D.I.E.T: DID I EAT THAT?
What Are Macro- and Micro- Nutrients?
We hear all the time, “What are your macros?” , or “Do you track your macros?” Despite this, we never hear “How much vitamins and minerals do you get a day?” This is because macro nutrients make up the bulk of our caloric intake in the forms of protein, carbs, and fat, while micro nutrients consist of our vitamins and minerals. To further break down micro nutrients, vitamins or organic substances are fat- soluble (A,D, E, K) and water-soluble (B-complex vitamins and C vitamins). Although vitamins are not readily synthesized in the body, asides from vitamin D from the sun, w do store vitamins in our liver and adipose (fatty) tissue. Minerals or inorganic substances are absorbed indirectly from the environment, either as major or trace minerals. Major minerals which are used in greater amounts include sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride while trace minerals are chromium, copper selenium, zinc, manganese, iron, fluoride, and iodine. Although micro nutrients are used in small amounts, they have vital functions in our bone and teeth development, cellular growth and repair, immunity, blood clotting, and much much more. However, tracking our macros, will play the biggest factor in losing weight versus gaining weight.
Why Carbs Get A Bad Rep
Carbohydrates get a bad rep for being the most insulin-spiking culprits of the macro nutrients that tells our bod to store our calories as fat. However, we are constantly see debates regarding how to consumer our carbs. Part of current scientific evidence is correct. If you are not performing high-intensity experience or expending a lot of energy daily, your carbohydrate should be much lower than an athlete or someone that is very active. Our body has mechanisms in place to store carbohydrates for our brain and body to use as the main fuel source for various demanding functions. Therefore, we should NEVER EVER completely avoid carbs unless specified to a certain disease that restricts carb intake. Of the big three macronutrients, carbohydrates usually have the highest variability in terms of determine how many grams we need per day. Like protein, carbs equate to 4 cals per gram versus 9 cals per gram for fats. So what do these numbers mean? Let’s check out how to plan a diet and calculate macros below.
How Do I Plan My Diet?
There is ONE UNIVERSAL rule that must be followed when it comes losing or gaining weight. That rule Calories in versus calories out.
If you are in a caloric surplus, calories (energy in) > calories out (energy expenditure), you will gain weight. If you are in a caloric deficit calories out (energy expenditure) > calories in, you will lose weight.
There is no magic formula or pill that can replicate this rule. Keto, Paleo, zone, intermittent fasting, detox diets, etc. all methodologies designed to create a caloric deficit. NO SINGLE DIET IS BETTER THAN ANOTHER. Variation in results come producing the greatest caloric deficit. Each of the above mentioned utilize different principles to reduce overall calorie consumption. Lets lay it out real quick:
Keto: Low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet, which in the absence of glucose (mainly from carbohydrate intake), the body uses stored fat as fuel. The liver then produces ketone bodies from fat for energy in the absence of glucose. Protein is kept moderate because protein inhibits the body from going into ketosis. How so? Amino acids (building blocks of protein) can be converted into glucose which is what this diet method avoids.
Paleo: high protein, moderate fat, low carb, aka caveman diet which includes low-glycemic fruits, lean proteins, fish, veggies, nuts, seeds which were widely available during the Paleolithic Era.
Intermittent Fasting: eating within a small window and fasting the rest of the day. For an example picking an 8 hour window to eat and the other 16 hours you fast which does include water, coffee, and tea.
While the aforementioned diets seem very simple, losing weight becomes complex when trying to determine total daily energy expenditure due to the various influences that play a role such as weight, height, age, and lifestyle. But what we can control ins our caloric intake, let’s check out the steps below:
Step 1: Determine Maintenance/Calories (amount of calories to maintain bodyweight) (click here)
Step 2: Calculate Protein Intake (0.8-2.0 g x body weight (lbs)
Step 3: Calculate Fat Intake (Around 0.45 g x body weight (lbs)
Step 4: Calculate Carbs (subtract protein and fat from maintenance calories and divide by 4
So essentially, to survive this person would need about 1,825 calorie and to maintain a weight of 173lbs they would need 2,712 calories.
Now weight loss: (Maintenance Calories - 500) = 2,212 calories
1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories (-500 cals * 7 days a week) = -3,500 cals/1lb of fat loss 😊
Now weight (Maintenance Calories + 500) = 3,212 calories
If you don’t want to do any of this manually, I loveeeeee this macro calculator that is intuitive and informative (click here)
Diet breaks vs. cheating
One of the major fallacies of diet adherence are what we have termed as cheat days which typically means consuming something we “should not” be consuming. Let's flip this methodology and talk about diet breaks. A diet is a pattern or methodology of food choices that is followed to create a caloric deficit no matter what you call this diet. However, a diet, should NEVER cut away foods that you have been eating since you were a good. The idea of a diet is to create a sustainable plan that can be adhered to your lifestyle. Does this mean max out on cupcakes? NO LOL. But working in a cupcake or two per week will not deter your overall progress pending you maintain a overall deficit. That is where diet breaks come in. Diet breaks are periods of time where we eat at maintenance caloric intake after being in a deficit. This gives the body a chance to recuperate metabolically and allow us to “hit a reset” button for caloric deficit to remain effective and sustainable. If we “diet” or remain in a deficit too long, the moment we in take more than our number goal for the deficit (let's say we are in a caloric deficit consuming 1,800 calories a day), the body will recognize this as “oh shit, let me hold onto these calories and store it as fat for later energy use. Our body has these survival mechanisms in place for a reason. Fat is crucial for organ support and insulation, hormone regulation, and absorption of vitamins and minerals so do not be afraid or get discouraged if you hold on to some of it. Continuing, remember that during a diet break when eating at maintenance, take advantage of this time and push yourself a but harder and take advantage of those extra calories in the gym or your daily activities.
With hopes of clearing up some of the confusion around dieting, I also you found this informative and useful! If so, give it a like below and please, please share, I’d love to engage with other’s opinions and continue developing an ambassador of health and wellness. As always, #BETTERTOGETHER 🦾🦾
McMurray, R. G., Soares, J., Caspersen, C. J., & McCurdy, T. (2014). Examining variations of resting metabolic rate of adults: a public health perspective. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 46(7), 1352–1358. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000232
Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, Grimaldi KA. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;67(8):789.