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Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism, and excretion.
- Portion size is crucial in your lifestyle change.
- Drink water, cut out all fruit juices and fizzy drinks.
- Cut out ALL added sugars in your diet.
- It takes 21 days to create a new eating habit.
- Minimize ALL processed foods.
- Minimize alcohol and smoking
- Exercise, helps stimulate your mind and body and helps with a faster result.
- WHAT IS KETOSIS:
The term “keto” in the word ketosis comes from “ketones”, the name of small fuel molecules in the body. This is an alternative fuel for the body, produced from fat we eat, and used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply.These ketones are produced when you eat very few carbs (the main source of blood sugar) and only moderate amounts of protein (excess protein is converted to blood sugar).Under these circumstances, fat is converted in the liver to ketones that then enter the blood stream. They are then used as fuel by cells in the body, just like glucose. They can even be used by the brain. This is extra important, as the brain cannot be directly fuelled by fat, and it’s a very hungry organ.MAXIMIZING FAT BURNING:
One way to enter the state of ketosis is to eat a ketogenic diet. On our KetoFast Diet Plan, the bodies reserve of glucose starts to run out, your entire body switches its fuel supply on fat. The levels of the fat storing hormone insulin levels become very low, and fat burning increases dramatically. When the body produces enough ketones to measure significant levels in the blood (usually over 0.5 mm) it’s said to be in ketosis.
A strictly low-carb or “keto” diet, can be eaten for any amount of time. It also results in ketosis. It achieves many of the benefits of fasting – like weight loss – without having to fast. If you’re following a Low-carb or Keto diet then you may have experienced symptoms such as dehydration or constipation. Please remember, water makes up more than 50% of your body and is simply needed for survival. When we drastically restrict carbs, this leads to the body shedding water weight rapidly & is why dehydration is the most common side effect of a ketogenic diet that you will likely experience in the first few weeks.
This can result in an electrolyte deficiency and what many refer to as the “keto flu”. Luckily, there’s any easy fix!
- WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING (IF)?
Intermittent fasting (IF) is currently one of the world’s most popular health and fitness trends. People are using it to lose weight, improve their health and simplify their lifestyles. Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but rather when you should eat them. It’s not a diet in the conventional sense but more accurately described as an eating pattern. Common intermittent fasting methods involve daily 16-hour fasts.
Fasting has been a practice throughout human evolution. Ancient hunter-gatherers didn’t have supermarkets, refrigerators or food available year-round. Fasting from time to time is more natural than always eating 3–4 (or more) meals per day. By reducing your calorie intake, you will result in weight loss.INTERMITTENT FASTING METHODS:
There are several different ways of doing intermittent fasting — all of which involve splitting the day or week into eating and fasting periods. During the fasting periods, you eat either very little or nothing at all.Here are the two most popular methods recommended by most:
- The 16/8 method: Also called the Leangains protocol, it involves skipping breakfast and restricting your daily eating period to 8 hours, such as 13:00–21:00. Then you fast for 16 hours in between.
- The 18/6 method: 18:6 involves fasting for 18 hours out of the day, leaving you with a six-hour eating window. This could mean eating lunch at 12:30, a snack at 15:00, then finishing dinner by 18:30. This is a much more rigid form of intermittent fasting, and definitely best saved for experienced fasters who’ve tried other methods. This plan might be right for you if your weight loss has stalled doing 16:8 or if you tend to overeat with a longer eating window.
We at Fit Food 4U recommend: Start with a 12-hour fasting window, gradually work your way up to 14 hours, then 16 hours. Drink black coffee, tea, water, and green tea to fill you up during your fasting window, and be sure to get at least seven hours of sleep a night to prevent cravings caused by fatigue. (Don’t fear as you sleep half of the hours away!)
WHAT IS BANTING:
The Banting Diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, named after its founder William Banting. The idea behind this diet is that when eating a diet with lower cards and higher fat makes your body shifts from burning carbohydrates for energy to burning fat. The diet is extremely effective for a number of reasons especially for people who are carbohydrate intolerant.
THE 5 MOST COMMON BENEFITS OF THE BANTING DIET:
- Weight loss
- Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes
- Disappearance of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Normalized blood pressure
- Vastly improved sleep
10 GOLDEN RULES OF BANTING
- Remember: This is not a HIGH PROTEIN DIET. It’s a high fat, medium protein, low carb way of eating.
- Choose real foods that look like what they are, and cook them from scratch.
- Fat is not the enemy. Enjoy it!
- Eat only when you are hungry.
- Don’t eat when you’re not hungry. You won’t die if you occasionally skip a meal you don’t feel like eating.
- Stop snacking.
- No added sugar.
- No grains of any kind.
- No or very little fruit.
- Embrace eggs. They’re healthy, satisfying and very good for you.
BANTING DIET VS PALEO DIET
Similarities between the Banting & Paleo Diet, both diets are evolved around the same LCHF principle, they both promote the idea that a high intake of fat and protein is much healthier than your standard way of life and that organic food is much healthier than todays processed foods. All natural food such as animal fats, chicken, nuts and seeds, vegetables and natural oils are looked on favourably in this diet.
These diets primarily exclude foods such as sugars, starch or other processed foods.
WHAT IS PALEO:
The Paleo diet is the healthiest way you can eat because it is the ONLY nutritional approach that works with your genetics to help you stay lean, strong and energetic! Research in biology, biochemistry, Ophthalmology, Dermatology and many other disciplines indicate it is our modern diet, full of refined foods, trans fats and sugar, that is at the root of degenerative diseases such as obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility.
MAINTAINING A HEALTHY PALEO LIFESTYLE:
Ideally one should eat a wide variety of proteins from as many animal sources as possible. One need not and should not avoid fatty cuts of meat, particularly if consuming pastured sources. An often overlooked piece of the paleo diet in popular culture is an over-reliance on standard cuts of meat, at the expense of organ meats, bone broth and other collagen sources. If weight-loss is a goal, protein makes you feel satisfied between meals.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:
Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that have been shown to decrease the likelihood of developing a number of degenerative diseases including cancer, diabetes and neurological decline.
