General guidelines on how to lose weight(2)

Limitation of fats in the diet

Operationalization

TDCR vs. TDCI

In the previous article [Powertec (136)], it was mentioned that your basis of subtracting the 500 calories should be from thetotal daily caloric intake(TDCI); however, in most instances, the computation of TDCI is so demanding and difficult for people, like you, who are on the go to keep up with the demands of daily living. In fact, you might need the help of a nutritionist-dietitian to compute for it.Thus, instead of TDCI, it is thetotal daily caloric requirement(TDCR)which is used.

Assuming that you opted to lose 1 pound per week, then you need to reduce your TDCR by 500 calories per day or 3,500 calories per week. Since you are moderately active, your TDCR should be 157 pounds x 15 giving a product of 2,355 calories; and since you are 38 years old, you need to subtract 100 from 2,355 giving a difference of 2,255[1]. If you have normal weight, the total number of calories that you need to take per day in order to maintain your normal weight is 2,255 calories; this is your TDCR; but since you are overweight, you need to reduce your TDCR by 500 calories per day [consult Powertec (136)for all the necessary tables].

Limitation of fat intake

To fast track your weight reduction, you limit your fat intake to 10% of the TDCR; hence, 10% of 2,255 is 225.5 or 226 calories which is equivalent to 25 grams of fat per day, derived from dividing 226 by 9. You need to take only 25 grams of fat per day which means limiting your fat intake to 10% of the TDCR. This is the smallest amount of fatintake allowable to you; if you take less than 10%, you will suffer from some vitamin deficiencies, especially linked to the fat-soluble vitamins [1].

If you used to take 80 grams of fat per day, but now you are taking only 25 grams per day, then you are reducing your food intake by 495 calories per day derived from multiplying 55 (the difference of 80 – 25) grams of fatby 9 calories. If you multiply 495 by 7 days, then you are losing approximately 3,500 calories per week which could reduce your weight by 1 pound per week. This means that even if you will not reduce your protein and carbohydrate intake, the reduction in fat intake is enough to effect reduction in your weight.

In the preceding example, you limited your fat intake to 10%. If you want to use 20% or 30%, then it is also acceptable; however, you now need to reduce also your protein and carbohydrate intake, enough to give a total of 500 calories of daily reduction in your TDCR.

When you have reached your ideal weight, you now shiftto consumingyour total TDCR which is 2,255 calories. You need to take foods whose total caloric contribution will be 2,255. You do not need to reduce it; otherwise, you become underweight.

Ways of reducing fat intake

  1. Avoid deep-fried and fried foods;
  2. Take fatty meats, lard, butter, cheese, cream, whole milk, egg yolk, vegetable oils, nuts, chocolates, avocados, olives, and margarine [1] in moderate amounts;
  3. When buying packed foods, read the “Nutrition Facts” and find out the saturated fat It should contain less than 10% of saturated fat; and
  4. When buying packed foods, select those not containing trans-fatty acid and hydrogenated fats.

Reference:

  1. Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore: Delmar Learning, 2007.

General guidelines on how to lose weight(1)

Limitation of fats in the diet

One of the ways of facilitating your weight reduction is to focus on the limitation of fat intake. This is very effective because one gram of fats could give you 9 calories of energy whereas protein and carbohydrates could only give you 4 calories per gram. Thus, if you limit your intake of fats, your losing calories—and subsequently your weight—would be faster than when you solely restrict your protein or carbohydrate intake.

Steps

Determine how many calories you need to maintain your ideal weight. You can look at your ideal body weight in the ensuing Table 1[1]USDA Acceptance Weights for Adults

*The higher weights in the ranges generally apply to men, who tend to have more muscle and bone than women; the lower weights more often apply to women [1].

To find your calorie needs, multiply your ideal weight by 15 if you are moderately active or by 20 if you are very active[1].

