Maintaining a balanced diet
Diets are all about how your body responds to the foods and drinks you consume, it’s as simple as that!
Everybody is different so you need to find what works for you.
Firstly, adjust your diet for any medical issues, allergies or ethical considerations, then start with the basics…
In order to give you the simple facts, we have taken this summary from our more extensive article Setting Your New Year Nutrition Goals.
For more on specific diets, check out our article The Most Popular Modern Diets Explained.
Dieting made simple:
- Your body needs energy for it’s daily processes… exercise, breathing, heart function, brain function, etc.
- Calories are simply a measure of energy.
- The average woman needs to eat about 2,000 calories per day to maintain her body weight.
- The average man needs 2,500 calories per day to maintain his body weight.
- You are not average! – Find out how many calories you can consume to maintain a healthy body and a healthy weight.
- Proteins (more precisely Amino Acids, which make up proteins) are the building blocks of muscle.
- Carbohydrates are generally an easily accessible source of energy (stored as blood sugar and muscle glycogen) – you use this source of energy first.
- Fats are generally a long-term source of energy – it takes longer to break down and utilise as energy.
- Carbohydrates consumed in excess (above what is needed in our blood, muscle, liver, etc.) are stored as fat.
- There are 4 calories in 1 gram of protein.
- There are also 4 calories in 1 gram of carbohydrate.
- There are 9 calories in 1 gram of fat.
- Your still need to consume vital vitamins and minerals to look after other areas of your body (skin, eyes, brain, bones, teeth, etc.).
So how can these facts help you with your nutrition goals?
Well… It depends on your goals…
- Use average calorie figures as a benchmark to start with (unless you know how many calories your body needs to maintain a healthy weight and size).
- In order to gain weight, you need to intake more calories than your body consumes in energy.
- In order to lose weight, you need to intake fewer calories than your body consumes in energy.
- You still need to consume proteins, carbohydrates and fats to maintain muscle and fuel your body.
- Certain types of fuel will be more beneficial in certain situations (carbohydrates for an immediate source of energy and fats for longer-lasting energy).
- You need to consume a variety of foods to ensure you are obtaining your daily recommended amount of vital vitamins and minerals.
The key message is this…