- THE IMPORTANCE OF INSULIN:
Insulin is a hormone made in your pancreas, a gland located behind your stomach. It allows your body to use glucose for energy. Glucose is a type of sugar found in many carbohydrates.After a meal or snack, the digestive tract breaks down carbohydrates and changes them into glucose. Glucose is then absorbed into your bloodstream through the lining in your small intestine. Once glucose is in your bloodstream, insulin causes cells throughout your body to absorb the sugar and use it for energy.Insulin also helps balance your blood glucose levels. When there’s too much glucose in your bloodstream, insulin signals your body to store the excess in your liver. The stored glucose isn’t released until your blood glucose levels decrease, such as between meals or when your body is stressed or needs an extra boost of energy.THE ROLE OF INSULIN IN THE BODY:
It may be easier to understand the importance of insulin therapy if you understand how insulin normally works in the body and what happens when you have diabetes.Regulate sugar in your bloodstream. The main job of insulin is to keep the level of glucose in the bloodstream within a normal range. After you eat, carbohydrates break down into glucose, a sugar that serves as a primary source of energy, and enters the bloodstream. Normally, the pancreas responds by producing insulin, which allows glucose to enter the tissues.
Storage of excess glucose for energy. After you eat — when insulin levels are high — excess glucose is stored in the liver in the form of glycogen. Between meals — when insulin levels are low — the liver releases glycogen into the bloodstream in the form of glucose. This keeps blood sugar levels within a narrow range.
If your pancreas secretes little or no insulin (type 1 diabetes), or your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or has become resistant to insulin’s action (type 2 diabetes), the level of glucose in your bloodstream increases because it’s unable to enter cells. Left untreated, high blood glucose can lead to complications such as blindness, nerve damage (neuropathy) and kidney damage.
HOW DOES INSULIN REGULATE GLUCOSE?
Glucose levels are tightly controlled by insulin so that the rate of glucose production by the liver is matched by the rate of use by the cells. In diabetes, hyperglycaemia means that the loss of glucose through the urine is also needed to achieve this balance. In healthy individuals, the role of insulin is to keep a steady blood glucose level by ensuring sufficient release from the liver. Low insulin levels cause the release of glucose while more insulin inhibits glucose production by telling the liver to store glucose as glycogen.
The importance of insulin for maintaining blood glucose levels is mainly due to this effect on liver storage and release. The uptake of glucose by cells can take place without insulin – the hormone simply accelerates this uptake through recruitment of glucose transporter molecules to the cell membrane.
If there is a lack of insulin in the liver, the liver releases glucose into the bloodstream faster than tissues can metabolize it.
WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE?
Blood pressure is the force that moves blood through our circulatory system.
It is an important force because oxygen and nutrients would not be pushed around our circulatory system to nourish tissues and organs without blood pressure.
Blood pressure is also vital because it delivers white blood cells and antibodies for immunity, and hormones such as insulin.
Just as important as providing oxygen and nutrients, the fresh blood that gets delivered is able to pick up the toxic waste products of metabolism, including the carbon dioxide we exhale with every breath, and the toxins we clear through our liver and kidneys. Blood itself carries a number of other properties, including its temperature. It also carries one of our defenses against tissue damage, the clotting platelets that prevent blood loss following injury.
Our circulation is similar to a highly sophisticated form of plumbing – blood has ‘flow’ and arteries are ‘pipes.’ A basic law of physics gives rise to our blood flow, and this law also applies in a garden hose pipe. Blood flows through our body because of a difference in pressure. Our blood pressure is highest at the start of its journey from our heart – when it enters the aorta – and it is lowest at the end of its journey along progressively smaller branches of arteries. That pressure difference is what causes blood to flow around our bodies.
Arteries affect blood pressure in a similar way to the physical properties of a garden hose pipe affecting water pressure. Constricting the pipe increases pressure at the point of constriction. Without the elastic nature of the artery walls, for example, the pressure of the blood would fall away more quickly as it is pumped from the heart. While the heart creates the maximum pressure, the properties of the arteries are just as important to maintaining it and allowing blood to flow throughout the body.
The condition of the arteries affects blood pressure and flow, and narrowing of the arteries can eventually block the supply altogether, leading to dangerous conditions including stroke and heart attack.
The device used to measure blood pressure is a sphygmomanometer, it consists of a rubber armband – the cuff that is inflated by hand or machine pump.
Once the cuff is inflated enough to stop the pulse, a reading is taken, either electronically or on an analogue dial.
The reading is expressed in terms of the pressure it takes to move mercury round a tube against gravity. This is the reason for pressure being measured using the unit millimetres of mercury, abbreviated to mmHg.
“Blood pressure is characterized by marked short-term fluctuations occurring within a 24-hour period (beat-to-beat, minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, and day-to-night changes) and also by long-term fluctuations occurring over more prolonged periods of time (days, weeks, months, seasons, and even years).”
WHAT IS LOW BLOOD PRESSURE?
Hypotension is the medical term for low blood pressure (less than 90/60).
A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first and higher of the two is a measure of systolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number measures diastolic pressure, or the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats.
Low blood pressure might seem desirable, and for some people, it causes no problems. However, for many people, abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension) can cause dizziness and fainting. In severe cases, low blood pressure can be life-threatening.
A blood pressure reading lower than 90 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number (diastolic) is generally considered low blood pressure.
The causes of low blood pressure can range from dehydration to serious medical or surgical disorders. It’s important to find out what’s causing your low blood pressure so that it can be treated.
SYMPTOMS OF LOW BLOOD PRESSURE:
For some people, low blood pressure signals an underlying problem, especially when it drops suddenly or is accompanied by signs and symptoms such as:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Fainting (syncope)
- Blurred vision
- Lack of concentration
WHAT IS HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE?
You probably have high blood pressure (hypertension) if your blood pressure readings are consistently 140 over 90, or higher, over a number of weeks.
You may also have high blood pressure if just one of the numbers is higher than it should be over a number of weeks.
If you have high blood pressure, this higher pressure puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this extra strain increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.
High blood pressure can also cause heart and kidney disease, and is closely linked to some forms of dementia.
SYMPTOMS OF HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE:
High blood pressure usually has no signs or symptoms, so the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have yours measured. However, a single high reading does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. Many things can affect your blood pressure through the day, so your doctor will take a number of blood pressure readings to see that it stays high over time.
Occasionally people with very high blood pressure say they experience headaches, but it is best to visit your GP if you are concerned about symptoms.
