Terrine Pearsall

The Science Behind Losing Weight

Two things which you absolutely have to do when you are trying to lose weight are; Eat healthy meals, at regular times throughout the day, and get more cardiovascular exercise.

Some people are of the opinion that dieting is quite easy. That is certainly not true, at least for most people. It should be noted that if losing weight were easy, there wouldn’t be so many millions of different diets, weight watchers and gastric bands.

weight

Having said that, exercising at the gym and working out regularly is for some people very easy, whereas other people just really could not hate it more. So it is different for everyone.

A while back there was an article posted on a website which explaining that losing weight is a very simple thing to do. ‘Weight loss is easy’ it read. It is hard to understand how some people think it is easy. The website in question was dedicated to fitness and dieting and it had some very good advice about how to stay in good shape; however, the section that talked about dieting was not very accurate.

Weight loss can be seen as a science, however it is also psychological. Dieting science is all about burning more calories on a daily basis, then you are consuming. The psychological part of it is somewhat different. You need to train your brain to hate foods which will make you fat. If you can’t do that then you will not be able to stop eating those foods. That’s how it works.

There are ways to overcome both these factors, both psychological and physical. Although I’m not a dietician or a professional trainer, I can explain to you what has worked for me.

First of all, you should find out what your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is. In order to understand how exactly this works, you can go to my hub which is entitled ‘What-are-the-components-of-a-healthy-balanced-diet’

Once you know what your BMR is, you will be able to figure out how many calories you should be consuming in one day. This will ensure that you do not gain any extra weight.

The part which is a bit harder is the psychological factor. What works for me is this.

Write down all the reasons why you want to lose weight. The list can be as long or as short as you want it to be. Next, write what you would do differently if you would be able to lose weight. Maybe you would be able to play more with the kids; maybe it would give you extra confidence around members of the opposite sex. Or maybe you would just feel better in general. Write down everything that comes to mind.

The next thing to write down is what would happen if you did not lose any weight. The things that would happen if you would not be fit and healthy.

When you have that list written out, you should read it at least once a day. Either in the morning or at night before sleeping. After a few days of reading that list, I am sure you will not want anymore unhealthy foods.

Terrine Pearsall

Keeping Fit for Life

It seems the issue of health and wellness is well known among children, men and women and everyone wants to keep fit. Have you realized how people go the gym of late, seems that business is really booming but I think you don’t have to spend a dime in the gym well unless you need to tone your muscles after losing weight and have a fabulous body that will be people’s envy.

All you need is to eat healthy and enjoy these fruits of your graceful work.

keeping fit

Keeping fit helps you develop a psychological framework that conquers depression. You see when you’re obese or plump in the manner of having excessive fat in your body you will get depressed and continue to eat in a very unhealthy manner, since most people succumb to eating when depressed and this is a risk of shortening your life .It should be able to help you counter most health problems like high blood pressures and cardiac arrests.

People believe that by starving themselves, the amount of fat in their bodies is reduced and some even end up being anorexic but that is not the case. If you again maintain a healthy lifestyle, your metabolism will be increased and do all the work for you by finding a natural way of burning the food that you eat so you do not have to starve or worry about what to eat.

You will be more flexible and active since having a fit body means that you also have an energetic body therefore you can perform any task without having to tire quickly.

A high percentage of us have an ageing phobia and so more plastic surgeries are performed and more people are heading to the shops for anti ageing creams. Why spend all that money yet you can easily withhold the ageing process, hard to believe right?

Here is the thing, when you feel old, it means that your body is tired or not in good shape but when you feel young, it means that energy is freely flowing in your body and your body is in a pretty good shape.

So by keeping fit, you will feel younger and thus ageing will not be an issue to you. It also helps you burn more calories than you take in and this is a good thing. If you can burn around ninety thousand calories a year then a daily intake of two hundred and fifty calories will not be a bother and this is another way of losing weight without starving. Keep fit, stay healthy, younger and happier.

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4 Weight Loss Supplements for Fast Weight Loss Success

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Weight loss supplements are always known to be able to provide a little boost to your weight loss campaign. Exercises and a proper balanced diet can help in losing weight but most of the time, you will need weight loss supplements to push you through a plateau.

