What should I eat?

Posted: December 12, 2010 in Nutrition

As we have discussed in the previous post, we now know how many calories we should consume. But what types of foods should we get these required calories from? Today, we’re going to discuss about the different types of food, their sources and how much you should be getting from each types of food.

Your recommended dietary requirements would be something like the picture below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carbohydrates are your body’s primary source of fuel and can be either complex carbohydrates or simple carbohydrates. The difference is that complex carbohydrates have a lower glycemic index and and it provides a sustained release of energy, keeping you full longer as compared to simple carbohydrates which have a high glycemic index and provides you with quick sugar. We should always aim to consume complex carbohydrates throughout the day except immediately after exercise where your body would be depleted of blood sugar and you would need replenishment as soon as possible. Take note that 1 gram of carbohydrates would have 4kcal.

Good sources of carbohydrates would include: Brown rice, potatoes, pasta, wholemeal bread, oats, corn etc. A normal person should consume about 3-4g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight. You would need to consume more if you do endurance training for over an hour and less if you’re looking to lose weight.

 

Protein is essential to growth and repair of muscle and other body tissues. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and they are classified as either essential(taken in through food as your body cannot produce them) or non-essential (your body is able to produce them) amino acids. One gram of protein, like carbohydrates is also 4kcal.

Good sources of protein would include: Meat, poultry, dairy, eggs and plant sources (lentils, soya beans, nuts). A sedentary person should consume about 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, whereas endurance people need 1.2 to 1.4g and resistance training people need about 1.4 to 1.8g.

 

Fats are one source of energy and important in relation to fat soluble vitamins. We still need fat in our diet even though we’re losing weight because certain vitamins such as A, D, E and K are only fat-soluble; they can only dissolve when fat is present. There are about 9kcal in fat! Now you know why everyone is telling you to stay away from unhealthy fatty food? However, there are healthy fats too and we should consume these in our diet daily. Have a look at the table below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vitamins and minerals boost the immune system, support normal growth and development, and help cells and organs do their jobs. Click here to read more about the different vitamins and minerals, their functions and sources here!

Vitamins & Minerals Chart

 

Water is essential to normal body function as a vehicle for carrying other nutrients and because 60% to 65% of the human body is water. Water also helps in regulating body temperature, lubricating joints, eliminating waste products and digestion. You can estimate the amount of water to drink using the “8 X 8 Rule”. Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day. Too much water can lead to hyponatremia, also called water intoxication, which is generally the result of drinking excessive amounts of plain water which causes a low concentration of sodium in the blood.

 

How do you know when to drink water? Learn these common signs and symptoms of dehydration!

  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive thirst
  • Infrequent or dark urination
  • Muscle weakness or cramping
  • Headache
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Tiredness
  • Sunken eyes
  • Inability to produce tears

 

Now that we have all these information, how do we design them into a healthy balanced diet? That’s what the food pyramid is for!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Generally, supplementation is not necessarily unless you are unable to get your recommended dietary requirements. I will do a post on ergogenic nutritional aids on nutritional supplementation another time. Do stay tuned!

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