Nutrition Basics

Many of the terms and concepts in this introductory guide may seem rudimentary to the average reader, however, bridging the gap between what is on paper and what your body is telling you in response can be an extremely complicated task. The key to applying nutritional concepts lies in understanding the fundamentals and how they interact.

Before considering any particular aspects in detail it is important to understand what universal characteristics should exist in any diet regardless of the objective that one hopes to achieve. This is not solely a question of overall health concern, as more often than not, any diet that fails to adhere several critical guidelines will not ultimately result in whatever purpose it was intended to achieve, whether it be to gain, lose, maintain weight, etc.

That being said the first key to any diet is to ensure that it includes the minimum amount of all of the macro nutrients. For dieting with the purpose of reducing body fat especially, it is key that all of the macro nutrients be consumed in their proper proportions, that means always incorporating carbohydrate and fat sources into the daily intake regimen. Whatever the body detects as being in scarce supply over its recent intake, it begins to hoard in a sense. Thus the first step to shedding excess body fat is supplying the body with the minimal amount it needs to function optimally. Furthermore, carbohydrates are a priority when it comes to fueling the brain, which takes precedence over the muscles, one function of carbohydrates (CHO) is known as the protein sparing action. When CHO are in too short a supply, the body begins to convert amino acids to glucose in order to supply the brain with adequate energy, meaning whatever protein was initially destined for muscle tissue is now reduced by whatever amount is necessary to appease the lack of available glucose. Caloric intakes with fat consisting of less than 15 to 20% of calories consumed have also been shown to reduce testosterone, which, in the long run, can greatly increase the rate at which the body accumulates fat.

It is also vital to ensure that, for diets aimed at weight loss, the overall caloric intake is not so low as to create a deficit in the overall energy balance of more than 500 to 1000 kcal. Eating too little or too infrequently will quickly slow down the body’s metabolism. A slower metabolism will greatly reduce the rate at which the body sheds its stored fat.

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