In this article, you are going to learn about the four supplements that you can add to your weight loss plan. However, the results may vary from person to person. Also, you must consult your doctor about taking these supplements if you are underage, pregnant or taking other forms of medication.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Used by the ancient Egyptians and passed to us today after some long centuries, apple cider vinegar is popularly known for its weight loss effects. The most desirable benefits of taking apple cider vinegar as a weight loss supplement is that it does not bring along any negative side effects. Children and elders can even consume them for the health benefits.

Apart from being able to help you to lose weight, apple cider vinegar is also able to improve the condition of a person facing certain ailments or illnesses.

Hoodia

Hoodia gained popularity in the weight loss industry as a great and effective appetite suppressor over recent years. Imported from the Kalahari desert, it has been turned into weight loss pills and supplements. Although it can bring weight loss results within a short period of time, one is not recommended to use it for long term fitness maintenance plan.

Prescription Diet Pills

If you want the safest diet supplements in the market, then you should go for prescription diet pills. Regulated and tested by the FDA, prescription diet pills are known to have little to no side effects to human body. Fat burning, appetite suppression and carbohydrates blocking are some of the major functions of the pills.

These pills are normally inexpensive. Trial offers and test samples are also being given away to consumers by health companies manufacturing these pills. You should take advantage of these offers before spending any big money on them.

Propolene

Propolene is being used widely in supplements and pills for weight loss. Its common functions include suppressing our diet and fat burning. It forms a fiber mass once it reaches our stomach, stimulating our brains that there is no hunger since the stomach is filled. If you are looking forward to lose a large amount of weight or fat, propolene is the ingredient that you should be looking for when buying weight loss supplements.

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3 Ways a Good Weight Loss Supplement Can Help You

In the traditional way of thinking, a weight loss supplement was supposed to play a ‘supplementary’ role to diet and exercise in the loss of weight endeavor. A person who was looking to lose mass was usually advised to enlist the help of a supplement for loss of weight, of course in addition to a diet that was conducive to their mass loss goal, and, ideally, a good exercise regime. The combination of diet, exercise and weight loss supplement was in most cases guaranteed to deliver loss of mass.

Then came the age of instant gratification, and that approach to weight loss suddenly became unfashionable. People began to ask, in the spirit of instant gratification and avoidance of effort, whether it wouldn’t somehow be possible to lose mass with the help of the supplement for loss of weight alone.

supplement

This was to be expected, seeing that besides the supplement for loss of weight, the other mass loss aids (diet and exercise) were quite ‘unpleasant:’ calling as they did, for considerable exertion on the part of the person looking to lose weight.

All this led to a situation where people started looking to lose mass with the aid of mass loss supplements only. For the most part, they ended up being unsuccessful. And this led to frustration, which had the long term effect of making people to start questioning the efficacy of the weight loss supplement. Indeed, some went on to declare that mass loss supplements don’t work.

The truth of the matter, however, is that a good loss of weight supplement, properly used, can help you in three ways in your endeavor to lose mass. To be sure, it may be a tall order to lose weight with the help of loss of weight supplements exclusively. Indeed, many tend to come with a disclaimer to exactly this effect: which goes something like ‘this supplements works best when used alongside diet and exercise.’ Still, there are the three ways in which a good loss of mass supplement can help you in your endeavor to lose weight.

1. The first way through which the loss of mass supplement can help you in your endeavor to lose weight is making the mass loss faster. They call in expediting the process, and the effect, using the right way loss supplement can be rather considerable.

2. The second way through which the weight loss supplement can help you in endeavor to lose weight is by making the loss of mass less demanding in terms of efforts. This is where you may still have to make dietary modifications and exercise if you are to lose weight, but where a good weight loss supplement increases the ‘returns’ you get for your investments into the mass loss endeavor.

3. The third way through which a good supplement for loss of mass can help you in your weight loss endeavor is by keeping you motivated on the process. Many people who decide to ‘live with’ their mass problems tend to be people who attempted to lose weight and failed. A good mass loss supplement, by expediting your weight loss and ‘increasing the returns’ on your investments in that endeavor gives you at least some ‘initial results’ to celebrate, and keep you motivated to continue on your mass loss effort. Attempting to go about trying to lose weight without a mass loss supplement could mean that it may be months before you start seeing any results out of your effort, by which time you could have given up on the whole venture.

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Safe Weight Loss Supplements

Many individuals are now becoming more and more watchful of their weight as the epidemic of obesity looms overhead. It is estimated that there are as many overweight individuals as the undernourished individuals in the world.

