What do Macro and Micronutrients Have to do with Weight Loss?

What do Macro and Micronutrients Have to do with Weight Loss?

Question:

So I wanted to know what are macro and micro nutrients and what do they have to do with weigh loss?

-Irving B. 

 

Answer:

Great question, Irving! Nutrients are the compounds in food that are vital to human life.  Macronutrients are nutrients that are needed in quantities greater than a gram – carbohydrate, protein, fat and water. Micronutrients are nutrients that we need in much smaller milligram or microgram quantities – vitamins and minerals.

micronutrients

It happens that the macronutrients, except water, contain carbon atoms and therefore can provide us energy through our cellular breakdown of these carbon bonds. This energy fuels our nervous system, organs and muscles and can contribute to body fat stores. Water takes part in metabolic reactions and helps cells’ efficiency.  The micronutrients have many functions, several of which are to support metabolism – the body’s chemical processes — including the ability to make energy from food. So to get the most from macronutrients, the proper amount of micronutrients are required.

Weight loss occurs when the body burns more calories than it uptakes into cells after digestion and absorption. Too much energy from carbohydrate, fat, and protein combined can lead to weight gain. Insufficient vitamins and minerals compound the problem, but are unlikely to cause weight gain directly.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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What’s the Best Way to Eat Healthy With Little Prep Work?

What’s the Best Way to Eat Healthy With Little Prep Work?

Question:

Do you recommend any meal replacement shakes, like invigor8?  How about any home meal delivery services?  I’m trying to reduce shopping time and prepping time since I work 11 hours a day and have an 11 month old.

-Angie A. 

 

Answer:

Meal replacement shakes work great as an emergency backup for on-the-go or last minute meal alternatives. Look for ones with 10-15 grams protein, 5-10 grams fat, and 20-30 grams carbohydrate (no more than half sugar) that provide at least 200 calories. Plan on a snack such as peanut butter and celery for more fiber and solids to keep you full longer.

shake

Home meal delivery services are a wonder for those that can afford them.  Most have a heart-healthy or calorie-controlled option. Perhaps a dinner-only delivery twice a week in the ‘family’ quantity will guarantee enough leftovers to reheat so that you’d only need to worry about weekend dinners. For quick lunches, a cold vegetable/pasta/protein dish from the service deli counter at your grocer might fit the bill. Consider, too, utilizing frozen skillet meals for two that can be enhanced with fresh ingredients on hand — only one pan to clean!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Do I Need to Change My Diet for the Next Phase of Physical Fitness?

Do I Need to Change My Diet for the Next Phase of Physical Fitness?

Question:

I have been a member since May of this year and love the facility in Florence, KY. Over all I have went from 319 to 235 with about 50 lbs lost at LA. I am basically at my goal weight and have begun to lift using free weights and the hoist and hammer equipment. I noticed an immediate change in muscle but then leveled off. I am researching my diet as it is still more geared to weight loss. I am 6’4” male, I have been on a high protein very low carb diet about 2000-2400 cals. I am looking to keep my caloric intake about the same but switch to about 150g of carbs a day 200-230g of protein and 60-70 grams of fat.

What is your opinion on this plan? Thanks for any help. I lift 3-4 days a week for an hour usually followed by 20-30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical or treadmill, I try to do 10 minute miles with a heart rate of 140-150 if that matters. I have also read I should lift and do light cardio and then rest for 48 hours at least on the weights and do more intense cardio on non lifting days.

-Robert M. 

Answer:

Hi Robert – Good to hear of your success at your local LA Fitness club! The plan you describe would provide about 30% carbohydrate, 39% protein at 1.9 gm/kg, and 31% fat in 2030 calories (at lowest protein and highest fat given). This seems a suitable transition from your previous diet.

I am having success losing weight, but could you review my strategy to see if it is my best option?

Since you are more active than you were 5 months ago, you may need more carbohydrates to retain your muscle mass, but can add these in the future. For maximum benefit from the carbs you are eating, shoot for 25 grams of fiber per day. The produce, grains and beans needed to provide that amount won’t leave room for refined sugars anyway. You don’t need more than 200 grams protein daily as that’s about the maximum which is utilized by muscle, while the remainder would be burned for fuel (which is carbohydrate’s job). The amount of fat is ideal for now but could be slightly increased if you end up needing more energy – as long as it’s mostly from unsaturated plant sources.

Keep up the good work!

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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Is There Such a Thing as Healthier Calories?

Is There Such a Thing as Healthier Calories?

 

Question:

Is a 450 cal healthy smoothie better for you than 450 cal of some other food item? I’m wondering if there is such a thing as healthier calories.

 

 

Answer:

The nutritional value of foods besides energy matters greatly! Beyond the calories derived from carbohydrate, protein and fat, nutrients critical to optimal health include fiber, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals. The best prevention for most major chronic diseases is to avoid saturated animal fats, refined flours and added processed sugars. Take all of these together and you have a spectrum of ‘healthfulness’ provided by foods.

Let’s take a simple apple for example:

A medium fresh apple with skin provides 4 gm fiber and 14% Daily Value of Vitamin C.*
Peel and cook that apple into unsweetened applesauce to get 2.6 gm fiber, 2% Daily Value of Vitamin C and less water content.*

Still healthier than the equivalent calories from straight candy, the applesauce isn’t “good” or “bad”. The comparison is relative. I hope you’d agree that a balanced meal of fish, mixed vegetables and brown rice is healthier than the equivalent calories from macaroni & cheese. So to answer your question about a healthy smoothie or other food item, it depends on the alternative.

You might be giving up the liquid bound in the smoothie if you opt for solid foods, but would perhaps gain more protein or fiber. Plus, what is ‘healthy’ for one person or use may not suit another. A smoothie made with mango, coconut milk, protein powder and wheat germ might be your ideal breakfast, but be troublesome for a person with diabetes who needs a slower digesting meal. A large omelet of egg whites, spinach, salsa and feta cheese could be healthy for someone trying to lose weight, but would be a poor choice for an athlete’s pre-race meal.

Whatever you choose, remember that variety is key. You’ll end up with more nutrients at the end of the week by alternating your meal components rather than eating the same thing every day.

 

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

*USDA Household Fact Sheets, 2012.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

 

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Should I Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day?

Should I Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day?

 

Question:

 

Hi Nutrition Folks,

I’ve heard the mantra about 8 glass of water/day. I have a hard time getting excited about drinking so much plain water every day. I mean, it’s just so plain. I love drinking unsweetened iced tea and can easily kick back 8 glasses of that every day or a mix of tea and water. I don’t notice any negative effects from the caffeine in the tea.

If I stick to iced tea am I really losing out on the health benefit?

-Todd W.

 

 

Answer:

You’re not losing out! A person’s fluid needs can be met in various ways and with little straight water. Beverages on average provide 95% free water, but thick smoothies or shakes have less – maybe 75% water.

As a habitual consumer of iced tea, you probably have a tolerance to the diuretic effects of caffeine. Plus, the volume is spread throughout the day so your beverage choice is fine. Remember your ice cubes are water, too!

To determine how much liquid you should be drinking, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.5 to get the recommended fluid ounces. Then divide by 8 (the # of fluid ounces per cup) to figure out how many cups that equates to.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

 

 

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

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