From that total, subtract the following according to your age:

                              Age 25-34, subtract 0

                             Age 35-44, subtract 100

                             Age 45-54, subtract 200

                             Age 55-64, subtract 300

                              Age 65+, subtract 400[1]

To find your fat-gram allowance, multiply your daily calories by the percentage of fat desired (10%, 20%, or 30%); then divide by 9 calories/g[1].

Operationalization

Suppose you are male, 38 years old, with height of 5’ 4”,  with present weight of 170 pounds, and moderately active. Firstly, you want to find out if you are overweight, underweight, or with normal weight. So you look at Table 1, and you find out that the maximum weight that you should have is 157 pounds. Offhand, you are overweight by 13 pounds. Therefore, the program that you will need is weight reduction.

Ideally, you need to lose 1-2 pounds per week; thus, if you prefer to lose 1 pound per week, then you will need 13 weeks or approximately three months to normalize your weight. If you want to accelerate your weight reduction, you can target to lose 2 pounds per week, and you need around 6-7 weeks or 1 ½ months.

Before proceeding with the discussion, you need to understand two technical terms: (1) total daily caloric intake (TDCI), and total daily caloric requirement (TDCR). TDCI refers to the actual number of calories that you take each day, while TDCR refers to the number of calories that you should take each day to maintain your ideal weight [Please consult Powertec (20)].

Since you are overweight, it is safe to assume that your TDCI has been very much higher than your TDCR. You have been taking more calories than what you need, or more than what you can burn. Thus, the excess calories are stored and deposited in your body making you heavier than your ideal weight. Therefore, in your weight reduction, the basis of subtracting the number of calories that you need to slice off each day should be from the TDCI.

 

Reference:

  1. Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore: Delmar Learning, 2007.

The relationship between saturated fatty acids and cholesterol

Medical importance of saturated fatty acids and cholesterol

In the development of diseases of the heart and blood vessels, otherwise known as cardiovascularproblems, two substances take the center stage. These are: (1) saturated fatty acids, and (2) cholesterol. Their relationship on how they could possiblywreak havoc toyourcardiovascular system will be examined in this article.

Unhealthy alliance between the saturated fatty acids and cholesterol

Biochemically, saturated fatty acids promote the formation of the so-called very lowdensity lipoproteins (VLDLs) which containrelatively more cholesterol, and they are used by the body at slower rate than the bigger lipoproteins [1]. Since theVLDLsare not immediately used by the body, the cholesterol molecules that they are carrying willbe depositedin the peripheral tissues instead, leading eventually to diseases in the heart and blood vessels.

The strongest link between saturated fatty acid and cholesterol has been established by some epidemiological studies wherein it was found out that high intake of saturated fatty acids led to increased level of the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol[2]which is considered as “bad” because it brings and deposits cholesterol in the peripheral tissues, such as the muscles and blood vessels—among other organs.

To avoid the unhealthy effects of saturated fatty acids, therefore, it is recommended that they should be substituted with unsaturated fatty acids in the diet[1]. In Powertec (63), concreteexamples of the different sources of each type of fatty acid were written; all you have to do is to take more of the foods containingunsaturated fatty acids and less of the saturated ones.

It has to be emphasized, however, that total and absolute removal of saturated fatty acids from the diet is not recommended because if that is resorted to, you may experience some forms of chronic diseases which could be due to lack of intake of saturated fatty acids. There are different kinds of saturated fatty acids, and until now there are still questions on how each one contributes to the maintenance of your health. It is unwise, therefore, that you completely remove them from your diet[2].

 

Recommended apportionment of your food groups

To meet your daily energy and nutritional requirements—and thus reducing your risk of developing chronic deficiency disorders—the National Academies Institute of Medicine recommends the following breakdown of apportioning the different food groups as sources of your energy: 45-65% of your calories must come from carbohydrates, 20-35% from fat, and 10-35% from protein[2].

To give you hint on how you could implement the aforestated recommendation, it is necessary and highly recommended that you undergo blood chemistry examination, complete blood count, and urinalysis. You may consult your medical doctor, and request him to prepare laboratory order for you. Submit this order to any certified medical laboratory so that the tests will be performed. Upon receiving the results, you go back to your medical doctor for his prescriptions and/or advise.

