What Is Nutrition?

Organic_capsule

 

 What is Nutrition?

One of the major factors involved in achieving your fitness goal is the nutrition aspect.

Whether it be losing a few extra pounds and toning up for the beach or gaining weight for the football field.

Having the correct understanding of the key principles of nutrition will be the fastest way to achieving your goals.

So the best way to explain what is nutrition and how we can leverage these principles.

 

Let me begin by saying, anyone that is a beginner to the advanced lifter will benefit from these principles.

Nutrition being such a diverse topic can be separated into crucial components

. Which would have to include energy balance, Macro-nutrients and the total amount of calories/kilo-joules we need to consume.

 

Energy balance, being one of the three most important components. Involves the amount of food we consume in comparison to the amount of energy we expend.

 

Secondly, macro-nutrients. There are three macro-nutrients found in all foods.

One of them being carbohydrates, which is mainly used by our body as a fuel source. Fats, often seen in the bad light by our general public.

But it is important for hormone production and like carbohydrates used also as a fuel source during times of low activity.

Proteins, one of the most talked about macro-nutrient which aids in the recovery and repair process of damaged muscle fibres.

 

Thirdly coming full circle, we are going to address the overall picture to nutrition. Calories required to fuel our body and adhere to our goals.

 

Key Principle Number One, Energy Balance.


how many calories do i need - Energy balance scale

Energy balance can quite easily be explained through the most common term “calories in versus calories out”.

It is important for us to achieve an energy balance in order to maintain a healthy weight and body composition.

Energy balance is the relationship between the amount of energy consumed through our diet.

In comparison to the amount of energy expended through normal functioning of the human body, plus our daily activity levels.

 

Energy is found in our three macro-nutrients. Which is most often measured in calories or in certain parts of the world referred to as kilo-joules.

The conversation rate between the two measurements is as follows. 1Kcal (1000 calories) equals to 4.184 kilo-joules.

This being said our macro-nutrients aren’t equal in terms of the amount of energy they provide.

 

  • Fats produce per gram, 9 kilo calories (37 kilo joules).
  • Proteins and carbohydrates both produce 4 kilo calories per gram (17 kilo joules).
  • Alcohol produces 7 kilo calories per gram (29 kilo joules). 

In order to maintain a healthy energy balance. Simply, the amount of energy being consumed must match the amount of energy being expended. Energy intake is the comprised amount of energy being consumed through food. Energy output is our BMR (Basel metabolic rate) plus physical activity. If energy intake is greater than energy output quite simply weight gain will occur due to the unused energy being stored. If the opposite occurs, when energy output is greater than energy intake than weight loss will occur.

 

Key Principle Number Two, Macro-nutrients.


What are macro-nutrients?. Everything we consume can be classified into three categories.

In the following, we’ll walk through what each of these macro-nutrients is and what vital role do they play in the functioning of our system.

In addition to carbohydrates providing us with a fuel source.

It also prevents the body from using proteins as fuel, metabolism of fat, sweetening/flavouring our foods and providing us with fibre.

In essence, all carbohydrates are considered to be either sugars or starches, that are different in their chemical structure. The difference in chemical structure plays a very important role in how the body utilises carbohydrates.

 

Basic form of carbohydrates

The most basic form of carbohydrates is glucose.

This is the form in which the body utilises as energy. It can also be found in the blood as glucose and also in the muscles and liver in its storage form, know as glycogen.

When these stores become full, the excess carbohydrates are converted to lipids and stored around the body as fat. These store sizes are unfortunately unlimited!

 

Chemical Structure

The simplest way to understand the chemical structure in carbohydrates is the number of sugar molecules it contains.

  • Monosaccharide: A carbohydrate containing just one sugar molecule is known as a monosaccharide. The three monosaccharides are GlucoseFructose, and Galactose.
  • Disaccharides: If two monosaccharide’s form together becoming two sugar unit carbohydrates. They are known as Disaccharides. Which are sucroselactose, and maltose.
  • Polysaccharides: The final form we will come across is polysaccharides. Occurs when more than 2 monosaccharide’s form together. Most commonly found as starch and glycogen.

Simple and Complex Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates can also be categorised into either complex carbohydrates or simple carbohydrates.

 

  • Simple Carbohydrates: These are generally very fast absorbing and provides us with a short burst of energy. They’re primarily made up of monosaccharide’s and disaccharides and have a sweeter taste. These are commonly found in processed foods that contain sugar or are processed and also found in fruits.

 

  • Complex Carbohydrates: These are generally polysaccharides and are found in foods such as grains, bread’s, pasta and plant based foods.
  • Due to their complex structure, complex carbohydrates are a lot slower to digest. Providing us with a slow steady release of energy.

 

Proteins

One of the most talked about macro-nutrient in the fitness industry. But what exactly are proteins?. Proteins are composed of a combination of amino acids.

These amino acids are considered to be the building blocks of the bigger molecule, protein.

Amino acids are categorised into non-essential amino acids and essential amino acids.

