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Get Your Lean On
a simple, sensible yet scientific WEIGHT LOSS SOLUTION
By TONY BEDNAROWSKI
Balboa PressCopyright © 2013 TONY BEDNAROWSKI
All rights reserved.
Nutrition and Macronutrients 101
I wanted to start out by giving you a solid foundation to build on. Let's start at the beginning with the simple basics of nutrition so you'll better understand the whys behind my process.
Nutrition is based on the process of eating and converting food into structural and functional body compounds to be used for the following:
* tissue repair
* bodily functions
What is nutrition actually made up of? Nutrition is made up of five main macronutrients. Most experts will talk about three—proteins, carbohydrates, and fats—but I add two other components to my list because they are essential to your weight loss, health, and survival. Fiber, as a component of a carbohydrate, is so vital to one's overall optimal health as well as weight loss that I include it in my list. Also, the most overlooked macronutrient of all is water, without which survival would be impossible.
Here are the five macronutrients, not arranged in any significant order:
All our micronutrients or essential nutrients are derived from these five main macronutrients. Essential nutrients are nutrients that can't be produced by the body but are needed to sustain life and maintain proper body functions and optimal health. All vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and phytochemicals are derived from our macronutrients.
Why is good nutrition so important? It is the foundation for managing proper weight as well as preventing and even reversing many chronic diseases. It is the basis for higher energy levels, better performance, and better mental focus, as well as many psychological effects like better mood, higher self-esteem, better self-image, and a higher self-worth. Five of the six leading causes of death in America all relate to the typical American diet or what I refer to as poor nutritional choices. The leading causes of death, in order, are the following:
1. Heart disease
4. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Diet and physical inactivity kill more Americans every year than tobacco, alcohol, and firearms put together. Yes, we have an epidemic that's growing.
Let's take a look into a typical American diet and where we're going wrong. American diets are too high in:
* processed foods;
* empty calories (foods that have little to no nutritional value);
* refined flours;
* total calories;
* saturated fat;
* cholesterol; and
American diets are too low in:
* heart-healthy fats;
* calcium; and
I am here to tell you that there is a solution.
Over many years I'd conducted studies with a wide variety of men and women according to height, weight, gender, and age to come up with the perfect calorie range and perfect macronutrient division to maximize metabolic stimulation for optimal weight loss while revamping blood chemistry.
The process I developed not only maximizes healthy weight loss while lowering body fat levels, but it also prevents—and in many cases reverses—many chronic diseases related to poor nutritional choices. My process has helped numerous individuals eliminate the need for medications to treat cholesterol, blood pressure, acid reflux, type-two diabetes, and other ailments tied to being overweight or obese.
Now let's take a look at each of our five macronutrients and the roles they play in our nutritional needs, weight, and optimal health.
Protein 101—Our Thermogenic Friend
Protein, the main component of muscle tissue, is needed for growth, maintenance, enzyme production, hormone production, and DNA production.
Protein is one of the five macronutrients our bodies need for proper bodily functions and optimal health and to sustain life. Protein is essential for many of the body's processes, including building and repairing tissue and making enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. It is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. In my world, we refer to protein as the building blocks of life.
Protein contains four calories per gram and is the hardest macronutrient for our bodies to disassemble and process. This makes it the most thermogenic macronutrient, meaning the most stimulating to your metabolism.
What exactly is protein made up of, and where can we find it? Protein is made of smaller compounds called amino acids, which are divided into two categories, essential and nonessential, ten of which are manufactured by the body. The amino acids manufactured by your body are called nonessential. Another ten are called essential amino acids, meaning they need to be taken into your body by an outside source, namely food.
A complete protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids.
All animal proteins are complete, including red meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy products. For vegetarians, complete proteins can also be obtained through certain plants, such as soy, quinoa, buckwheat, spirulina, and amaranth.
