Eating healthy means eating what your individual body needs to keep it running in optimal condition. Exactly what we eat is vital to meet the demands of our bodies. In this post, I will provide more information on what macronutrients are, as well as, explain briefly why I decided to follow a low carb diet for my weight loss.
We all heard of the word "Marcos" (or macronutrients) but do we fully understand what it is? The answer is no, unfortunately. I was one of the many people CLUELESS about what they were and how they worked in regards to our body. Macronutrients allows our bodies to grow, develop, repair, as well as, produce energy and each serves a different but beneficial purpose for the body. They consist of three main groups:
Carbohydrates (Rice, Bread, Starchy Vegetables, etc.) - Body + brain's main source of energy
Protein (Eggs, Chicken, Beef, Fish) - Protein is vital for body processes, like building tissues/hormones/enzymes and immune function.
Fats (Butter, Oils, Nuts) - Important for healthy brain development, making hormones, aiding in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), and regulation of the body's temperature.
Almost every food contains a combination of the three main nutrient groups, however, the difference lies in the composition of the 3 groups. For example, although an avocado consists of roughly 70% fat, 8% carb, and 2% protein, it's classified as a fat due to the fact that it makes up the most %. When looking to lose weight or eat healthier, it’s important to find an eating pattern (i.e. low carb, low fat, calorie counting) that will be the most sustainable for you.
A low carb diet is an eating pattern designed to promote weight loss while restricting the consumption of carbohydrates. The theory behind consuming less carbs is that excessive carb consumption has been linked to increased insulin levels and obesity. This is due to the fact that carbohydrates turn into blood sugar once inside the body’s digestive system and any excess sugar is stored as fat. I chose this diet because it worked best for controlling the symptoms of my condition, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). As a result of my condition, I also have insulin resistance (which makes it even harder to lose weight). Therefore, my body does not properly break down carbs into blood sugar for energy…instead it stores most, if not all, of it away as fat (*rolls eyes), hence excessive weight gain when not controlled.
A low carb diet consists of eliminating or reducing foods that contain sugar, grains and refined starches (white bread/sugar/pasta). They are typically replaced with other foods containing increased amounts of fat and protein. However, some nutritionists have varying opinions regarding the validity and safety of a low carb diet, including the ketogenic, or keto, diet which requires drastically cutthing the consumption of carbs (typically less than 20 Net Carbs per day) to force the body to burn fat instead of sugar.
In addition, some believe that low carb diets carry their own risks and possible side effects, including headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and/or dehydration. Furthermore, some believe that the replacement of carbs with foods high in fat will lead to higher cholesterol levels and may increase the risk of developing heart disease (specifically as it relates to low carb & high fat diet).
With the vast amount of information and different types of diets you can follow, it’s so important to take the time out to understand your body (& how different foods impact it), your energy needs, and how to read food labels so you can make healthier food choices & identify the foods that are nutrient dense for the best health results. However, I want to also note that regardless of which diet you choose to follow, the most important factor to losing weight and keeping it OFF is burning more calories than you take in!
This article is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is not to be used in place of, or in conjunction with, professional medical advice or a nutritionist’s recommendation. Prior to beginning any dietary program, including a low carb diet, individuals should consult a physician for proper diagnosis and/or an appropriate path toward weight loss.