With all the fad diets out there, there are so many food myths surrounding carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, which has caused confusion and stress about how to eat right. But are they true?
Eating healthy should never feel like a burden or a complicated process. It really is straight forward and once you know what is actually correct and what is not, it really is not a burden at all. It's just a few things to remember and will help you to get your nutrition on track.
Carbohydrates Make Me Fat.....
Just saying the words 'carbs' and 'diet' together can raise eyebrows. So many think that all carbohydrates are unhealthy and the cause of unwanted weight gain and muffin tops.
Yes, to an extent, carbs are not good for you and a reduction in processed carbs such as white pasta and white bread is essential for a healthy nutritious life style. Particularly in diabetics. But are all carbs bad?
Actually we need carbs!
Carbohydrates are a primary source of your energy day to day. And by cutting carbs completely it can leave you feeling drained and lethargic.
So what carbs can you eat? Did you know unprocessed or minimally processed foods are the best source of carbs? They promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals, fibre. In fact carbs such as these can help aid weight loss and reduce the risk of heart disease.
The top 5 Carbs
Fruits are nutrient rich with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, which also aids digestion. Also, high fibre foods keep you fuller for longer.
Vegetables, like fruits, are packed with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre.
100% Whole Wheat & Brown Rice. Non processed is a must if you are having carbs in your daily nutrition food intake and foods such as brown rice with your main meal is ideal.
Oats are great for breakfast as they are high in complex carbs and fibre. Oats are digested slowly and give you a steady supply of energy throughout the morning as well as keeping you fuller for longer.
Legumes/Pulses (beans, peas, nuts) are great because not only are they packed with healthy/complex carbs they are also a good source of protein.
So yes, processed carbs should really be avoided but you should not avoid carbs completely! The key thing is.... know your carbs and choose the right carbs.
Should I Only Eat Protein?
So many diets say that you should cut all carbs and only eat protein. Is that a good thing?
Well, no it's not!
Eating protein above daily requirements can actually have adverse effects! The body converts the excess protein or amino acids into ketones. Too much can actually make your liver go into overdrive! plus excess protein can cause swelling and even gout!
So how much protein should we have? Actually it depends on your current size and what you are trying to achieve. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for someone 18 years of age and older is 0.8 g of protein per kilogram body weight per day. This is a good average to base your daily allowance on. But if you are trying 'bulk up' increase this by approx 5-10% or if trying to lose weight decrease by 5%-10% but a visual way to determine how much you should have is that it should be about 25% of your main meal.
The best 5 protein sources are:
Eggs is one of the healthiest and most nutritious protein sources. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and healthy fats
nutrition info: 1 large egg contains 6 grams of protein, with 78 calories.
Almonds have fibre, vitamin E, manganese and magnesium as well as protein
nutrition info: 6 grams of protein per 1 ounce (28 g) serving, with 161 calories.
Chicken Breast tends to be the most popular
nutrition info: 1 roasted chicken breast without skin contains 53 grams of protein, with only 284 calories.
Oats are similar to nuts and have fibre, magnesium, manganese and vitamin B1 as well as protein
nutrition info: Half a cup of raw oats contains 13 grams of protein, with 303 calories.
Cottage Cheese also low in fat but a good fat to have in your diet has vitamin B12 and vitamin B2
protein content: 226 g of cottage cheese with 2% fat contains 27 grams of protein, with 194 calories
Other good sources of protein are broccoli and quinoa with 8 grams of protein and quinoa for a great snack option on the go. Pumpkin seeds are great with 5 grams of protein.
Eating Fat Will Make Me Fat
In fact it is essential for daily function to have fat in your daily nutritious diet. So fat should not be completely taken out of your daily diet. So why do we need fats in our diet?
Fats are needed in our diets to help aid growth development and cell function.
It helps transport essential vitamins such as Vitamins A,D,E and K which are needed for health skin, hair and much much more. It is also a source of energy.
So it's not a case of eating fats is bad for you, but cutting out the bad fats and ensuring you're eating good fats is important. Some examples of these would be:
Olive oil is a good oil for cooking and easily available. Olive oil also has a small amount of iron
coconut oil is also great alternative for cooking but not quite as easily available
Avocados are a great way to add oils into your diet and also contain vitamin c, vitamin b6
Oily fish, an example would be to consume fish such as mackerel, sardines and anchovies (to name a few) 1-2 times a week
Almonds as well as a good oil source, they have calcium, magnesium and vitamin c
So in summary, actually our bodies need all three. But the most important factor, is knowing what carbs, proteins and fats to have. Understand and educate yourself on what is the right foods and what is wrong foods and the rest is easy.