO to very low-fat diets. Many people find them limiting, boring, tasteless and hard to stick to. And because fat tends to slow down digestion, many low-fat dieters fight hunger pangs all day or eat such an abundance of low-fat foods that their calorie intake is too great for weight loss. Dietary fat has critical roles in the body. This caloric density is a lifesaver when food is scarce and is important for anyone unable to consume large amounts of food. The elderly, the sick and others with very poor appetites benefit from high-fat foods.

Fats and oils collectively known as lipids contain mixtures of fatty acids. You may refer to olive oil as a monounsaturated fat.

Glycogen is the main source of fuel used by the muscles to enable you to undertake both aerobic and anaerobic exercise. If you train with low glycogen stores, you will feel constantly tired, training performance will be lower, and you will be more prone to injury and illness. Carefully planned nutrition must provide an energy balance and a nutrient balance. Like fuel for a car, the energy we need has to be blended. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans [1] recommends the following blend:.

For the purposes of the following examples and calculations I will use the following values: The approximate energy yield per gram is as follows [3]: Our 60kg athlete requires grams of Carbohydrates, 84 grams of Fat and grams of Protein. To obtain an estimate of your daily calorie requirements and the amount of Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat please enter your weight, hours of training and then select the Calculate button. The nature of the fat depends on the type of fatty acids that make up the triglycerides.

All fats contain both saturated and unsaturated fatty acids but are usually described as 'saturated' or 'unsaturated' according to the proportion of fatty acids present. Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature and tend to be animal fats.

Unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature and are usually vegetable fats - there are exceptions e. There are two types of carbohydrates - starchy complex carbohydrates and simple sugars. The simple sugars are found in confectionery, muesli bars, cakes and biscuits, cereals, puddings, soft drinks and juices and jam and honey but they also contain fat.

Starchy carbohydrates are found in potatoes, rice, bread, wholegrain cereals, semi skimmed milk, yogurt, fruit, vegetables, beans and pulses. Both types effectively replace muscle glycogen. The starchy carbohydrates are the ones that have all the vitamins and minerals in them as well as protein. They are also low in fat as long as you do not slap on loads of butter and fatty sauces. The starchy foods are much bulkieo so there can be a problem in actually eating that amount of food so supplementing with simple sugar alternatives is necessary.

Your digestive system converts the carbohydrates in food into glucose, a form of sugar carried in the blood and transported to cells for energy. The glucose, in turn, is broken down into carbon dioxide and water. Any glucose not used by the cells is converted into glycogen - another form of carbohydrate that is stored in the muscles and liver. However, the body's glycogen capacity is limited to about grams; once this maximum has been reached, any excess glucose is quickly converted into fat.

Base your main meal with the bulk on your plate filled with carbohydrates and small amounts of protein such as meat, poultry and fish. Lactose intolerance results when the mucosal cells of the small intestine fail to produce lactase that is essential for the digestion of lactose. Symptoms include diarrhoea, bloating, and abdominal cramps following consumption of milk or dairy products. To support a training session or competition athletes need to eat at an appropriate time so that all the food has been absorbed and their glycogen stores are fully replenished.

In order to replenish them the athlete needs to consider the speed at which carbohydrate is converted into blood glucose and transported to the muscles. The rapid replenishment of glycogen stores is important for the track athlete who has a number of races in a meeting. The rise in blood glucose levels is indicated by a food's Glycaemic Index GI - the faster and higher the blood glucose rises the higher the GI.

High GI foods take 1 to 2 hours to be absorbed and low GI foods can take 3 to 4 hours to be absorbed. Studies have shown that consuming high GI carbohydrates approximately 1grm per kg body within 2 hours after exercise speeds up the replenishment of glycogen stores and therefore speeds up recovery time. Glycogen stores will last for approximately 10 to 12 hours when at rest sleeping so this is why breakfast is essential. Eating meals or snacks a day, will help maximise glycogen stores and energy levels, minimise fat storage and stabilise blood glucose and insulin levels.

What you eat on a day-to-day basis is extremely important for training. Your diet will affect how fast and how well you progress, and how soon you reach competitive standard.

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