Crash Course In Nutrition

Thursday, 5 June 2014 - 6:25am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

I have been receiving a lot of e-mails lately about how to consume carbs, proteins and fats in the day and if either one of them should be consumed in excess or completely deleted from the diet. So in this article, I plan to give you a gist of the three major nutrients, their importance and food sources. Let's concentrate and begin the class-

Carbohydrates: is synonymous to energy. Our body is supplied with energy needed for getting us through the day and an intense workout. Without an adequate supply of carbohydrates, the body goes into carbohydrate deprivation. This is called a state of ketosis (meaning our body is using protein as energy). This is not a good state to be in for long because then the body uses protein from muscles to create energy. On the other hand, unfortunately, if too many carbohydrates are consumed, they convert into stored fat. The idea is to consume just enough carbohydrates to make it through our day and our workouts with sufficient energy. For better understanding of carbohydrates they are divided into two categories:
Simple carbs: These are instant energy giving carbs. They are absorbed very quickly into the body. e.g. Anything with sugar, honey and also fruit
Complex carbs: This is where you get long-term energy for the day. e.g. Oatmeal, whole-grains and vegetables

Proteins: are the building blocks of our muscles. Without sufficient amount of protein in our diet, our muscles will not have the raw material that they need to build up, or even hang on to what is already there. Different protein-rich foods are absorbed differently. For eg. Egg white protein is absorbed at 88 per cent on the other hand chicken is absorbed at 78 per cent. So in descending order- Whey protein (100 per cent) is the best source of protein followed by Milk (90 per cent), Egg whites (88 per cent), Fish (78 per cent), Chicken breast (78 per cent). Lastly, soy protein (74 per cent) and dals (70 per cent) are good sources of protein but not absorbed very well by the body. To maximise the protein in your diet include proteins with higher absorption rate. Similar to carbohydrates, excess protein is also stored as fats, which means high-protein low-carb diet is not an ideal diet to follow.

Fats: we normally think of fats as being bad. The fact is fats are essential to building muscle and carrying out various functions of the body and some fats like omega-3 fatty acids can help in fat loss. So don't hide from fats, just add variety of fats in your diet to get the best of all worlds. Olive oil, canola oil, groundnut oil, fish oil, rice-bran oil are all excellent oils and should be included in the diet. But again, remember, fried food is a complete no-no. Just because it is fried in olive oil doesn't make it better.

Bottomline, don't over-do or eliminate any nutrient. Eat nutrients in the desired quantity at the right time of the day. This might sound strange, but you have to eat more often to lose fat and gain muscle. If you have a long day, consume nothing less than six meals per day. Try to eat every two to three hours. Ration the carbs in your day. Load up on proteins and don't go fat-free.

Keep Learning! Stay Healthy!

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