WHAT IS DIABETES:
There are two main types of diabetes, known as “Type 1 Diabetes” and “Type 2 Diabetes”. These two conditions are generally considered to be 2 different and separate conditions, so it is important to understand the differences between the two. Some old names for Type 1 Diabetes include: “Juvenile Diabetes”, “Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus” and “IDDM”. These old names should not be used, as they are no longer considered correct.
IMPORTANT STUFF TO KNOW:
In our bodies, an organ known as the pancreas produces insulin, which is a very important hormone. Insulin is vital because it enables the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. We need insulin to survive. In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks the insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas. This usually happens in younger people, but it can happen at any age. When this happens, the pancreas no longer produces insulin.
TYPE 1 DIABETES
Once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy. Different factors, including genetics and some viruses, may contribute to type 1 diabetes. Although type 1 diabetes usually appears during childhood or adolescence, it can develop in adults. Despite active research, type 1 diabetes has no cure. Treatment focuses on managing blood sugar levels with insulin, diet and lifestyle to prevent complications.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Type 2 diabetes, your body still breaks down carbohydrate from your food and drink and turns it into glucose. The pancreas responds to this by releasing insulin. But because this insulin can’t work properly, blood glucose levels keep rising. So more insulin is released. For some people with Type 2 diabetes this can eventually tire the pancreas out, meaning their body makes less and less insulin. This causes even higher blood glucose levels.
THE ROLE OF INSULIN:
Once a significant number of islet cells are destroyed, you’ll produce little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone that comes from a gland situated behind and below the stomach (pancreas).
- The pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream.
- Insulin circulates, allowing sugar to enter your cells.
- Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream.
- As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.
THE ROLE OF GLUCOSE:
Glucose — a sugar — is a main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues.
- Glucose comes from two major sources: food and your liver.
- Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin.
- Your liver stores glucose as glycogen.
- When your glucose levels are low, such as when you haven’t eaten in a while, the liver breaks down the stored glycogen into glucose to keep your glucose levels within a normal range.
In type 1 diabetes, there’s no insulin to let glucose into the cells, so sugar builds up in your bloodstream. This can cause life-threatening complications.
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. It can be beneficial when, for example, your knee sustains a blow and tissues need care and protection. However, sometimes, inflammation can persist longer than necessary, causing more harm than benefit.
Inflammation is a defence mechanism in the body. The immune system recognizes damaged cells, irritants, and pathogens, and it begins the healing process.
When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it. The signs and symptoms of inflammation can be uncomfortable but are a show that the body is trying to heal itself.
FAST FACTS ON INFLAMMATION:
- Inflammation is the body’s attempt at self-protection to remove harmful stimuli and begin the healing process.
- Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response.
- Infections, wounds, and any damage to tissue would not be able to heal without an inflammatory response.
- Chronic inflammation can eventually cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis.
When a person is born, certain defences in the immune system are naturally present in the body. This is known as innate immunity. It is different from adaptive immunity, which we develop after an infection or vaccination when the body “learns” to fight a specific infectious agent. Innate immunity is generally nonspecific, while adaptive immunity is specific to a particular pathogen. Inflammation is one example of an innate immune response.
SYMPTOMS OF INFLAMMATION VARY DEPENDING ON WHETHER THE REACTION IS ACUTE OR CHRONIC:
The effects of acute inflammation can be summed up by the acronym PRISH. They include:
- Pain: The inflamed area is likely to be painful, especially during and after touching. Chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released, making the area more sensitive.
- Redness: This occurs because the capillaries in the area are filled with more blood than usual.
- Immobility: There may be some loss of function in the region of the inflammation.
- Swelling: This is caused by a build-up of fluid.
- Heat: More blood flows to the affected area, and this makes it feel warm to the touch.
Inflammation is caused by a number of physical reactions triggered by the immune system in response to a physical injury or an infection. Inflammation does not necessarily mean that there is an infection, but an infection can cause inflammation.
Three main processes occur before and during acute inflammation:
- The small branches of arteries enlarge when supplying blood to the damaged region, resulting in increased blood flow.
- Capillaries become easier for fluids and proteins to infiltrate, meaning that they can move between blood and cells.
- The body releases neutrophils. A neutrophil is a type of white blood cell filled with tiny sacs that contain enzymes and digest microorganisms.
A person will notice inflammation symptoms after these steps take place.
IS INFLAMMATION PAINFUL?
When people have inflammation, it often hurts. People will feel pain, stiffness, discomfort, distress, and even agony, depending on the severity of the inflammation. The type of pain varies. It can be described as constant and steady, throbbing and pulsating, stabbing, or pinching. Inflammation primarily causes pain because the swelling pushes against the sensitive nerve endings. This sends pain signals to the brain. Other biochemical processes also occur during inflammation. They affect how nerves behave, and this can enhance pain.
HERBS FOR INFLAMMATION:
- Harpagophytum procumbens: Also known as devil’s claw, wood spider, or grapple plant, this herb comes from South Africa and is related to sesame plants. Some research has shown it may have anti-inflammatory properties.
- Hyssop: This is mixed with other herbs, such as licorice, for the treatment of some lung conditions, including inflammation. The essential oils of hyssop can lead to life-threatening convulsions in laboratory animals. Caution is advised.
- Ginger: This has been used for hundreds of years to treat dyspepsia, constipation, colic, and other gastrointestinal problems, as well as rheumatoid arthritis pain. Ginger may be purchased online in supplement form.
- Turmeric: Current research is looking into the possible beneficial effects of turmeric in treating arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and some other inflammatory conditions. Curcumin, a substance found in turmeric, is being invested for the treatment of several illnesses and disorders, including inflammation. Supplements with turmeric and curcumin are available.
WHAT FOODS TO EAT:
Many people, especially when overweight; inactive; following a poor diet; and stressed, together with a genetic predisposition for inflammatory conditions can have inflammation in their bodies that builds up over time when the immune system tries unsuccessfully to repair cells and rid itself of harmful toxins. The right foods can however help reduce the amount of inflammation in the body and improve overall health.
- Boost consumption of fruits and vegetables: Fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which can help protect against inflammation. Try to eat 2–3 fruits per day and include vegetables and salads for lunch and supper. Choose fruits and vegetables that are deep green, orange, yellow, and purple, as these have the greatest nutritional value.