 

  • Essential Amino Acids- These Must be consumed within the diet and a total of 8 are present.
  • Non-essential Amino Acids- These are produced within the body and a total of 12 are present.

 

What roles do proteins play in our body

Proteins often play a variety of roles within the body.

But most importantly help growth and repair of muscle tissue. In addition to this, proteins assist in hormone production, blood clotting, formation of internal organ structures and immune function.

In the absence of carbohydrates and fats in our system, proteins will be used as a fuel source.

 

How much protein should I be consuming

The recommended daily protein intake is dependent on the individual.

This number can be determined by a number of factors including the training status, body composition, and the recovery process.

 

 

  • For the general population. Females are recommended 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Males, on the other hand, are recommended 0.85 grams per kilogram of body weight.
  • Individuals whom participate in moderate intensity resistance training or aerobic based activities. Research has shown that a protein intake of 1.2 – 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight is recommended for this particular group.
  • If completing heavy resistance training, which involves a significant amount of muscle tissue damage. Then it is suggested a daily protein intake of 1.8 – 2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.

he recommended daily protein intake is dependent on the individual. This number can be determined by a number of factors including the training status, body composition, and the recovery process. (Referenced from Benardort 2012)

 

  • For the general population. Females are recommended 0.75 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Males, on the other hand, are recommended 0.85 grams per kilogram of body weight.
  • Individuals whom participate in moderate intensity resistance training or aerobic based activities. Research has shown that a protein intake of 1.2 – 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight is recommended for this particular group.
  • If completing heavy resistance training, which involves a significant amount of muscle tissue damage. Then it is suggested a daily protein intake of 1.8 – 2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight.

 

Where can I find proteins, besides on the shelf of supplement stores?

Proteins can be consumed through our diets from various sources. ‘Complete Proteins’ referred to a source of protein which contains all of the essential amino acids. They can be found in animal sources including beef, turkey, fish, chicken and dairy products. However, they can be also be found in plant based products. Such as legumes, seeds, and nuts. This is particularly important for all vegetarians. Other forms of proteins can be consumed through supplementation, including both whey and casein.

 

Fats

Fats, a component of our diet which is considered ‘bad’ by the general population. But fats are in fact an essential component in our diet and should make up about 25 – 30 percent of our daily calorific goals. They help with hormone production and will be used as a fuel source during times of low inactivity.

 

This being said fats can also be detrimental to our health if the wrong type of fats is being consumed.

Fats can be categorised as, saturated fats found in fatty cuts of meats, processed meats such as sausages, pastries, and pies. Monounsaturated fats, one of the healthy and essential fats found in olives, avocados, and nuts.

Polyunsaturated fats also known as ‘essential’ fatty acids which are your omega 3’s and omega 6’s.

Finally, the very overly consumed and bad fat is Trans fats. These fats are found when unsaturated fats are heated at very high temperatures and the chemical structure itself changes and converts to trans fats.

 

Saturated Fats

Intensive research has been shown that the consumption of saturated fats is associated with a rise in LDL Cholesterol. As a result, this can increase the likely hood of developing cardiovascular conditions. Despite this many trending diets will argue against this and encourage some consumption of saturated fats. Guidelines have in fact been realised to state that 10 percent of our fat intake can allow for saturated fats but should be very limited. Saturated fats are generally solid at room temperature and can be found in fatty cuts of meats, processed meats, pastries, pies, and cakes.

 

Monounsaturated Fats 

Monounsaturated fats is a group of fats that is derived from unsaturated fats. One of the healthy fats that should be consumed regularly. It is thought that monounsaturated fats have a positive effect on our cholesterol. Commonly monounsaturated fats are found in olives, avocados, and nuts including peanuts, cashews, almonds and walnuts.

 

Polyunsaturated Fats

Another source of fat that is considered to be good is the polyunsaturated fat. Like monounsaturated fats, this particular fat has a positive impact on our cholesterol levels, blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and some cancers. These fats are also classified as ‘essential’ fatty acids. Which include our omega 3’s and omega 6’s. These are very important for optimal health. Polyunsaturated fats are found in primarily fish and seafood (Omega 3) and found in oils including sunflower oil, vegetable oils and also in some nuts and avocados (Omega 6).

 

Trans Fats
The most detrimental type of fat which can cause us the most harm is trans fats. This type of fat occurs when unsaturated fats are heated at extremely high temperatures and as a result, their chemical structure is changed significantly. Intensive research has been shown that trans fats has an effect on raising cholesterol levels and the increased likelihood of developing heart disease. In some countries due to the amount of research been done, legislation’s have been brought in to control the amount of foods that contain trans fats to be sold. Most often overlooked but trans fats are commonly found in foods that are fried in oils and processed foods.

 

Key Principle Number Three, Calculating Calories.


In order for our bodies to function, we require energy. Energy is consumed through what we eat and drink. Each one of us requires a certain amount of energy just to survive. which is also known as our Basel metabolic rate, this does not include the amount of energy being utilised in our daily activities.

