Nutrition: No-Go’s, Macros, and Micros
Nutrition can be overwhelming when you begin to get into tryin to understand it.This post will give you the simple and easy rules and recommendations to maximize your health and fitness goals. We’ll cover the empty calories and habits you should stay away from as well as the essential stuff that makes up the foods you need. We’ll address if they are good or bad and why, what you could do about it, and how you will change it.
To start, the No-Go’s.
A solid rule of thumb is to minimize alcohol, refined sugars, caffeine later in the day, and processed foods. Most of us know that these are not good for you, but we do not always know why. Together, consuming more than small amounts of the above can cause inflammation, a decrease in nutrient absorption, poor sleep, low energy levels, diabetes, heart disease, and lead to increases in fat mass that are concurrent with poor markers of health. Removing these or limiting their consumption, much like cessation of smoking, can instantly result in more vitality, more energy, and better health. We all want that. Aside from substance abuse in which case you should request outside help, there are some tricks that you can use from our behavioral change framework to adjust your dietary habits.
Limit these things from your common spaces and environments if you can
Define habits that both result in the consumption of these things and that do not serve your benefit. Plan to supplement other behaviors for them or end them.
Identify good and bad influences in your physical and virtual worlds. Make a plan and act to include more of the good and adjust or eliminate the bad.
Self control is limited in the day. Before buying groceries, make a list of foods that are healthy and only choose to spend money on that which serves you. Right before entering a store is when I personally take the most time to harden my resolve. If you can be strong here, absence of the bad stuff at home makes it much easier to choose healthier options. P.S. Eat before going to the store.
Next up, the Macros!
Macronutrients fall into three major categories; Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins. Carbohydrates are found in grains, vegetables, breads, pastas, fruits, cereal, starches, and sweets. Fats are found in seeds, nuts, avocados, oils, and are in many poultry, fishes, and meats. Proteins are found in meats, fishes, poultry, tofu, greek yogurt, cottage cheese and supplements. Sweet, now that we’ve covered that, in what quantities do we need them?
Carbs: 45-65% of complex carbs
Protein:15-35% 2.7g - 4g per pound of body weight + Full AA profile (animal products)
Fats: 20-35% of mostly monounsaturated or Polyunsaturated Fats
But what do we use each for..? While each plays an important role in metabolic functions, tissue repair, and brain health, the long short is below;
Carbs: Energy for moderate to high intensity exercise and brain function. (20% of Daily calorie intake is needed in carbs for brain function alone!)
Protein: Tissue repair and musculoskeletal maintenance or growth.
Fats: Nerve transduction, healthy cell membranes & signaling, and fuel for low level exercise.
Surprise, surprise, we need each of them for their own thing! So for the most part they are all good for our health so long as we get them in their whole food form and avoid their processed counterparts. Generally, a restrictive diet is more harmful than helpful to your overall health unless you really know what you’re doing (aka your name is followed by some letters containing a D.. RD, DO, MD…)
Lastly, the Micros!
The micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that everyone takes for granted but actually play a huge part in your overall health. Ranging from cofactors in collagen and protein synthesis to vital pairs that work in tandem, your body needs these guys to stay healthy. Most people can get enough of these by making a point of getting the recommended amount of fruit, veggies, and other whole foods in their diet each meal. Micros break down into two groups: Vitamins and Minerals.
Vitamins include: A, C, D, E, and K, and the B vitamins: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxal (B6), cobalamin (B12), biotin, and folate/folic acid.
Minerals include: Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, sulfur, cobalt, copper, fluoride, manganese, and selenium.
This is a lot, so feel free to check out this really awesome resource provided by health.gov regarding your micros and how to get them Easy Micronutrient Guidelines.
In summary, eat your whole foods, practice looking at and becoming familiar with macro and micro nutrients, and perhaps try tracking your intake of each with A Nutrition Tracker App. I use the free version of the top one here. I hope you all liked this quick bit and let us know what you do for yout nutrition habits on our website at connectedchs.com!