The surplus weight has been implicated on several factors; so many health-conscious individuals are looking for safe weight loss supplements available in the market. The increased awareness of lifestyle diseases attributed to obesity has also increased demand for such products.

supplements

It is normal to find and take diet supplements, as long as you are sure that they are safe. Remember that in the $30 billion dollar weight-loss industry, the market has been saturated with supplements. Some are effective and safe for public, others are little more than encapsulated powders with obscure origins, and the remaining niche contains unsafe habit-forming drugs that are packaged as safe and effective.

There are several factors that are needed to consider before being certain that a dietary supplement is safe. First thing to look is the label, check it has proper and clear label. Although weight-loss supplements classified differently from drugs, they must be treated as so because they still affect the body in regarding weight loss.

The label must include generic names, composition, manufactured and expiry dates, government safety approvals, unusual effects and allergy alerts. It must be genuine; it is wise to look in the internet about the drug and its contents to be sure that it does contain a weight-reducing supplement. In that way, you could prevent yourself from taking fake products that produce lot more harm than good.

Another thing to be certain that a weight-loss supplement is safe to use is to take a look at its ingredients. Many drugs derive their weight-loss properties from two sources; laboratory-produced drugs and herbal/plant sources, or a mix of both. Both are safe if approved safe to use by your local health department, and are clearly stated in the label.

The ideal weight-loss supplement must be clearly effective. The effectiveness must be proven by a scientific study done by medical professional and sanctioned by the health authorities. It would took some research in the internet but it is worth the try; there are a lot of supplements out there approved as safe and effective by the FDA that you might find.

All of weight-loss supplements acts on a part of the body that helps reduce weight; the hypothalamus of the brain, thyroid, intestines and liver that suppress appetite, increase metabolism, and inhibit fat absorption from food and bloodstream, respectively. A safe product can promote weight loss by using one or two of those pathways without harming or damaging the organs involved and the body as well. It should not have long-term undesirable effects to the user, and most of all, not habit-forming (notable was the drug Ephedra, which contains compounds similar to methamphetamines, and now banned by the FDA).

A popular idea that an herbal medicine has little or no side effects is not always the case. A lot of prescribed drugs in the market originate from plant sources. Some examples of these are Digoxin (from foxglove plant) that increases heart contractility, chemotherapeutic agents Vincristine and Vinblastine (from Madagascar periwinkle), and habit-forming drugs like Nicotine (Tobacco plant), Cocaine (Coca Plant) and Opium (Opium Poppies). These drugs have terrible side effects and they are derived from plants. All plant-derived supplements must be labeled with unexpected adverse effects.

The point is the consumer must be vigilant in choosing supplements because there are a lot of fake, unsafe, or improperly labeled brands that are highly-priced in the market that are ineffective, contains little or no active substance, or possibly dangerous adulterants. Unlike drugs, weight-loss supplements are not subject to rigorous testing, and they are only removed from the market once the health authorities receive large numbers of reports about adverse effects. In that case, consumers are likened as guinea pigs for tests. We must not easily believe advertisements telling their brands as safe and effective.

Being overweight is already a problem, and having unpleasant adverse effect presents additional problems; it wastes your time, hard-earned money and adds to the frustration of reducing weight. Anyone must be careful in choosing weight-loss supplements; it must be truly effective and safe to use.

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The Facts About Weight Loss Supplements

Weight loss supplements are all the rage, they are everywhere and sometimes hard to ignore. Obesity is a problem that faces 2/3 of the American and UK adult population and 15% of the teenagers. I lecture young adults 17-24 and I have witnessed this increase in obesity over the last 10 years.

This problem with weight gain has been growing over the past several decades and is creating medical and emotional problems. As people’s waistlines expand so does the number of weight loss supplements.

Weight loss supplements

Although the way to lose weight is relatively simple, the execution is for many people difficult. Often people will turn to weight loss supplements because changing their eating habits is just so difficult and using supplements and pills can sometimes help reduce that challenge and in theory make losing weight much less painless.

We also want fast progress and instant results. We want fast food, fast Internet, fast service and fast weight loss. We want it all and we want it quickly and painlessly.

So let’s look at weight loss supplements. They fall into two large categories; over the counter and prescription medications. Prescription supplements are only available from your doctor and a pharmacist.