Nutritionally, however, if the level(s) of your cholesterol and/or triglycerides is/are high, then limit your fat intake to 20%, instead of the maximum recommended value of 35%. In addition, as much as possible, that 20% of fat should consist mainly of the unsaturated fats—which could be in the form of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats {Consult Powertec (63)}.

If the level(s) of your cholesterol and/or triglycerides are normal, your blood pressure is normal, and your liver enzymes (SGPT and SGOT) are normal, you can afford to take dietary fat at a maximum level of 35%.To help you prepare your diet, you can consult a certified nutritionist-dietitian. He/she can help you select the proper kind and quantity of foods that you need to take to meet the 20% or 35% of fat in your diet.

 

References:

  1. Murray, Robert K., Daryl K. Granner, Peter A. Mayes, and Victor W. Rodwell. Harper’s Biochemistry. Appleton and Lange: Stamford, Connecticut, 2000.
  2. Bruce J, Dillard, CJ. Saturated fats: what dietary intake? The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. September 2004;80(3):550-559. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/80/3/550.full#sec-17.

Nutritional guidelines to prevent heart diseases(Part 2)

Limit your intake of salt

As mentioned and discussed in Powertec 152, increased intake of salt during yourelderly life may increase your blood pressure (hypertension) because your kidneys could not eliminate as much salt as they used to be from your body. When you start to experienceit and it remains unchecked and untreated for several number of years, your heart enlarges, and you have what is called in medicine as cardiomegaly. When you have this medical condition and still you refuse to take the necessary medications or fail to take them, your heart will eventually fail, and you have the condition medically known as heart failure. You may die from it.

It is clear from the preceding section that too much intake of salt from your diet could lead to a heart disease; therefore, immediately after knowing that you cannot afford to take excess salt, you need to exert extra caution and effort in determining which food(s) to take and not to take.

Increase your intake of foods rich in fiber

Beneficial effects

Dietary fibers are substances present in foods which are not digested in your gastrointestinal tract (GIT). This means that they stay in, and pass through, your GIT without being digested and transformed into another substance. They remain as they are, without contributing any substance, vitamins, or minerals to your body. However, they have the following important functions:(1) they increase the bulk of your stool, leading to promotion of your bowel movement, and thus preventing constipation and colon cancer, (2) prevent the absorption of cholesterol, which is incriminated as one of the causes of diseases in your heart and blood vessels[1], and (3) lower the total food calories that you will take each daycausing you to lose weight and have lower blood glucose.

Since the fibers remain undigested in your GIT, they form greater portion of your stool; since your GIT is sensitive to the volume of your stool, the bulkier your stool is, the more your GIT will contract, and your stool will be finally squeezed out into the outside. Hence, if you have on and off constipation, taking adequate amount of fibers daily will help you overcome it. When you have regular bowel movement, the time contact between your stool and the inner lining of your intestine is shortened. With this, the chance that your food—which could be an unhealthy food—willinduce the start of cancer in your intestine will be lessened. Hence, you will be protected from it. In addition to your protection from constipation and cancer, fibers will help you avoid being overweight and having high blood glucose. These take place because more fibers in the diet will make you feel full from the food that you have been eating sooner than when there are no adequate fibers.As a result, you will eat less than when your diet is fiber-free.

Types of fibers

Although dietary fibers could not be digested, some of them could be dissolved in water, while others remain undissolved. Hence, there are two types of fibers: (1) water-soluble, and (2) water-insoluble. Examples of each type are listed in Table 1 below:

Food sources of dietary fibers                             (End of a series of 2)

Reference:

  1. Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore: Delmar Learning, 2007.

