Saturday, February 18, 2012

Calories vs. Macronutrients

Do you count calories?

Throughout the many years of 'dieting' I developed an obsessive addiction where I would calculate and add up anything that entered my mouth (CalorieKing and I established a strong cyber friendship and became inseparable LOL). It didn't matter what source of food the calorie would come from, a calorie was a calorie. I could've eaten what I thought was healthy such as; muesli bars, types of cereals, packaged 'healthy' frozen meals, meal replacements, or the unhealthy chocolate bar, slice of cake, lollies, chips and etc.. So long as my calorie intake didn't exceed what I thought was the correct consumption amount, I predicted there to be a weight loss.

Did I have it wrong!

It is significant to understand how many calories your body requires to encourage a healthy weight loss (or even just to maintain a healthy lifestyle). However, if you don't distinguish the crucial relationship between macro-nutrients and calories your weight loss progress will not be 100% successful.

The main functions of macro-nutrients are to promote growth and development, regulate body functions and provide energy which are counted as calories. There are three broad classes of macro-nutrients which are: ProteinCarbohydrates and Fats (click the links to find a full description of each macro). Each of these macro's provide calories, however, the amount provided by each varies.
1gram of Carbohydrates = 4 calories
1gram of Protein = 4 calories
1g of Fat = 9 calories.

Now to explain it a little clearer how calories can be chosen, I've compared it with 2 different types of food:

530 calories of milk Chocolate (100g)                

Fats: 29.5g
Saturated Fats: 18g
Carbohydrate: 57g                   Benefits: Diabetes, cardiovascular
Sugar: 55.5                               disease, lethargy and fatigue,
Protein: 8g                                musculoskeletal disorder and other          
                                                  detrimental health risks.
                                                  (General to all unhealthy foods)                                        

530 calories of chicken breast (320g)                                                      

Fats: 11.4g                             Benefits: Vitamin B for energy, B6 for
Saturated Fats: 3.2g              Cardiovascular health, Niacin
Carbohydrate: 9.9g               which reduces the risk for cancer,
Sugar: 4.4g                            Protein and amino acids: the structure of      
Protein: 15.2g                        the human body - helps replenish, repair        
                                               and re-generate.

Our bodies cannot distinguish whether or not we are fuelling it with a chocolate bar or a piece of lean chicken. It can only receive it as nutrients broken down into fats, carbs, protein and other vitamins and minerals. As you can see above, although we can consume the same amount of calories, the type of food that is eaten to fuel the body will effect how the body will respond. The lean piece of chicken will help refuel our body and nourish any damaged tissue, skin, hair, tendon, ligaments and organs, allowing us to feel energised. On the other hand, the chocolate would only provide us with instant taste satisfaction, but, would not be able to administer the same high quality nutritional values and effects to sustain the human body as the chicken would. What is more, it would actually more than likely store as fat if not burned through vigorous exercise and set our bodies into apathy.

Can you see why it is necessary to realise fuel for the body is more than just counting simple calories?

Going back to the story of my calorie counting days....I can now apprehend and find the reasoning to why I constantly felt tired, stressed, lethargy, muscle atrophy, loss of hair, dry skin, depressed and tired..oh wait I already said that!

Don't get suckered into mindless calorie counting!! IT DOESN'T WORK AND YOU HAVE PROOF THROUGH ME. Assess the macro-nutrients that your body requires to function at its maximum capacity. If you are able to compose a balance, it'll only be a matter of time and hard training before weight loss occurs.


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