- Avoid hydrogenated and trans fats: These are found in fast foods and deep fried foods such as spring rolls, “Vetkoek”, French fries (“slap chips”), samosas and baked goods such as biscuits and salty crackers. The process of hydrogenation causes the formation of Trans fatty acids. Trans fats increase the levels of LDLs (bad cholesterol) while lowering levels of HDLs (good cholesterol) in the body. They have also been found to promote obesity, and insulin resistance.
- Avoid adding sugar and high sugary foods: such as honey, jam, sweets, chocolates, and sugar-based cold drinks and fruit juices. Sugar causes high blood glucose and consequently high insulin levels, which can aggravate weight gain. The abdominal fat cells release inflammatory substances that aggravate inflammation.
- Consume more unsaturated fats/oils: Try to include small amounts of unsaturated fats in your meals. Unsaturated fats include monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive and canola oil, avocado pear, peanuts, cashew nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (e.g. sunflower seed oil, soy bean oil, sunflower seeds, soft margarine, sesame seeds, flax seeds, most salad dressings and fish oils). These fats can help reduce inflammation as well as your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Reduce the intake of protein from animal sources, especially red and processed meats and opt for plant-based sources of protein, including beans, lentils, chickpeas and soy beans.
- Go for whole grain carbohydrate foods: These are a valuable source of fibre and nutrients. High fibre, low GI carbohydrates help to control blood glucose levels, improve energy levels and increase satiety. Optimal blood glucose control and consequent lower insulin response is important to reduce inflammatory processes in the body.
- DETERMINING YOUR BODY TYPE:
Perhaps it was immediately obvious which body group you fell into. But, if it wasn’t think about how you react to food and exercise.
- METABOLISM – Do you gain weight quickly if you eat the wrong foods or after going on a lazy holiday? If you lose this weight rapidly after a change in diet or some exercise, you are probably a mesomorph. If you struggle to lose these extra pounds, then you exhibit endomorphic features. If you don’t put on any weight, you most likely are an ectomorph.
- EATING HABITS – Compare your eating habits with your appearance. If you consume a large amount of calories and are still thin, you are probably an ectomorph. If you eat a small number of calories and still appear thin and healthy you are probably a mesomorph. If you consume few calories and still appears heavy you are probably an endomorph.
- SIZE OF JOINTS/ BONES – To determine whether you are small, medium or larger boned/ jointed, encircle your wrist with your thumb and middle finger. If your middle finger overlaps your thumb, then you are small boned/ jointed (ectomorph). If your middle finger and thumb just touch, you have medium sized bones/ joints (mesomorph). If your finger and thumb do not touch then you are larger boned/ jointed (endomorph).
- THINK BACK – To help determine your body type, think back to your adolescence, a time before age (metabolism slows as you get older, making you more prone to weight gain) and lifestyle transformed your body into what it is today.
- BODY TYPE CALCULATOR – Use this body type calculator to help you determine your body type.
- PICTURES – Look at some images of the various body types here and see if you identify with any of the body types.
ONE LAST THING … Everyone has the potential to develop a great shape – regardless of his or her dominant body type. Losing inches, especially off your problem areas, can be accomplished through proper exercise and eating habits. If you are a large-framed person, though you will never be willowy, you can be slender and fit, wear a size 8 with room to spare and look super sexy in a bikini. However, it is futile for a person with strong mesomorph or endomorph characteristics to aim to be willowy like an ectomorph, this will only lead to disappointment and ill health. Even if this target thinness were reached, it probably would not look good, could be difficult in the extreme to maintain and would continue to have adverse effects on the body.
Do the right cardiovascular exercise for your body type to improve your body and get the results you want? Also, ectomorph workouts, mesomorph and endomorphs need to train differently when it comes to resistance training.
Typically, an ectomorph will have a small build and a linear physique which can be described as resembling a rectangle. Their frame is ‘delicate’ and they have little fat or muscle.
Key features of an ectomorph:
- Small chest
- Long limbs
- Narrow hips
- Finds it difficult to gain fat and muscle
- Low body fat
Ectomorphs are often referred to as your ‘hard gainers’, this group of people struggle to gain muscle and have a fast metabolism, meaning they are less likely to gain fat as well. These are the people who seem to eat and eat and never gain any weight. Ectomorphs’ fast metabolism also requires a higher carbohydrate intake than other body types, as they burn energy quickly.
Endurance sports and events are where the ectomorph will dominate as this body type is better at thermoregulation. Typically, their body type means they make the perfect runner: light and agile. If you are an ectomorph but running isn’t for you, the ectomorph’s light frame is also well suited to other aerobic activities such as gymnastics due to their lower body weight.
In order to support this lighter frame, ectomorphs will require hypertrophy (muscle building) training. Lifting weights will help to increase their bone density and enhance the strength of their naturally weaker build, which is more susceptible to injury. Female ectomorphs may use hypertrophy training to build curves on their naturally slight frame whilst male ectomorphs will require hypertrophy training if they want to gain size.
Mesomorphs are thought to have the body most aspire for. They typically have a medium-sized frame and boast a high percentage of natural lean muscle. Male mesomorphs are often described as having a ‘V’ shape; broad shoulders which taper into a small, lean waist.
Key features of a mesomorph:
- Naturally muscular
- Medium/low body fat, evenly stored throughout the body
- Females: defined hourglass figure
- Males: large shoulders and a small waistline
Mesomorphs are generally regarded as your ‘athletic’ body type. These people find it easy to gain muscle and burn fat. Mesomorphs can afford a moderate level of carbohydrates to fuel their training and should keep their protein intake high to maintain lean muscle mass.
Their proportionate and muscular physique enables them to gain strength easily and makes them perfect athletes for sports which require strength and power such as weightlifting, bodybuilding, or triathlon.
The best type of training for the mesomorph is interval training as it stimulates the body and keeps you on your toes. Short, sharp bursts of high-intensity activity will work best to keep the mesomorph’s lean physique looking good.
Endomorphs have the greatest tendency towards ‘roundness’. These are the people often described as ‘big boned’. The ‘easy gainers’, mesomorphs gain and hold weight easily.