Nutritional guidelines to prevent heart diseases(Part 1)

Eat foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol

The quantity and quality of foods that you take play a great role in the development of medical problems, such as heart diseases, andit has been established in several researches that foods rich in fatsand cholesterol are notorious and paramount in doing so. However, only the saturated fatshave been found to contribute in the development of heart diseases—and not all forms of fats. The so-called unsaturated, consisting mainly of themonounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are not incriminated as possible causes of the said diseases; therefore, they can be taken in moderate amounts.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance (lipid) which is either produced in the body or taken from foods. Biochemically, they can be formed in your body from saturated fats that you have previously taken in. This is the reason why you are often advised to limit your intake of red meat, such as beef, pork, and lamb, because they contain a lot of saturated fats. Another way of having increased cholesterol in your body is taking a lot of foods rich in it, such as quail and chicken eggs, animal-derived cooking oil, cookies and butter, and many more.

To help you avoid taking foods rich in saturated fat and cholesterol, every time you buy a packed food from a supermarket or a store, always look at the “Nutrition Facts”, and find out the saturated fat and cholesterol contents of the food stuff. Select the foods that contain the least amount of saturated fat and cholesterol. Therefore, it is not advisable that you go shopping for foods with very limited time to do it! Allot adequate time for your shopping, especially if your intention is to buy foods for yourself and your family members.

Limit your intake of salt

As you grow older, the capacity of your kidneys to eliminate excess salt that you took in from your diet is decreased. For this reason, you will reach a certain age wherein you retain unwanted salt because your kidneys could not eliminate them. When the concentration of salt in your blood is higher than what is normally needed, water which is normally inside your different cells will now enter your blood vessels, and this movement of water will increase your so-called intravascular volume—the blood volume inside your blood vessels—leading to increase in your blood pressure. Thus, when you realize that you cannot afford to take in more salt than what you used to do, limit your salt intake.

There are many ways of avoiding taking in more salt that what you need. Firstly, avoid eating out as much as possible. The reason for this is that you cannot control the amount of salt that is mixed in your meals in the restaurants and other establishments which cater to serving foods to customers, in contrast to what is cooked at home wherein you could instruct your cook to limit the amount of salt admixed in it. Secondly, if you are eating out and find out that the food(s) you ordered is(are) very salty, discontinue taking it (them)! It seems that you would be wasting money when you do it! However, it is good for your health, and it will prevent you from having your blood pressure increased! Thirdly, whenever you buy packed food, always look at the “Nutrition Facts”, and look at the salt or “sodium” content. Select food(s) with the least amount of salt—less than 7% as much as possible. Expect, however, that when you are buying processed food(s), that the salt content is relatively high; thus, as much as possible, resort to buying fresh foods and cook them at home—if needed.

(To be continued)

Health benefits from eating broccoli

Nature of broccoli

Broccoli belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables. Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are some of its close relatives in the said family. Although it containslow calories, it is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, aside from having significant quantity of fiber. A cup of the vegetable provides vitamin C equivalent to an amount coming from an orange. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc [1].

Health benefits

Fighting cancer

A number of literature have claimed that taking broccoli willprevent the development of cancer. This effect is attributed to the substance sulforaphane which broccoli contains in high quantity. Based on research findings, sulforaphane could inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC) which has been incriminated to promote the progression of cancer cells.Hence, all foods containingsulforaphane could possibly impede the growth of cancer[2].

Based on epidemiological studies, apopulation who has been taking a lot of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, has low incidence of cancer. In addition, based on in-vitro and animal studies, it was found out that phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane, reduce the frequency, size, and number of tumors [3].

Improving bone health

If your intake of calcium is low, you will be prone to suffer from bone fractures. This happens because you at the same time have low intake of vitamin K which promotes the absorption, and reduces the urinary excretion, of calcium. If you take one cup of chopped broccoli, you receive 92 micrograms of vitamin K and 43 milligrams of calcium [2], thereby protecting you from bone fractures.