Prescription medications will have undergone severe testing by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The manufacturing of these products will also be regulated.

Over the counter weight loss supplements are not regulated by the FDA and are not classified as drugs. As they are not classified as drugs there will be no regulation on their distribution or on the manufacturing process. Usually there are no stringently performed scientific research studies that evaluate their efficacy and possible side effects of the weight loss supplement.

An example of a weight loss supplement is Ephedra. This supplement has shown a good success rate with weight loss but also has many serious side effects. These side effects include blood pressure problems, cardiac issues and even death. The media eventually got to Ephedra and this made a huge dent in the sales volume of the supplement. This improved the health of those who thought that taking it would be an easy route to lose weight.

Hoodia Gordonii is another supplement that has some medical consequences. There is a credible weight loss in the small studies that have been done but only one type of the Hoodia has the P57 component that is the appetite suppressant. There is some pure Hoodia but there are in fact very few manufacturers that guarantee the authenticity and quality of the product. There have also been some research studies that have indicated significant side effects in the liver.

Many of the over the counter weight loss supplements also use caffeine as their active ingredient. Caffeine dehydrates the body and the client will feels an initial ‘thinness’. This feeling is followed by rebound bloating when the body attempts to retain as much fluid as possible for survival. It’s all part of Homeostasis where the body keeps the fluid balance constant and if too much water is lost it will readjust and retain more.

When you choose a weight loss supplement always look at the ingredients – both the active and inactive ones. Pills often will have inactive ingredients that can affect you adversely, sometimes even as much as the active ingredients. Check with the pharmacist if you are taking any other medications to ensure there are no known drug interactions between the tablets you already take and these over-the-counter ones you are considering.

Just remember this – anything you purchase and put into your body should be treated just like a medication or drug. Just because it has a label calling it a supplement, or all natural or herbal does not mean that it will not have side effects or will not interact with medications you are already taking. It also does not mean that it will not interfere with any underlying medical conditions.

Keep in mind that weight loss supplements should only be used together with eating habit changes. if you do not change your eating habits then once you stop taking the supplements and go back to old ways your weight will pile on again and you’ll gain even more weight than you originally lost.

Weight loss supplements are only a tool in the battle of the bulge. If they are Used correctly and with care then they will help you to develop good eating habits that you can continue when you no longer take the supplements

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Healthy Weight Loss Supplements

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If you are overweight and diet and exercise regime can be somewhat of real challenge for you, a great step you can make is find weight loss supplements to make your weight loss more easy. Unfortunately most of the overweight people sink into the vast choice of weight loss pills available without researching what weight loss supplements are healthy.

In this article I will try to give some useful observation considering healthy weight loss supplements.

weight loss supplements

 

Well if we dig into weight loss supplements market and research it we will find two basic types of supplements available – chemical weight loss supplements and herbal or natural weight loss supplements.

First type is a known and approved way to assist in weight loss that was used for many obese people and really helped in their weight loss routines.

There are several most known brands of chemical supplements, like Xenical or Phentermine or Meridia – all based on chemicals affecting your weight in several ways of action.
For example, Xenical acts like fat blocker. It is known to reduce up to 25% of weight if used correctly. The pill is considered suitable even for long term weight loss.

Or Meridia, affecting our brain chemicals to increase body metabolism and suppress appetite. The supplement also showed effectiveness on obese patients.

Unfortunately, using chemical weight loss supplements is not a healthy way of weight loss for sure. Chemical combinations have side effects and in some cases can affect our health badly. They are used under doctor’s prescription usually and just in case patient does not have any serious medical conditions.

Another group is natural weight loss supplements, also known as herbal. These weight loss supplements are actually a mix of natural ingredients or both natural and safe chemical components designed to maximally affect our excess weight.

The only serious thing to mention here is that not every “natural” component is safe for your health. Well known example is ephedra or ma huang – herb that is used in many weight loss supplements as metabolism enhancer and thermogenic as well. Only after several fatal cases and severe side effects reported by many people who used ephedra, it has become clear that not every natural component is actually healthy one to use.

Ok, it’s not that bad at all – here we got several natural ingredients that can you can consider as a healthy aid for your weight loss. They are widely known – it is Hoodia Gordonii, Green Tea, Chitosan, Garcinia Cambogia, Fiber and some others… Though most of them hasn’t been researched thoroughly to prove their weight loss capacities, they showed real efficacy with many people using them in form of supplements and getting positive weight loss results.

