Reading the food label

 

First off FORGET ABOUT THE DAILY VALUE AND PERCENTAGES. Everyone is different and it makes no logical sense to follow a set guideline that doesn’t pertain to what's best for you. Whether you want to gain/ lose weight, the best way to do so is by being able to understand what calories are. So if you want to lose weight, you must be in a calorie deficit, which means that you are eating less calories than what your body requires to maintain a state of maintenance. And if you want to gain weight you need to be in a calorie surplus which means you are eating more than your maintenance number calories.  Now this can vary from person to person. Some people might need to eat 2000 calories, some might need 4000, and some who are fucked might need less than 1800 (jk). What I am trying to say is that everyone is different. Now in my honest opinion, it goes beyond the calorie intake as I will go deeper into this document you’ll understand that I focus more on the quality of food vs the actual numbers. However, if you are new to working out/ getting into a healthy lifestyle it is smart to remember that calories in vs calories out do matter. Protein, what I suggest you do is always keep your protein at least .8-1 gram per body weight so if you weigh 130 pounds then you need 104-130 grams of protein. I know it seems like a lot, especially for my females out there, but I promise you it will help you feel so much better and fuller for longer.

 

Next is carbohydrates, now some people find carbs to be the devil which they aren’t. It’s funny to me because I’ll see people count their carbs but go out and drink 5 cranberries vodkas. And I’m   like --------------------------------------------------------------------------->

Anyways, carbs are not evil, they don’t make you fat, they actually can do the opposite. They can actually help you get stronger and lose weight because your performance will be better. However, they can easily be over consumed. Especially in the context of sugar, (fructose) sugar needs to be avoided as much as possible giving the exception to fruit, not only for weight loss but for your overall health. I recommend to have anywhere from .5-2 grams of carbs per body weight, so for a person who is 130 pounds that means anywhere from 60-260 grams ( I know big gap for this one). For sugar, I try to base it on a weekly basis, and the people I train and do diet for I typically don’t have them track anything - more like guesstimate portions- (assuming they have a general knowledge of diet) besides their sugar intake. I keep sugar intake to a weekly count, because I would rather you consume sugar one time in a large amount then throughout the week in moderate amounts (this is with the exception of fruit!). Sugar intake weekly should be under 50 grams (and that is being extremely generous). This is about 4 servings of ice cream and a little more than one coke :0 (right!!!). In addition to carbs I try to advocate for fiber in carbs so this comes from carbs like whole grain cereals/oatmeal/veggies(not really carbs but)/ and whole grain pastas. You don’t have to count but the more fiber something has (typically) is a “healthier”carb.  It honestly just depends on how you as an individual feels like you need the carbs. If you are trying to lose weight, I would try to focus my carbs around my workouts and times when you need energy. And then keep the carbs zero/ low when you don’t feel like you need that energy. Also carbs will trigger an appetite spike hours after consumption (blood sugar rise/fall). So if you know you can’t or won’t be able to eat within 4-5 hours try to save the carbs for after.

 

Lastly, Fat , fats are sometimes demonized as well, and I can argue that fats are actually a lot more necessary than any other macro nutrient. Fats, usually go hand and hand with dietary cholesterol. Especially when derived from fish, meats, or eggs. There are four different types of fats. Saturated fat, Polyunsaturated fat, Monounsaturated fat, and Trans fat. Well we can automatically disregard one of these fats, trans fat, it serves no purpose in the body and has no benefit other than adding calories to our diet. It is proven to clot arteries and cause high blood pressure/high cholesterol. Next are Polyunsaturated fats, Saturated fats, and Monounsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats are the best of these fats and should be prioritized when choosing fat sources, I listed a food list of these fats below in the fats section but avocados and olive oil are the most common. Next are Polyunsaturated fats, these typically contain omega three fatty acids and omega six fatty acids, in short these fatty acids are NECESSARY for healthy blood flow and reduction of inflammation in the body. This comes from foods like salmon and walnuts, also free range eggs contain higher levels of omega three fatty acids. Now saturated fat, which was once demonized is now being accepted in our diet, though you should limit it, if you are eating large amounts of refined carbohydrates, saturated fat is not as bad as previously thought. Saturated fats come from animal products and some oils. Saturated fat in found in animal products such as steaks and darker meat chickens, are okay to be consumed, they aren’t the best, however they do provide benefit in raising your HDL (good cholesterol) but they also raise your LDL (bad cholesterol). But overall if taken in with reason it's not as bad as people used to demonize it. Next, on the food labels that comes up is cholesterol and sodium. Dietary cholesterol usually comes with eating meat, eggs, and fish, like fats, dietary cholesterol has been demonized for years. However, it is now known that dietary cholesterol does not influence blood cholesterol at any significant level. Dietary Cholesterol however, helps promote the production of hormones that are necessary for fat burning/ building muscle. I would say keep it between 300- 500 mg, don’t worry about it being too high or too low. Just eat “clean” foods and worry more on your overall macronutrient profile (fats and carbs). Furthermore, Sodium, or salt content (not really but in simple terms yes) is also on the food label, sodium was also seen to be hurtful in causing high blood pressure and long term hypertension. However, if you exercise regularly, more than 3 times a week. Do not worry about sodium intake, as long as it's not exceeding more than 4000 mg. Sodium pre/post workout is a great way to recover the lost electrolytes exhausted from weight training or cardio. I would say sticking to 2000 mg is a good balance point and the more work you do the increased levels of sodium you should take in.