Looking younger

Frequent intake of broccoli makes you look younger. This is attributed to its high content of vitamin C which is a very essential antioxidant, fighting skin damages caused by too much exposure to the elements, such as the sunray andvarious air pollutants. When you take a lot of vitamin C, wrinkles on your face will be reduced and the overall skin texture will be improvedbecause vitamin C promotes the production of collagen which serves as the supporting structure of your skin. Unknown to most of you, broccoli provides 81 milligrams of vitamin C per one cup of the vegetable. Hence, good source of vitamin C is not solely confined to the citrus fruits[2].

Improving digestion and natural detoxification

Broccoli contains a lot of fibers necessary to provide bulk in your stool. With this condition, your bowel movement becomes regular, and constipation is prevented. Consequently, different kinds of toxins produced in your large intestine—and which could have been absorbed—are regularly eliminated, preventing the development of colon cancer which is attributed to thesetoxins[2].

Preventing the occurrences of chronic diseases

Increased fibers in the diet, brought about by increased intake of broccoli, will also lead to the prevention of coronary heart diseases, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases. It will also lower the levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. Since adequate intake of dietary fibers will ultimately lead to decrease in your total caloric intake, your weight may go down as well, helping you to reduce your weight [2].

Cooking broccoli

Cooking broccoli is not that hard and difficult. After cutting off the heads from the main branch, you wash them, and you can start cooking with water steam. In short, the vegetable is not mixed with, and submerged in, water; rather, it is the steam coming from the water that will cook it. However, if you want to improve the taste, you can cook the vegetable with a little water, then add shrimps, or meat, or sliced squid which was previously sautéed.

References:

  1. http://www.healthyeating.org/Healthy-Eating/All-Star-Foods/Vegetables/Article-Viewer/Article/91/health-benefits-of-broccoli.aspx
  2. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266765.php
  3. http://www.phytochemicals.info/phytochemicals/sulforaphane.php

Relationship between the intake of saturated fats and the development of cardiovascular problems

Nature of saturated fats

Saturated fats (SFs) are also known as saturated fatty acids. They are found in meats, coconut, palm oil, palm kernel oil, butter, egg yolks, milk, and milk products (except fat-free) [1] {Consult Powertec 63}.SFs come in different names, and examples are formic, acetic, propionic, butyric, valeric, caproic, caprylic (octanoic), capric (decanoic), lauric, myristic, palmitic, stearic, arachidic, behenic, and lignoceric[2]. Thus, if a food product that you are buying contains one or more of these, then you know that it contains SFs, and the best way to find out the SFsincorporatedin any grocery product is to look at the “Nutrition Facts” wherein the different substances contained in it are listed, including the quantity in terms of percent.

Relationship of saturated fats with cardiovascular diseases

It has been established from researches that if your diet is high in SFs, the level of your low-density lipoprotein(LDL) cholesterol is also high[3]. You should remember that LDL cholesterol is also known as the bad cholesterol, because it carries cholesterol away from yourliver and deposited them to far-away structures, such as the blood vessels. When LDL cholesterol is deposited in the internal lining of the blood vessels, atherosclerosis takes place, and the blood vessels become inelastic, leading to the development of hypertension.

Neutralizing the adverse effects of saturated fats

Substitution of saturated with polyunsaturated fats

One of the ways of counteracting the adverse health effects of SFsis to replace them with the polyunsaturated fats(PFs). If PFs are taken in instead of SFs, the LDL cholesterol decreases, and the ratio of total cholesterol with the high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which is known as the good cholesterol, decreases, too [3],           implying that either the total cholesterol decreases, or the HDL cholesterol increases, or both scenario happen. When the LDL cholesterol decreases and the HDL cholesterol increases, the combination is a perfect recipe for the prevention of heart and blood vessel diseases.

PFs are abundantly found in safflower oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, soybeans, tofu, and fish[1]{Consult Powertec 63}. In simpler terms, what you will do is to replace meat with fish, and replace animal-based cooking oil with the ones taken and derived from plants.

 

Avoidance of replacing saturated fats with carbohydrates

When carbohydrates are used to replace SFs, it was found out that the level of both the triglycerides (another form of fat) andLDL cholesterol are elevated in the blood while the HDL cholesterol decreases. These consequences are all the more pronounced if the carbohydratesare refined and added with sugar[3]. This is bad for the heart and the blood vessels. Thus, it should be avoided.