Key features of an endomorph:
- Larger, round body shape
- Shorter arms and legs
- Higher body fat percentage
- Wide hips and wide shoulders
- Puts on fat and muscle easily but struggles to lose weight
Endomorphs have the hardest job when it comes to maintaining low body fat and good fitness. Their slower metabolism means they gain fat easily but find it hard to shift. Endomorphs need to watch their carbohydrate intake and ensure they expend the calories they eat.
Endomorphs are best suited for strength and power sports such as powerlifting, strongman, and sumo wrestling. Their large size, short limbs, and easy ability to pack on muscle will give them an advantage in these types of activities. They will struggle with endurance sports like running due to their heavier weight and denser bones.
It’s important for endomorphs to maintain cardio training to keep a lower level of body fat. Endomorphs who are happy to pack on size will enjoy lifting heavy weights with a low rep range, 4-6. They will enjoy typical powerlifting and strongman moves such as deadlifts, squats, and farmer’s walks. If you think you are an endomorph but want to slim down, you will see the best results by doing high intensity interval training and eating a low carb, high fat diet.
The ectomorph is easy to distinguish – he is often below the average weight for their height and with a skinny appearance. Ectomorph tends to have a high metabolism and is complaining of relentless eating with no weight gain.
- Skinny appearance
- Low body fat
- Narrow frame (“pencil frame”)
- Narrow hips and clavicles
- Small joints (wrist/ankles)
- Thin build
- Stringy muscle bellies
- Long limbs
- Small chest and buttocks
- Fast metabolism
- Can eat whatever they want
- Get full easily
- Difficulty building muscle
- Difficulty gaining weight
Ectomorph can easily lose fat but also can hardly gain muscle. The very special diet is needed to maintain or to gain weight.
ECTOMORPH DIETING TIPS:
- Eat at least 6 – 7 meals a day, break calories up into several small meals if impossible to stomach big meals
- Eat at least 50-60% carbohydrates compare to total daily calories amount
- Eat high density foods such as almonds, avocado, peanut butter, nuts
- Eat junk foods you enjoy, even unhealthy (in moderation)
- Use high calories weight gainers to add calories, with milk if well digested
ECTOMORPH TRAINING TIPS:
- Heavy train weights, use sets of 5-10 repetitions
- Take long rest breaks (because of high weights used)
- Do compound lifts (squat, dead lift, bench press, rows, pull-ups, chin-ups, military press and overhead press) to solicit as much muscle groups as possible.
- Do not do cardio (or short high intensity sessions only).
- Bruce Lee is a perfect example of an ectomorph body type.
The endomorph body type is the complete opposite of an ectomorph. He is larger in appearance, owning a heavier fat accumulation and little muscle definition. It is hard for him to drop the fat, even using several hard diets, workout programs and lot of cardio, but putting on muscle tissue is a game.
- Is a block
- Thick rib cage
- Wide/thicker joints
- Hips as wide (or wider) than clavicles
- Short limbs
- Large amount of fat accumulation
- Large skeleton
- Low muscle definition due to adipose tissue
- Often fatigue easily
- Insatiable appetite – eat large meals or several smaller sized meals
- Need to try many diets and workouts to find the best
- Workouts to failure
- Don’t seem to drop weight easy
ENDOMORPHS DIETING TIPS:
- Need to portion meals appropriately – scale is mandatory
- Eat at max 20-30% carbohydrates compare to total daily calories amount
- Eat non processed foods and whole grains
- Eat tons of vegetables to be full
- Drink plenty of water
- Long diet plan is the only working
- Divide the daily caloric intake into 5-6 meals
- To lose fat, take in 200-500 calories less than the maintained caloric intake
ENDOMORPHS TRAINING TIPS:
- Train using sets with 15 and more repetitions
- Take 30-45 second for rest periods between sets
- Do as much cardio as possible! After workout as well as at morning on empty stomach
- Do also compound lifts (squat, dead lift, bench press, rows, pull-ups, chin-ups, military press and overhead press) at every workout to burn more calories
- Jennifer Lopez is the perfect example of endomorph body type.
The mesomorph is someone between the ectomorph and the endomorph and as such, displays qualities from both. He seems to put on muscle just by looking at weights, and he is maintaining a lean physique despite a high calories amount. He has a larger bone structure then the endomorph does, but a low body fat percentage as the ectomorph one. The perfect body type that everybody wants to have.
- Wide clavicles – as well as shoulders
- Symmetrical build
- Narrow waist
- Thinner joints
- Long and round muscle bellies
- Small waist
- Low body fat
- Large musculature
- Seems to put on muscle easily
- Seems to burn fat easily
- Eats in moderation
MESOMORPH DIETING TIPS:
- Eat at max 40-50% carbohydrates compare to total daily calories amount
- Portion meals carefully, using scale to be precise: the perfect body type needs perfect nutrition to progress
- Break meals into 5-6 small meals throughout the day
- Eat enough calories and protein contain to maintain muscle mass
MESOMORPH TRAINING TIPS:
- Mix heavyweight and moderate weight sessions
- Train using 8-12 repetition reps
- 30 seconds up to 1 min rest periods between sets
- Enough cardio to stay lean, short periods (20-30 minutes after workout is a good value)
- Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone are perfect examples of mesomorph body type.
WHAT IS A PROTEIN?
Proteins are large molecules that our cells need to function properly. They consist of amino acids. The structure and function of our bodies depend on proteins. Our muscles, skin, bones, and other parts of the human body contain significant amounts of protein, including enzymes, hormones, and antibodies.
Proteins also work as neurotransmitters. Haemoglobin, a carrier of oxygen in the blood, is a protein. Protein molecules are essential for the functioning of every cell in the body. The body synthesizes some proteins foods we eat. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that form the basis of all life. The human body consists of around 100 trillion cells. Each cell has thousands of different proteins. The proteins are like tiny machines inside the cell.
TYPES OF PROTEIN:
- Complete proteins: These foods contain all the essential amino acids. They mostly occur in animal foods, such as meat, dairy, and eggs.
- Incomplete proteins: These foods contain at least one essential amino acid, so there is a lack of balance in the proteins. Plant foods, such as peas, beans, and grains mostly contain incomplete protein.
- Complementary proteins: These refer to two or more foods containing incomplete proteins that people can combine to supply complete protein. Examples of complementary proteins are rice and beans or bread with peanut butter.
