In our last nutrition conversation, we divided “Healthy Eating” into three steps. The first step, we went over in the last article, is to remove sugars, processed foods, and grains. This can be a difficult process, but I find that going into your pantry or refrigerator and throwing out all of these items is the best way to start to commit to a real lifestyle change. We discussed the details of removing these items in depth in our previous blog. Now that you’ve followed along and you’re free of sugars and processed foods for a few weeks, it’s time to keep progressing!
To rehash, my secrets to “Healthy Eating” are:
- Remove sugars, processed foods, and grains
- Track your macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) ratios
- Dial in those ratios and eat more or less for your performance or aesthetic needs
Now, we are going to move to STEP TWO: Track your macronutrient ratios.
Before we start to track macronutrient ratios, I want to be sure that everyone understands what the three macronutrients are. They are:
Carbohydrates are processed in your body by the fat storage hormone insulin (more on that in a future blog). Carbohydrates are turned into sugar within the body. Too much sugar leads to insulin resistance and insulin resistance leads to Diabetes. Depending on your goals, I will usually start your lifestyle change at approximately 25-30% carbohydrates. Less if you’re wanting to do KETO, and more if you’re an athlete who does a lot of endurance. This paradigm is changing and check back in on this blog in a few months for some more insight.
Proteins are broken down into Amino Acids in the body and are the building blocks of muscles. If you eat too little protein your body can be deprived of one or many of the 9 essential amino acids (10 essential in the young). (1) These 9 essential amino acids are involved in enzymatic processes and contribute to building muscle in the body. Most people under eat proteins and my normal starting goal is approximately 30% protein.
Fats are broken down into lipids in the body. Recently, due to the success of the Keto Diet, everyone is starting to finally realize that “FAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU FAT”. If you’re looking for some good recipes check out “Eat Fat, Get Thin” by Mark Hyman MD. Generally, I tell patients to fill in the rest of your caloric intake with fats. This usually will be between 35-45% fats.
Macronutrients are a complex topic and I could write a whole ebook on macronutrients alone. The major point that I want everyone to understand is that Fat does not make you fat! I will discuss what these percentages mean in a future blog. However, this is an awesome starting point. Plug these numbers into the app Myfitnesspal, track your food, and see how right-on or far-off you are. Then, spend the next week or two trying to hit these percentage ranges. THEN, we can discuss how to make you the finely-tuned machine we know you are when we dig into Step 3.
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PS: If you’re already dialed in on Macros remember this: Just because it fits your macros, doesn’t mean you should eat it! EAT REAL FOOD!