Dietary cholesterol should be avoided if significant saturated fats have been in the diet

Based on animal researches, it was determined that if the dietary cholesterol has been increased,   the tendency of saturated fat to increase the LDL cholesterol level in the blood is also increased. This means that working alone, saturated fats increase the LDL cholesterol level in the blood. If the intake of dietary cholesterol is increased, it will aggravate the LDL cholesterol-raising effect of saturated fats. Therefore, as much as possible, the simultaneous intake of significant amount of dietary cholesterol and saturated fats should be avoided [3].

Foods rich in cholesterol are the following: eggs, roast beef, leg lamb (lean), leg lamb (lean and fat), pork chop (lean), chicken leg (fried, meat and skin), crabmeat (canned), salmon (canned), shrimp (canned) [1]. You need to avoid taking these foods if you have been taking a lot of saturated fats.

References:

  1. Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore: Delmar Learning, 2007.
  2. Murray, Robert K., Daryl K. Granner, Peter A. Mayes, and Victor W. Rodwell. Harper’s Biochemistry. Appleton and Lange: Stamford, Connecticut, 2000.

Siri-Tarino, P., et. al. (2010). Saturated fatty acids and risk of coronary heart disease: modulation by replacement nutrients. http://www.ncibi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc2943062/

Dietary guidelines for gym enthusiasts and goers (Part 2)

Total daily caloric requirement for carbohydrates

In the previous article (Part 1 of this series), carbohydrates was specifically mentioned as the most immediate source of energy because it is easily burned and used by the cells of the human body. Thus, for active individuals and for those who do physical exercises, it was suggested that seventy percent (70%) of the total daily caloric requirement (TDCR) must be derived from carbohydrates.

General uses of carbohydrates in the human body

  • Source of energy

In Diagram 1, it is shown that before carbohydrates can be used by the cells of the human body, they must be converted first to glucose. When an individual takes in adequate amount of carbohydrates, the glucose that enters the cells are either used directly for energy or stored in the liver and skeletal muscles in the form of glycogen. In the future, when the same individual suddenly finds himself in need of extra energy, this glycogen will be broken down into glucose which can then be used as emergency source of energy. When too much carbohydrates is taken in, however, such that the excess amount cannot be used by, or stored in, the body, it will be converted to fats in the form of adipose tissue.

  • Antiketogenic effect

When an individual takes in inadequate amount of carbohydrates, the body will look for other sources of energy. The next in line as possible source of energy   after carbohydrates will be the fats. Fats will be processed, and energy will be derived from them! However, in emergency situation wherein fats are used as source of energy, their burning is not complete, and it will lead to the production of acids known as ketones. When ketones are produced in significant amount, they accumulate in the blood, and will lead to ketoacidosis—an emergency situation wherein the acid-base balance in the system of an individual is greatly disrupted causing the affected individual to become comatose! If adequate amount of carbohydrates could have been taken, this emergency situation could have been prevented, and this is called the antiketogenic effect of carbohydrates.

  • Protein-sparing action

When the intake of carbohydrates is very much restricted, such that even fats have been exhausted, the next in line as possible source of energy will be the proteins. Thus, proteins will be burned, and they will be used as source of energy! In fact, in severe lack of carbohydrates, such as in cases of malnutrition, the muscles, which are made up of proteins, will be used by the body as source of energy! Thus, children and adults whose muscles are used for this purpose are emaciated, and their muscles are significantly gone, known as muscle wasting. In situation wherein proteins are used as source of energy, building and repairing tissues which are their primary functions will be sidelined and neglected! If adequate amount of carbohydrates was taken in by this individual, proteinscould have been spared as source of energy! This is called the protein-sparing action of carbohydrates.