So recommendation is simple – if you are not morbidly obese and in need of serious medical help, natural weight loss supplements are the healthy way for you to make weight loss faster and easier. Just don’t rely too much on “magic pills” and use them along with diet and exercise routines.

Be aware of dangerous herbal components and choose weight loss supplements only from reputable brands and distributors.

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4 Reasons to Avoid Macronutrient Overdose

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The macronutrients are the three main nutrients that your body needs to survive. You need to consume relatively large quantities of carbohydrates, dietary fats and proteins to ensure that your body functions properly. However, there is a limit to how much you can safely consume and exceeding that limit can have a number of adverse effects.

In this article I will be expanding on this topic and discussing four of the negative side effects associated with macronutrient overdose.

macronutrients

1) DEHYDRATION

Eating too much protein has been linked with dehydration. A study from the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology looked at five endurance athletes who consumed low (63g per day), moderate (123g per day) and high (246g per day) levels of protein over three periods of four weeks. They found that as protein consumption increased, hydration levels went down. Dehydration can have an adverse effect on your health and put you at risk of a number of heat related illnesses.

2) FLUCTUATING ENERGY LEVELS

Consuming too many carbohydrates causes your blood glucose levels to increase rapidly and then fall dramatically. Eating high levels of omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) has also been linked with elevated blood glucose levels. Your body uses blood glucose for energy so any fluctuations can have a direct effect on your energy levels. One minute you may feel full of energy and then the next minute you will feel as though all the energy has been sucked from your body. This makes it extremely difficult to concentrate and function properly throughout the day.

3) INCREASED LOW DENSITY LIPOPROTEIN (LDL) CHOLESTEROL LEVELS

Eating high levels of saturated fat has been linked with increased LDL cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol builds up in your artery walls causing blockages. This restricts the flow of blood to your vital organs which can lead to both organ damage and heart disease.

4) WEIGHT GAIN

Weight gain is probably the most common symptom associated with macronutrient overdose. If you eat too many carbohydrates any that are not required for energy are stored as body fat. Consuming too much protein has exactly the same effect with any excess being converted into body fat. Overindulging on dietary fats can also lead to rapid weight gain as they contain more than twice the calories (nine calories per gram) of carbohydrates and proteins (four calories per gram).

Whilst the macronutrients are essential for life and good health you need to keep an eye on how much of each type you are consuming. To ensure that you are not eating too many macronutrients you first need to check that the daily amount of calories you consume is in line with the amount your body burns.

Then you need to ensure that no more than 70% of your daily calories come from a single macronutrient (so having 90% of your daily calories come from carbohydrates would be too much). If you stick to these rules you should be avoid the negative symptoms discussed in this article and enjoy all the benefits that the macronutrients can offer.

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5 Super Macronutrients Food Sources

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The three macronutrients are required by your body in relatively large quantities and are essential for life. Without them you could not survive. Carbohydrates provide your body with energy, dietary fats support overall good health and protein helps build, maintain and repair your body’s cells.

But which foods can provide you with these three important nutrients? Keep reading for five super macronutrient foods.

 macronutrients

1) APPLES

Apples are a fantastic carbohydrate source making them a great energy food. They also contain high levels of antioxidants (which protect your body from oxygen related damage), fibre (which keeps your blood glucose levels stable and promotes good bowel health), flavonoids (which act in a similar way to antioxidants), phytonutrients (which also act in a similar way to antioxidants) and vitamin C (which helps your wounds heal and keeps your immune system strong).

2) ALMONDS

Almonds are an excellent source of monounsaturated fats and protein. On top of this they are a great source of vitamin B2 (which helps your body break down macronutrients for energy), vitamin E (a powerful antioxidant), copper (which assists in the production of many important substances), manganese (which activates a number of enzymes in the body) and potassium (which helps maintain proper muscle contractions and regular heartbeats).

3) BEEF

Despite the negative press, beef is actually a very nutritious food. It is a super source of monounsaturated fat, protein and saturated fat. Beef is also a fantastic source of vitamin B2, vitamin B3 (which helps convert blood glucose into energy), vitamin B6 (which helps break down protein), vitamin B12 (which assists in the production of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA)), selenium (an antioxidant) and zinc (which protects your blood vessels and promotes a strong immune system).

