Wed, 10/18/2017 - 09:00
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One of the weight loss questions I get asked over and over is should I cut carbs, or eat fat free, or avoid red meat. People often worry they’re eating too many carbs or not enough protein to facilitate weight loss. With so many different diets out there touting the evils of one or more of these macronutrients, it’s easy to see why there’s so much confusion about what you should and shouldn’t be eating. Here’s the plain and simple truth: None of these macronutrients are “better” or “worse” than the others. In fact, your body needs all three to function at an optimal level. Here’s what you really need to know about the proper balance of protein, carbs, and fats.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I’m going to reiterate it for the sake of driving home the point: food is not created equal. There are good carbs and bad carbs. Good fats and bad fats. Good and bad sources of protein. For the most part, a food that falls into the “bad” column is when they are overly processed. Stripped of fiber and nutrients, then loaded with preservatives and chemicals. These bad foods eventually become so modified that they are deemed “frankenfoods”. And frankenfoods disrupt your body's metabolism, causing weight gain, as well as your immunity, energy, etc. Trash any foods with ingredients such as hydrogenated oils (trans fats), high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, and dairy products and meats raised with growth hormones or antibiotics.
The ideal scenario for avoiding blood sugar spikes and satiety is to combine all three macro nutrients in every meal. For example: You might have a 2 eggs scrambled with a slice of whole grain toast for breakfast. There’s fat in the yolk, protein in the egg whites, and complex carbs in the whole grains. Or for a snack you might have apple slices with almond butter on top. The apple has carbs, the almond butter has protein and fat.
Listen to your Body.
I really don’t specify what percentage of every meal should be protein, fat, and carbs. That often gets way too cumbersome for most people to track. I have found the aforementioned strategy of incorporating them into every meal works fine. However, if you want an extra edge with your energy levels and or you are feeling hungry all the time, tweaking your macronutrient ratios will help. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to your body’s signals. The rate at which people oxidize food (turn nutrients into fuel) varies from person to person. So if you’re a fast oxidizer (metabolize food quickly), you will want a higher ratio of fat and protein in your diet as those foods are lower on the glycemic index, which means they naturally take longer to convert into fuel. Conversely, some are slow oxidizers who turn their food into fuel at a slower than average rate. These individuals would likely feel sluggish on a diet with more fats and proteins. Instead, they will need foods that break down more quickly like lean proteins, grains, and fruits.
Overall, don’t overthink it. As I mentioned, each and every one of these macro’s are essential for good health when consumed in their most natural form and as long as you don’t overeat, you will not gain weight!