WHAT DO PROTEINS DO?
Proteins play a role in nearly every biological process, and their functions vary widely. The main functions of proteins in the body are to build, strengthen and repair or replace tissue.
- Structural, like collagen
- Hormonal, like insulin
- Carriers haemoglobin
- Enzymes such as amylase
PROTEIN AND WEIGHT LOSS:
Some diets recommend eating more protein in order to lose weight.
Adding protein to an existing diet is unlikely to lead to weight loss but replacing fat and sugar with protein will help. Replacing high-fibre foods — such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains with protein foods could have a negative effect. Everyone should consider their overall consumption and dietary habits when making this kind of change.
- A varied and healthful diet will provide enough protein for most people.
- Increasing protein intake does not necessarily mean eating more steak. There are other choices that can help you ensure a healthful protein intake.
Here are some suggestions for us:
- Eat a variety of protein foods, fish, meat, soy, beans, tofu, nuts and seeds.
- Choose low-fat meat, poultry, and dairy products, and trim the fat from the meat. Opt for smaller portions and avoid processed meats, as they have added sodium.
- Use cooking methods that do not add extra fat, such as grilling.
- Check the ingredients as they can also be high in sugar.
- Opt for healthier versions of your usual favourites such as, whole wheat rather than white bread and unsweetened peanut butter.
- Try out some of the plant-based proteins, such as beans, lentils, and soy products.
- Choose nutrient-rich foods that provide other benefits, such as fibre.
SOURCES OF PROTEIN:
Rice and beans together provide a complete protein. Protein is one of the essential nutrients, or macronutrients, in the human diet, but not all the protein we eat convert into proteins in our body. When people eat food that contain amino acids, they make it possible for the body to create, or synthesize proteins. If we do not consume amino acids, we will not synthesize enough proteins for our bodies to function correctly.
All food proteins contain some of each amino acid, but in different proportions. Gelatine is special in that it contains a high proportion of some amino acids.
The nine essential acids that the human body does not synthesize are: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine.
Food that contain these essential are called complete proteins. Complete proteins mainly come from animal sources, such as milk, meat, and eggs. Soy and quinoa are vegetable sources of complete protein. Combining red beans and lentils with wholegrain rice or peanut butter with whole wheat bread also provides complete protein.
The body does not need all the essential amino acids in every meal you consuming, as it can utilize amino acids from recent meals to form complete proteins. If you have enough protein throughout your day, there will be no risk of a deficiency in your body.
WHAT ARE FATS?
Fats have a variety of different terms:
- Oils – any fat that exists in liquid form at room temperature. Oils are also any substances that do not mix with water and have a greasy feel.
- Animal fats – butter, lard, cream, fat in (and on) meats.
- Vegetable fats – olive oil, peanut oil, seed oil and corn oil.
- Fats or fatty acids – this refers to all types of fat. However, fats are commonly referred to as those that are solid at room temperature.
- Lipids – all types of fats, regardless of whether they are liquid or solid.
Lipids are an important part of the diet of all humans and many types of animals. Fat is stored in the body for many reasons. Fat is a nutrient. It is crucial for normal body function, and without it, we could not live. Not only does fat supply us with energy, it also makes it possible for other nutrients to do their jobs.
Fats, which consist of a wide group of compounds, are usually soluble in organic solvents and insoluble in water.
TYPES OF FAT:
- Saturated fats – Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and are sometimes called solid fat. They are totally saturated, meaning that each molecule of fat is covered in hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats increase health risks if a person consumes too much over a long period of time.
A large intake of saturated fats may eventually raise cholesterol levels, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
- Unsaturated fats – Unsaturated fats, which include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are liquid at room temperature. They are mostly derived from plant oils and are classed as “good” fats.
- Monounsaturated fats – Monounsaturated fat molecules are not saturated with hydrogen atoms – each fat molecule has only the space for one hydrogen atom.
Monounsaturated fats may lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein – bad) cholesterol, and keep HDL (high-density lipoprotein – good) cholesterol at higher levels. But, unless saturated fat intake is reduced, cholesterol levels may remain unchanged.
- Polyunsaturated fats – In polyunsaturated fats, there are a number of spaces around each polyunsaturated fat molecule – they are not saturated with hydrogen atoms. Nutritionists say that polyunsaturated fats are good for our health, especially those from fish, known as omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids protect against heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol levels and possibly inflammation. Healthcare professionals say omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may also help reduce the symptoms experienced by people who suffer from arthritis, joint problems in general, and some skin diseases.
- Trans fats – Trans fats are synthetically made, they do not naturally occur. Tran’s fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. They are also known as partially hydrogenated oils. Tran’s fats are not essential for human life and they most certainly do not promote good health. Consuming Trans fats increases LDL cholesterol level and lowers levels of HDL cholesterol; this, in turn, raises the risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke about 3 times higher than other fats. They are also associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Tran’s fats have become popular because food companies find them easy to use and cheap to produce. They also last a long time and can give food a nice taste.
WHAT ARE CARBOHYDRATES?
Sources of carbohydrate include whole grains, fruit, and vegetables. Carbohydrates, also known as saccharides or carbs, are sugars or starches. They are a major food source and a key form of energy for most organisms. They consist of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms.
Two basic compounds make up carbohydrates:
- Aldehydes – These are double-bonded carbon and oxygen atoms, plus a hydrogen atom.
- Ketones – These are double-bonded carbon and oxygen atoms, plus two additional carbon atoms.
Carbs can combine together to form polymers, or chains.
These polymers can function as:
- Long-term food storage molecules.
- Protective membranes for organisms and cells.
- The main structural support for plants.
Most organic matter on earth is made up of carbohydrates. They are involved in many aspects of life. Carbohydrates or saccharides are biomolecules. The four major classes of biomolecules are carbohydrates, proteins, nucleotides, and lipids. Carbohydrates are the most abundant of the four.
It is commonly known as “carbs,” carbohydrates have several roles in living organisms, including energy transportation. They are also structural components of plants and insects. Carbohydrate derivatives are involved in reproduction, the immune system, the development of disease, and blood clotting.
TYPES OF CARBOHYDRATES:
There are various types of carbohydrate. They include monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.