4) EGGS

Eggs are a quick, convenient, healthy food containing high levels of monounsaturated fat, protein and saturated fat. They are also rich in a number of vitamins and minerals such as iodine (which promotes thyroid health), tryptophan (a mood boosting amino acid), vitamin B2, vitamin B5 (which helps your body break down the three macronutrients), vitamin B12, vitamin D (which assists in the absorption of the bone strengthening nutrients calcium and phosphorus).

5) SPINACH

Spinach is an excellent carbohydrate source. It is also a great source of calcium, iron (which supports the production of haemoglobin), magnesium (which helps your muscles and nerves function properly), vitamin A (which promotes healthy vision) and vitamin K (which helps your blood clot).

As you can see there are plenty of foods out there that can help you get your daily intake of macronutrients. Most of them will also provide you with a healthy dose of important vitamins and minerals. I hope this list helps you find some good macronutrient food sources but if none of them are to your liking remember the most important rule is to stick with natural, unprocessed foods such as fresh meat, fruits and vegetables. A varied diet that is low in processed foods will very often provide the balance of macronutrients that your body needs.

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Six Wonderful Macronutrient Benefits

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The macronutrients are the three main nutrients your body needs to survive. They include carbohydrates, dietary fats and protein. But what exactly do they do for your body?

Read on for six of the fantastic benefits they can provide.

macronutrients

1) DISEASE PROTECTION

Dietary fats can protect you from a number of diseases. They reduce your heart disease risk by lowering blood pressure, lowering blood triglyceride levels and reducing the presence of lipoprotein (a) (a strong risk factor for heart disease) in your blood. Dietary fats have also been shown to protect you from breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer. Finally, they keep your immune system strong which further enhances your ability to fight disease.

2) ENERGY

Carbohydrates provide your body with a quick, convenient source of energy. This enables all the cells in your body to function properly. Whilst your body can break down dietary fats and protein for energy it is a much less efficient process.

3) FIBRE, PHYTONUTRIENTS AND VITAMINS

Carbohydrates provide your body with a number of important nutrients. Fibre is an indigestible carbohydrate that keeps your blood glucose levels stable and promotes good bowel health. Phytonutrients are naturally occurring chemicals found in plants that protect your body from damage and disease. Vitamins are essential nutrients that protect you from disease, keep your immune system strong, support healthy growth and much more.

4) HEALTHY CELLS

The primary function of protein is to build, maintain and repair your body’s cells. When you are growing your body uses protein to build strong bones, muscles and more. When you are fully grown your body uses protein to keep these cells strong and repair any that become damaged. Dietary fats also support your cells by assisting in the production of healthy skin cells and keeping the cell walls strong.

5) HEALTHY ORGANS

Dietary fats play a key role in organ health. They keep your brain healthy by promoting the production of cell membranes and signal pathways. They also support heart health by providing palmitic acid and stearic acid (two types of saturated fat that the heart uses for fuel when stressed). On top of this they protect your liver from harmful substances and have been shown to reverse liver damage. Finally, they reduce surface tension in the lungs by supporting the production of lung surfactant.

6) WEIGHT LOSS

Research suggests that dietary fats can both burn and prevent the build up of body fat. Protein can also help you lose weight in two ways. First, a meal high in protein can burn up to 25% more calories during digestion than a meal high in carbohydrates. Secondly, protein (and in particular the amino acid leucine) has been shown to act as an appetite suppressant.

I hope this article has given you a better insight into the macronutrients and how they benefit your health. As you can see they do almost everything your body requires. They give you energy, protect you from damage and disease, support healthy growth and even help you lose weight. So if you want to enjoy all these benefits make sure your diet contains sufficient levels of all three macronutrients.

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The Basic Facts About Nutrients, Macronutrients and Micronutrients

In the complex, elegant system called the human body, the nutrients that are ingested and absorbed are essential for the growth, maintenance, repair, and replacement of the trillions of cells of the organs and tissues that do the body’s work. These nutrients are the substances in the foods and beverages we ingest.

Nutrition is the sum total of the interaction between the foods we eat-our diets-and the ways in which our bodies process, use, and are nourished by the nutrients in those foods. Although human bodies are incredibly adaptable and may maintain themselves for a long time when nutrition is inadequate or improper, optimum health is dependent on optimum nutrition. When proper amounts of nutrients are lacking or out of balance, or when nutrients are not adequately processed, dysfunction, ill health, and disease are inevitable.

