By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Whether you are a health-conscious eater, looking to begin a new diet or trying to vastly improve your eating habits, you need to understand the role and benefit of eating adequate proteins, carbs and yes even fats.
For a while, the media and many health governing bodies urged people to reduce their dietary fat intake but with very little press coverage about the negative consequences of eating processed carbohydrate and sugars. Many people also believed that eating too much protein, especially red meat, would hurt your kidneys.
Healthy Fats are good for you
I am here to tell you, with plenty of research to back me up, that dietary fat is good for you and some fat is even essential for your health. Do not be afraid to eat fat, healthy fats from natural food sources like avocados, tree nuts, whole eggs, and dairy are very good for you and contain many other essential nutrients. As long as you avoid saturated or unhealthy fats from greasy and processed foods, fat intake is not that bad.
Eat Carbohydrates in moderation
Carbohydrates should be consumed in moderation, especially sugars of any kind (even those from fruit). Diets high in carbohydrates will likely lead to excessive weight gain because excessive carbohydrates are stored as fat and increase water retention. Overeating carbohydrates may be the worst of all three because it is readily stored as fat if not used immediately.
Eat the recommended amount of Protein
Eating the recommended amount of protein is probably the most advisable. It increases your body temperature the most, which is good, and extra calories from protein are less likely to be stored as fat for many reasons. Some research has shown that high levels of protein does not appear to harm your kidneys or lead to weight gain. And no, protein will not make you look like a male or female body builder.
What to do?
To sort through the nutrition and dietary chaos, you should know that, in the end, it is best to consume the proper and recommended amounts of all three macronutrients; protein, fat and carbohydrates on a day-to-day basis and drink plenty of water too. Find a balance that works for you and avoid deep fried foods, limit the amount of sugar from any food source you eat on a daily basis, especially at night.
Eat protein or take a protein supplement, even red meats in moderation are ok and don’t be afraid to eat fat from natural sources or whole dairy products that are not the light or fat free kind (fat-free products are the worst).
*Before starting an exercise and nutrition regimen, consult with your healthcare provider and/ or registered dietitian.
**Go to our Resources page- For the most recommended tools you need to succeed on your healthy living journey!!
Lowery LM, Daugherty A, Miller B et al. The effect of habitually large protein intake on renal function of strength athletes: an update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2011; 8(Suppl 1):P33.
Manninen A. High-Protein Weight Loss Diets and Purported Adverse Effects: Where is the Evidence? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2004; 1:45.
Aragon, AA, Schoenfeld BJ, Wildman R, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand.
Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Wingfield HL, et al. Effects of dietary macronutrient distribution on resting and post-exercise metabolism. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2014; 11(Suppl 1):P6.