- Monosaccharides – This is the smallest possible sugar unit. Examples include glucose, galactose, or fructose. Glucose is a major source of energy for a cell. “Blood sugar” means “glucose in the blood.”
In human nutrition these include galactose, most readily available in milk and dairy products as well as fructose, mostly in vegetables and fruit.
- Disaccharides – Disaccharides are two monosaccharide molecules bonded together, for example, lactose, maltose, and sucrose. Bonding one glucose molecule with a galactose molecule produces lactose. Lactose is commonly found in milk. Bonding one glucose molecule with a fructose molecule, produces a sucrose molecule. Sucrose is found in table sugar. It is often results from photosynthesis, when sunlight absorbed by chlorophyll reacts with other compounds in plants.
- Polysaccharides – Different polysaccharides act as food stores in plants and animals. They also play a structural role in the plant cell wall and the tough outer skeleton of insects. Polysaccharides are a chain of two or more monosaccharides. The chain reaction may be branched so that the molecule looks like a tree with branches and twigs and unbranched where the molecule is a straight line. Polysaccharide molecule chains may consist of hundreds or thousands of monosaccharides. Glycogen is a polysaccharide that humans and animals store in the liver and muscles. Starches are glucose polymers that are made up of amylose and amylopectin. Rich sources include potatoes, rice, and wheat. Starches are not water soluble. Humans and animals digest them using amylase enzymes. Cellulose is one of the main structural constituents of plants. Wood, paper, and cotton are mostly made of cellulose.
SIMPLE AND COMPLEX CARBS:
You may have heard about simple and complex carbohydrates. Monosaccharides and disaccharides are simple carbohydrates, and polysaccharides are complex.
- Simple carbohydrates are sugars. They consist of just one or two molecules. They provide a rapid source of energy, but the consumer soon feels hungry again. Examples include white bread, sugars, and candies.
- Complex carbohydrates consist of long chains of sugar molecules. Wholegrains and foods that still have their fibre in are complex carbs. They tend to fill you up for longer, and they are considered more healthful, as they contain more vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Examples include fruits, vegetables, pulses, and wholemeal pasta.
WHAT IS THE IIFYM DIET?
IIFYM, or “If It Fits Your Macros,” is a type of flexible dieting that helps people lose weight without feeling overly restricted. Rather than focusing on calories, IIFYM tracks macronutrients instead — namely protein, fat and carbohydrates. This allows for much more flexibility since all foods can be enjoyed as long as they fit into your macros for the day.
IIFYM is a new spin on dieting that focuses on macronutrients rather than calories.
Macronutrients, or macros, are the four types of food molecules the body can break down for energy.
Three types of macronutrients are tracked in IIFYM:
- Protein – which has 4 calories per gram.
- Carbohydrates – which have 4 calories per gram.
- Fat – which has 9 calories per gram.
Following the IIFYM diet is pretty simple, and only requires a few steps:
- Calculating your macros – Calculations are used to determine how many grams of protein, carbs and fat you need each day in order to meet your weight goals.
- Meeting your macros – Once you know your macros, you just need to stay within them each day. Food intake is tracked and adjusted as needed.
IIFYM is typically used for people who want to lose weight but can be modified for those who want to gain weight as well.
HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR MACROS:
The first step in getting started on the IIFYM diet is to calculate your macros.
The general process is:
- Calculate your basal metabolic rate – Standardized equations are used to determine how much energy your body uses at rest, based on age, sex, height and weight. This is known as your basal metabolic rate or BMR.
- Adjust for activity level – The BMR is multiplied by an activity factor to increase calories based on your activity level. This is known as your total daily energy expenditure or TDEE.
- Adjust based on weight goals – If you want to lose weight, reduce your calorie intake by 15–25%. If weight gain is the goal, increase calories by 5–15%.
- Determine your macros – Protein intake should be between 0.7–1.0 grams per pound of body weight. Fat intake should be between 0.25–0.4 grams per pound of body weight. All remaining calories are allotted for carbs.
For weight loss, the main idea is to reduce calories and increase protein to preserve lean muscle mass while losing body fat. After doing all the calculations, the final IIFYM plan should tell you how many calories and how many grams of protein, fat and carbohydrates to consume each day.
HOW TO MEET YOUR MACROS:
Once you know how many grams of each macronutrient you should consume every day, it’s critical to track your food intake to determine whether you meet your macros.
It’s also recommended to purchase a digital scale and weigh your food in grams, in order to get the most accurate macronutrient calculations. IIFYM diets tend to be higher in protein and fat and lower in carbohydrates. Therefore, it helps to understand which foods contain the highest amounts of each macronutrient.
FOODS HIGH IN PROTEIN:
- Animal meats, like beef, chicken, lamb, pork and turkey
- Dairy products, like cheese, milk, whey protein and yogurt
- Legumes, like beans, lentils, peanuts, peas and soy
- Seafood, like fish and shellfish
FOODS HIGH IN FATS:
- Egg yolks
- Fatty fish, like salmon, sardines and anchovies
- Full-fat dairy products, like cheese, cream, whole milk and yogurt
- Nuts and nut butters
- Oils from fruits, nuts and seeds
- Seeds, like chia and flax
FOODS HIGH IN CARBOHYDRATES:
- Breads, cereals, pastas and baked goods
- Legumes, like beans, lentils, peanuts, peas and soy
- Grains, like oats, wheat, barley, rye and rice
- Fruits, especially bananas, plantains, mangoes and apples
- Pseudo cereals, like amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa and wild rice
- Starchy vegetables, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash and corn
While tracking is important, there is no need to stress about hitting your macros exactly every single day. As long as you don’t go over each macronutrient by more than 5 grams, or under by more than 10 grams, you should still see results.
BENEFITS OF IIFYM:
Following the IIFYM diet has many benefits, especially over traditional dieting methods:
- It Can Be an Eye-Opening Experience – Since IIFYM focuses on macronutrients, rather than calories, it can be a great educational tool for people who are unfamiliar with the macronutrient composition of foods. It’s easy to see how learning to meet your macros can be an eye-opening experience for someone who has not tracked them before.
- It Helps You Achieve Your Weight Goals – Some evidence suggests that diets higher in protein, like IIFYM, can increase metabolism and help maintain weight loss longer. Regardless, research has consistently shown that reducing calories does lead to weight loss in the short term. Since the IIFYM diet reduces calories by 15–25% for people who want to lose weight, following the diet should result in weight loss. Food tracking has also been linked to successful weight loss, so the tracking component of IIFYM may also be beneficial.