 

A set amount of calories is determined by our height, weight, age, gender, and daily activity levels. This figure will result in our maintenance calorie level. Meaning if I was to consume the maintenance calorie each day with the same amount of energy being expended, I will be weighing the same without my weight neither going up or down. In summary, if I was to eat over my maintenance calories I will be gaining weight and if i was eating below my maintenance calories I will be losing weight.

 

Factors to consider when calculating calories.

 

Basel metabolic rate (BMR): Basel metabolic rate is defined as the energy required at rest to maintain the functioning of all required bodily fluids. There are many factors that can impact our BMR. One of the primary influences is gender.

 

Gender: As a generalisation, males are more likely to have a higher BMR in comparison to females. The main reasoning is in the general population males are leaner than females. In summary, the larger the lean mass on an individual the higher the BMR.

 

Age: In addition to gender, age has an impact on our energy requirements as we move through adulthood. Gradually as we get older we see a declination in BMR, approximately 10 percent per decade. This directly links to changes in lean muscle mass, activity levels, and slowing down of other bodily influences.

 

Dietary Habits: Foods that contain caffeine can have an impact of speeding up our metabolic process. Resulting an increase in BMR. The consumption of cold foods can also have an impact as it requires our body to increase core body temperature thus an increase in energy being burned. The timing of food being consumed can also be considered. As the regular consumption of small meals will increase the rate of energy being utilised.

 

Formula to calculate BMR is as follows:

  • Males: 10 * (weight in kg) + 6.25 * (Height in cm) – 5 * (Age) + 5
  • Females: 10 * (weight in kg) + 6.25 * (Height in cm) – 5 * (Age) – 161

 

For example. A male weighing in at 75 kilograms (165 pounds), has a height of 170cm (5.5″) and is at the age of 20 years old. The following formula will be substituted.

 

  1. 10 * 75 (Weight in kg) + 6.25 * 170 (Height in cm) – 5 * 22(Age in years) + 5
  2. Equals approximately a BMR of 1,710.

 

Physical Activity levels

Factors such as how active we are throughout the day or the amount of workload we have. Has to be included in the total calories to be consumed. As these require us to burn energy.

 

To determine the overall calories which will need to be consumed. Each individual has various maintenance calorie calculations. This is dependent on their daily activity levels. To get an approximate maintenance calorie calculation everyone will either fall into these categories.

 

  • Sedentary (Little to no exercise) – Individuals who fall under this category should times their BMR by 1.2
  • Lightly active (Exercise/sports 1 to 3 times per week) – Individuals who fall under this category should times their BMR by 1.375
  • Moderately active (Exercise/sports 3 to 5 times per week) – Individuals who fall under this category should times their BMR by 1.55
  • Very active (Hard Exercise/sports 6 to 7 times per week) – Individuals who fall under this category should times their BMR by 1.725
  • Extra active (Very Hard Exercise/sports and demanding physical job) – Individuals who fall under this category should times their BMR by 1.9

 

In summary, the figure which will be determined our maintenance calorie level will be the result of our BMR times our daily activity levels. Once this figure has been calculated we can determine if you need to make adjustments to suit our goals. Generally, the best way to go about this is either subtracting 100 to 500 calories or adding 100 to 500 calories to our maintenance calculations. Respectively to lose weight and gain weight.

 

Every food can be categorised into three individual macronutrients. Carbohydrates found in vegetables, fruits and grains. which are considered to be either sugars or starches; Carbohydrates are the primary fuel source for our body and should make up about 50 to 60 percent in our daily calorific goals. Proteins, one of the most heard about macronutrient in the fitness industry is a very important component in our diet. Proteins help the repair and growth of torn muscle fibres and can also be used as a fuel source during the absence of carbohydrates and fats from our system. Finally the most badly generalised macronutrient, fats. Fats play a very key essential role in the production of hormones and should make up about 25 to 30 percent of our daily calorific goals. Fats can be categorised as either good fats monounsaturated and polyunsaturated which are found in nuts, avocados, olive oils and in ‘essential’ fatty acids omega 3’s and omega 6’s. On the other hand, we have bad fats which are our unsaturated fats found in fatty cuts of meat and processed meats. These fats can be to a certain degree harmful and should be consumed in very limited quantities. Unsaturated fats only become very detrimental once they are heated to extremely high temperatures and become Trans fats. Most often overlooked but are found in deep fried processed foods such as the humble fish and chips.

 

Looking at the bigger picture. One of the three most important key principles is our calorie intake. Our calorie intake is determined from person to person. The total amount of calories we need to consume can be calculated from our BMR (Basel Metabolic Rate) plus our daily activity levels. This figure will determine our maintenance calories. Once our maintenance calories are calculated we either subtract or add 100 – 500 calories in order to respectively lose weight or gain weight.

 

I hope this article on ‘what is nutrition’ has clarified a lot of misconceptions that are being heard and allowed us to grasp a basic understanding to nutrition. As always feel free to contact us and follow our social media channels for any further questions you may have. In addition to this, we are often posting new articles on trending topics and things that need to be clarified within the industry. So defiantly check back on our site from time to time to stay informed on the current trewas eating below my maintenance calories I will be losing weight.