Recommendations

From the foregoing, it is clear that if you are actively engaged in physical exercises that you need to follow your TDCR for carbohydrates. If you take more than what you need, you will gain weight, and you will store fats in your body. If you take less than what you need, you will lose weight—probably less than your ideal body weight—and you might even end up suffering from ketoacidosis, especially if you are a diabetic.

 References:

Book:

  • Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore: Delmar Learning, 2007.

Magazine:

  • Castro, Jose S. “Practical insights on how to stay fit: Proper and adequate diet (3rd of a series)”. Lifelink March 2000: 30-31.

.

Dietary guidelines for gym enthusiasts and goers (Part 1)

Basic food groups

Carbohydrates

Dietary carbohydrates are the main sources of readily available energy for man. In the hierarchy of food utilization in the human system, they, if available, are preferentially used over the other food groups as sources of energy. They can be derived from rice, root crops, sweet corn and potatoes, noodles, breads, pasta and cereals.

Fats

With low intake of carbohydrates, the next food group which will serve as source of energy will be the fats. These can be derived from bacon, butter, fish oils, poultry fat, coconut, peanuts, pork fat, egg yolk, avocado, whole milk, and fatty meats.

Proteins

If we lack carbohydrates and fats, then proteins will be the last source of energy. Thus, in malnourished children who lack protein intake, the loss of muscles is very evident because they are consuming their own flesh which is largely made up of proteins. Aside from being the source of energy, proteins are needed in the repair of tissues, and they are derived from milk, poultry, meats, fish, eggs, cheese, soybeans, and legumes.

Interplay of the three food groups

In one of the previous articles of Powertec, total daily caloric requirement (TDCR) was mentioned, and it was defined as the amount of energy that a person needs to take in daily so that s/he could maintain his/her ideal body weight. If s/he takes more than the TDCR, s/he will gain weight; if s/he takes less than the TDCR, s/he will lose weight. Thus, the TDCR needs to be computed, and everyone is enjoined to strive taking in various kinds of food in a day whose total energy content is more or less equal to the TDCR.

For those who habitually go to the gym for physical exercises and for those with very active life, it is recommended that 70% of the TDCR must be taken from carbohydrates, while the remaining 30% will be taken from fats and proteins. A greater percentage is allotted to carbohydrates because as you physically exercise, you need to have readily available source of energy. Aside from physical exercises, in the morning, each one is in a hurry to meet his/her deadlines and various appointments; some need to move and drive fast to beat the traffic; more importantly, all need to replenish the energy that was burned while sleeping through the night—thus, the need to have immediate source of energy when the demand is high.

When the demand for energy is great, and the intake of carbohydrates is inadequate, a person will feel weak, lousy and dizzy because his/her muscles, brain, and blood cells—among other organs—are craving for glucose which is the simplest and smallest unit of carbohydrates. Grossly, when a person suddenly experiences hand tremors as s/he works and cannot withstand the cold air from the air conditioner, then s/he lacks carbohydrates which serve as fuel for muscle contraction and bodily warmth.

True enough, fats and proteins can serve as sources of energy; however, energy from these food groups is not readily available.Biochemically, if glucose will still be derived from fats and proteins, a very long and tedious processes will have to take place in our bodily systems. In short, it will take too much time and a number of biochemical reactions to take place before energy from fats and proteins can be used, unlike carbohydrates which can be immediately burned and used once they are needed. Since active people do a lot of bodily movements, such as walking, running and driving, they need to nourish themselves with enough carbohydrates before they hit the road.

Intake of fats is very much needed by people from cold countries because it provides more than twice the energy value of an equivalent weight of carbohydrates or proteins. They need it as rich source of bodily warmth. High intake of protein is needed by growing up children. For very active adults in tropical countries, a little of fats and proteins could be taken, but greater percentage should be derived from carbohydrates.

References:

Book:

  • Roth, Ruth A. Nutrition and Diet Therapy. Singapore: Delmar Learning, 2007.

Magazine:

  • Castro, Jose S. “Practical insights on how to stay fit: Proper and adequate diet (3rd of a series)”. LifelinkMarch 2000: 30-31.