Nutrition

Nutrients for Life

Scientists and researchers are still learning to define optimal nutrition and understand how nutrients affect health and disease. So far, more than 40 nutrients have been identified as substances that are essential to life. They are grouped into six categories or classes. These classes are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water.

Carbohydrates, fats, proteins, some minerals, and water are considered to be macronutrients, because the body needs them in large quantities. Vitamins and most minerals (often called trace minerals) are needed in relatively small amounts and are referred to as micronutrients. They are essential because they enable the body to use its macronutrients. No single food contains all essential nutrients, but most foods are a source of one or more in varying degrees. People must ingest a variety of foods in order to nourish their bodies.

Energy And Fuel

One of the most important functions of nutrients is to provide the fuel that powers the body’s functions. Glucose is the sugar from carbohydrates that provides the major source of fuel for the body, its organs, and its cells, but fats are another important source. When necessary, proteins can also be used as fuel. These macronutrients provide the body with 100% of its energy. Energy is measured in calories. Some foods, such as cheeseburgers, are calorie dense, while others, such as celery, provide few calories.

How much food is required to provide enough energy depends on the kinds of foods a person eats, as well as a person’s activity level, age, and size. In other words, how much energy is used up and how quickly it is used depends on individual factors and is never standard for all people at all times in their lives.

Because of the energy supplied by these macronutrients, muscles move, lungs breathe, and hearts beat. Bodies use the energy to maintain the correct temperature. Cells build the proteins that do the work in the body. With too few calories, cell activity and organ function falter. A complete lack of energy (meaning zero calories consumed) would lead to cell death and organ failure from starvation within about 8 to 12 weeks.

If too many calories are taken, the body stores the excess as fat, in case extra energy is needed in the future. Every healthy person needs to have some fat stores for emergencies, but an excess amount leads to unhealthy body weight and stress on organs, which also can lead to disease.

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The Macronutrients of Nutrition

Nutrition can be a confusing subject for the ordinary person. Of course we have all heard about vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and fiber, complex carbohydrates and sugars but how does it all fit together?

Well to start with, our bodies require certain amounts of macronutrients to survive. There are a few people who focus on one nutrient over another and they consume more of one and less of the others but in general we all need some of these nutrients and a healthy diet consists of a good balance of the all three macronutrients.

macronutrients

The macronutrients are protein, fat and carbohydrates. Protein and carbohydrates both provide 4 calories per gram, while the more dense fat contains 9 calories per gram. A calorie is at its most basic description the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1g of water 1 degree Celsius. While that is a rather confusing definition for most of us it is easier for us to just know that a calorie is just a measurement that we use to determine the energy content of food.

Due to this discrepancy of 5 additional calories per gram, it was believed for a few years that the fat in our diet was the main cause of the fat on our bodies. It has since been proven that this all too simple explanation is not quite true. The fat on our bodies is caused by a number of different factors including the eating of too many calories altogether be they from fat, protein or carbohydrates.

Protein is the building blocks of the tissues in our bodies and it is essential to all of the processes within our cells. Protein can be found in animal tissue, dairy products and eggs but also vegetarian sources such a beans, legumes and especially soybeans.

Carbohydrates are the main energy source of our bodies. A simplistic explanation of carbohydrates is that they convert to sugar in our bodies, which in turn provides the energy that we need. Carbohydrates can be further broken down into simple carbohydrates, which include sugar, candy, white flour and more and complex carbohydrates, which include whole grains and vegetables. Simple carbohydrates break down in our bodies at a very rapid level, causing energy swings and increased hunger while complex carbohydrates break down slowly which gives us sustained longer-term energy.

Fat was long misaligned as being bad for our health but that is not completely true. The saturated fats and trans fats are destructive to our bodies but there are also essential fats that we need to maintain good health. Those would include the monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil, peanut oil and canola oil and the fats found in nuts and seeds, avocados, olives and the acai berry. The bad fats are the saturated fats such as the fat found in animal products and the “fake” fats or trans fats that are created by hydrogenation.

The macronutrients of protein, carbohydrates and fat are the building blocks of nutrition and all of the rest of the positive nutritional factors, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more are found within one of these three macronutrients.