For those who wish to gain weight on IIFYM, increasing calories and consuming higher amounts of protein should result in weight gain.
- There Are No Forbidden Foods – No foods are forbidden on IIFYM, as long as they fit into your macros. This can be a great way to teach balance and help people understand where the majority of their protein, fats and carbohydrates are coming from. Allowing all foods can also remove some of the pressure and guilt associated with other more restrictive dieting methods, making for a more enjoyable experience.
- It’s Flexible and Easier to Stick To – With IIFYM, it’s easy to plan your meals around your lifestyle without feeling limited. For example, if you know you’ll be dining out, you can look up nutrition information ahead of time and then adjust the rest of your meals for the day as needed. This flexibility can make IIFYM easier to stick to since you’re less likely to feel restricted. IIFYM works for all sorts of people, including those following special diets like vegan, vegetarian, paleo or gluten-free. Since there are no special restrictions, all types of cuisines and cooking styles fit into the IIFYM plan.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
IIFYM is a flexible dieting option for people who want to lose weight and build muscle mass without feeling overly restricted. It involves calculating how many grams of protein, fat and carbohydrates you need to eat each day, then tracking your food intake to make sure you meet these macros. However, IIFYM does not track micronutrients, and may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions or those who are at risk of an eating disorder. Some people find it difficult to keep weight off long term, and may benefit from working with a nutrition professional for more guidance and support. Since all foods can be enjoyed on IIFYM, many people find it less restrictive and easier to stick to than other diets. It can be a great option for those looking for flexibility and balance while achieving their weight loss goals.
WHAT IS A BALANCED LIFESTYLE AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Our lifestyle is the way we live. It is composed of a variety of elements and habits: what we eat, what we drink, our level of exercise, how well we sleep, how well we manage stress and adapt to stressful situations, our behaviour and how we interact with people, not forgetting our sense of belonging and purpose in life. It is also affected by how we think and how we see life in general, by our attitude and the choices we make when confronted with the vicissitudes of life.
A balanced lifestyle is the way in which we live and reflects that the different elements of our life are in the right amount and proportion. Adopting a balanced lifestyle is of primordial importance because it has immediate and long-term effects on our health and well-being. It is clearly shown that conditions such as heart diseases, stroke, cancer, diabetes, as well as many other chronic diseases may be preventable and even reversible by changing our diet and adopting new attitudes and lifestyle.
Adopting and maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is our own responsibility. By maintaining a balanced lifestyle, we are increasing our chances of living a significantly longer, better, and happier life.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A BALANCED LIFE:
Maintaining a balanced life is becoming increasingly more important for your personal health and well-being in a fast-paced, modern world. Sustaining a balanced diet, alongside personal fitness, can help improve and stabilise overall health and wellbeing. This post unravels some of the contradictions surrounding how to achieve a well-balanced lifestyle and provides some top tips for conquering a balanced lifestyle.
WHAT IS A BALANCED DIET?
A balanced diet is one that gives your body the nutrients it needs to function correctly. To get the proper nutrition from your diet, you should consume the majority of your daily calories in:
- Fresh fruits
- Fresh vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean proteins
WHAT DEFINES A BALANCED DIET?
A balanced diet should be one based on eating a variety of different foods, and eating foods that have not been processed. This means trying natural unprocessed foods. People should look to eat 5 portions or more of fruit and vegetables a day, to reduce the amount of processed food they eat, to ensure they drink at least 2 litres of water a day, to have a balance between the amount of carbs, fats and protein they consume, to eat oily fish weekly, to reduce the amount of table salt they have (below 6g) and to reduce the amount of sugar in their diet.
HOW TO ACHIEVE A BALANCED DIET:
At the core of a balanced diet are foods that are low in unnecessary fats and sugars and high in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. The following food groups are essential parts of a balanced diet.
Besides being a great source of nutrition, fruits make tasty snacks. Choose fruits that are in season in your area. They’re fresher and provide the most nutrients. Fruits are high in sugar. This sugar is natural, though, so fruit can still be a better choice for you than other foods with added sugar. If you’re watching your sugar intake or have a condition such as diabetes, you may want to opt for low-sugar fruits. Read on to learn about the 11 best low-sugar fruits, from citrus to peaches. People who are watching their carbohydrate intake may reach for fruits such as melons and avocadoes.
Vegetables are primary sources of essential vitamins and minerals. Dark, leafy greens generally contain the most nutrition and can be eaten at every meal. Eating a variety of vegetables will help you obtain the bountiful nutrients that all vegetables provide.
Examples of dark leafy greens include:
- green beans
- collard greens
- Swiss chard
Refined white flour has poor nutritional value because the hull of the grain, or outer shell, is removed during the refining process. The hull is where the majority of the grain’s nutrition lies. Whole grains, however, are prepared using the entire grain, including the hull. They provide much more nutrition. Try switching from white breads and pastas to whole-grain products.
Meats and beans are primary sources of protein, a nutrient that is essential for proper muscle and brain development. Lean, low-fat meats such as chicken, fish, and certain cuts of pork and beef are the best options. Removing the skin and trimming off any visible fat are easy ways to reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol in meats. The health and diet of the animal are important and influence the fatty acid profile of the meat, so grass-fed choices are ideal.
Nuts and beans are good sources of protein and contain many other health benefits, as well as fibre and other nutrients.
- sunflower seeds
Dairy products provide calcium, vitamin D, and other essential nutrients. However, they’re also major sources of fat, so it may be best to choose small portions of full-fat cheeses, and reduced-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. Plant-based milks, such as those made from flaxseed, almonds, or soy are typically fortified with calcium and other nutrients, making them excellent alternatives to dairy from cows.
Oils should be used sparingly. Opt for low-fat and low-sugar versions of products that contain oil, such as salad dressing and mayonnaise. Good oils, such as olive oil, can replace fattier vegetable oil in your diet. Avoid deep-fried foods because they contain many empty calories. Besides adding certain foods to your diet, you should also reduce your consumption of certain substances to maintain a balanced diet and healthy weight. These include:
- refined grains
- solid fats
- saturated fats
- trans fats