Eating Right

Eating Right
Let’s start with the basic question we all know. Why do we need to eat food? Of course, to have an adequate amount of energy to perform our daily activities. For good health, we require proteins fats and carbohydrates alternatively called macronutrients. The name suggests our body needs them in larger quantities. We should not cut out any of the macronutrients completely. Our body also needs micronutrients, the 14 vitamins that are either fat soluble and water soluble. These nutrients are substances that are not synthesised/produced in the body in sufficient amount and therefore must be supplied through food. 

The major part of our body is water. Water is an important part of our nourishment too. Consuming adequate water helps flush out the toxins produced by our body. It keeps our cells hydrated. We have a satiety center located in our brain. However, it cannot distinguish between hunger and thirst. So many times though we feel thirsty we wrongly interpret as hunger and tend to eat instead of drink water. 

If you are trying to lose weight you must know the amount of calories required and the energy produced by these macronutrients. It should be in this order: carbohydrates 60 percent Kcal, protein 20 percent Kcal and fat 20 percent Kcal. Energy produced by carbohydrates are four Kcal per gram, proteins four Kcal per gram and fat nine Kcal per gram.

Energy Consumed vs Energy

To lose weight it is important to expend what you are consuming and not let it settle down and form fat. Components of energy expenditure are:

  • Basal metabolic rate: It is the
  • Energy consumed by the body even when it is idle.
  • Energy cost of metabolising and storing food.
  •    The thermic effect of exercise.

Energy imbalance

Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder. It is defined as a condition where there is an excessive amount of body fat that accumulates due to an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. The immediate cause of obesity is an energy imbalance.

Do it right

Weight reduction can be achieved by reducing energy intake or by increasing energy expenditure or by a combination of the two. A clear program designed to provide 1000-1500 Kcal daily depending on the weight, age, and gender of the person wanting to lose weight is essential. To start a weight loss program we need to keep into the account the nutritional aspect too. Maximum calorie reduction cannot be more than 500 Kcal per week. A weekly weight loss of 0.5 to 1 kg should be the aim.

Break it up

Let us suppose if we are planning a diet chart for a middle-aged homemaker, 1000 calorie of food would be sufficient. The source of energy must come from all three macronutrients. A 1000 cal diet would contain 100 grams carbohydrate, 50 gm protein and 40 to 45 gm fat. This amount of fat is sufficient to provide with essential fatty acids for a middle-aged female. The diet should contain plenty of green leafy vegetables and fruits since they contain few calories and the bulk helps to fill the stomach and provide satiety.

Exercise is advised but not strenuous exercise. Regular daily exercise is much more valuable than episodic activity.

Courtesy goes to Dr. Shivanjani Barnwal MBBS, Registered Medical Practitioner.