You ever hear the expression “you are what you eat?” A little while back, I asked the question: what exactly am I eating?
What I found was that food is a DEEP topic. There’s a lot to learn about food. Even more confusing – there’s a lot of OPINIONS about what you should eat that gets a little confusing after a while.
Through all this information, I found there are some fundamental facts about food that everybody agrees on. If you understand these fundamental facts, then you can start making intelligent decisions about what you eat to feel and look good.
The most important facts are about the three macronutrients that make up food: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
If you understand WHAT these three things are and WHY they’re important, then you have what you need to start making good food choices.
In this article, that’s exactly what you’re going to learn about!
Let’s start with the first one…
Carbs, or Carbohydrates
Carbs are your body’s primary source of energy. This is what your body burns up first.
Unfortunately, carbs have a bad reputation. Many diet plans out there lump all carbs together and recommend you don’t eat foods with many of them. While it’s true that some carbs are bad for you, many carbs are actually GREAT for you.
There are two types of carbs: complex carbs and simple carbs.
When people say that carbs are bad for you, they’re usually talking about simple carbs.
The most common simple carb is sugar. Simple carbs are everywhere. Today, most of the items in the grocery store are loaded with them.
The problem with simple carbs is that your body converts them to fat quickly. You have a small window to burn them off.
It’s no surprise then that as simple carbs have become more and more common in Western diets, so has obesity. That said, even with simple carbs it’s a little more complicated than “don’t eat any.”
Here are some examples of bad foods high in simple carbs:
High-fructose corn syrup
You don’t need me to tell you to eat as few of these as possible! There are, however, some good foods that are high in simple carbs, such as most fruits and vegetables.
Even though these foods have simple carbs, they are also nutrient dense, which means your body is getting lots of good things from them.
They also tend not to have as many calories as the ones of the “bad food” list. How many people do you know who are overweight because they eat too many fruits and vegetables?
Don’t buy into the hype: don’t fear carbs, just make sure you eat the right ones.
Fat is stored all over your body and is used by your body for energy when it doesn’t have any carbs to burn. Fats do other important things for you, such as storing heat.
Like carbohydrates, there are multiple types of fats. Some are better for you than others.
The best fats of all are essential fatty acids. These include the Omega-3’s found in fish oil.
Another group of “good fats” are unsaturated fats. Some foods that contain high levels of unsaturated fats include avocados, nuts and olive oil.
Getting enough essential fatty acids and unsaturated fats are cornerstones to any healthy diet.
There are two types of fats that aren’t as good for you: saturated fats and trans fats.
Saturated fats mostly come from animal sources of food. There are some negative health problems associated with saturated fats, since they increase the “bad cholesterol” that leads to heart problems.
Trans fats are found in many processed foods. Anything that contains “hydronated oil” likely contains them. They dramatically increase your “bad cholesterol” while reducing “good cholesterol” levels.
While dieticians disagree about how much saturated fat you should eat, everybody agrees that trans fats are no good!
Protein is essential to your body. It’s literally the building blocks of all your cells. Everything from your hair and nails to your muscles is created with the help of protein.
Some great sources of protein include…
Meat (Chicken, pork, beef, etc)
Whey protein powder
There really is no downside to protein. It won’t make you fat, and most diet plans recommend eating generous amounts of it.
Putting it All Together
Like I mentioned earlier, there’s a lot to learn about food. On this blog, I have a bunch of articles about some of my findings. That said, you will go a long ways towards feeling and looking good if you follow a simple formula:
Eat a good balance of healthy carbs, healthy fats and protein. At the same time, cut out as many unhealthy carbs and unhealthy fats as possible.
If you do that, you’ll love your results!