Foods can also be combined to make complete proteins like pairing beans and rice, beans and seeds, beans and nuts, and beans and grains. When you eat hummus and pita bread, nut butter on whole-grain bread, pasta with beans, veggie burgers on whole-wheat bread, split-pea soup with whole-grain bread, or tortillas with refried beans, you are eating complete proteins. These combinations don't necessarily even have to be eaten within the same meal, so if you eat beans for lunch and rice with dinner, you've given yourself a complete protein.
Carbohydrates 101—Energy in Proportionate Amounts
The primary source of energy for all body functions, carbohydrates contain four calories per gram and are the easiest macronutrient for our bodies to process, leaving it the least thermogenic—the least metabolically stimulating. The body breaks down carbohydrates into sugar units to be used as fuel by the body's cells and muscles.
In our bodies, carbohydrates are being broken down and used as energy. When the body doesn't need to use carbohydrates for energy, it stores them in the liver and muscles, a process known as glycogen storage. It is important to know that when glycogen reserves are full, excess glycogen broken down from carbohydrate ingestion will be turned into and stored as fat. When our body needs a quick boost of energy, it converts glycogen into energy. When it needs a prolonged burst of energy, it converts fat to energy.
Carbohydrates are divided into two types: simple and complex. This is based on their chemical structure and reflects how quickly sugar is digested and absorbed.
These carbohydrates are mainly referred to as starches and are made up of three or more sugar molecules linked together. These carbohydrates are found in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, and seeds. They differ from simple carbohydrates, like sugar, which are only made up of one or two linked sugar molecules. Complex carbohydrates take longer for your body to break down than simple carbohydrates, helping to maintain a steadier blood-sugar level.
Simple carbohydrates are also called simple sugars and are made up of one or two sugar molecules linked together. Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits and milk products. Simple carbohydrates also include fruit juice, table sugar, honey, syrups, soft drinks, candy, baked goods, and all other processed and refined foods. These foods have fewer nutrients than foods with naturally occurring sugars, such as whole fruit or starches, and are absorbed into the bloodstream very quickly. A majority of these items will fall into the empty calorie category, meaning foods with little to no nutritional value.
Fiber 101—Huge Benefits, Zero Calories
Fiber is a component of carbohydrates. Fiber is so important that I include it as one of the five macronutrients. Fiber is the nondigestible part of the carbohydrate that can't be absorbed, therefore accounting for zero calories. Fiber is divided into two types: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber comes from fruits, vegetables, oats, beans, peas, lentils, barley, nuts, and seeds. When mixed with liquid, it forms a gel, which helps control blood sugar and reduces cholesterol. Insoluble fiber comes from fruits, grains, and vegetables. It adds bulk and acts like a brush to clean out the colon. It helps food pass through the digestive tract more quickly and prevents constipation.
Fiber helps regulate and stabilize blood-sugar levels; lowers low-density lipoproteins (LDL), known as bad cholesterol; increases food volume without increasing caloric content, providing satiety; slows the emptying of the stomach, shielding carbohydrates and delaying absorption of glucose; speeds the passage of foods through the digestive system; stimulates intestinal fermentation production of short-chain fatty acids; and adds bulk to the stool.
You should try to consume thirty to thirty-five grams of fiber each day. Some health benefits associated with fiber are that it:
* lowers the risk of heart disease,
* helps prevent atherosclerosis,
* aids in preventing type-two diabetes,
* helps prevent diverticular disease,
* keeps you more regular,
* helps lower blood pressure, and
* aids in weight loss and weight maintenance.
Fats 101—the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Fat (lipids) are the most misunderstood macronutrient of all. They have really gotten a bad rap from the misinformed dieting industry. Yes, saturated fats and trans-fats should be avoided at all costs because of their health risks. But monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are essential to our bodies for numerous reasons and have many health-promoting aspects.
The fact is, we all need fats. Fat helps nutrient absorption and nerve transmission and serves as a storage site for our fat-soluble vitamins. They keep our blood running smooth and help carry fat deposits out of the body, helping raise HDL levels (good cholesterol) while lowering LDL levels (bad cholesterol). They are a vital part of maintaining the function and integrity of cellular membranes and are also used as a source of energy. In fact, too few of the good fats can result in chronic fatigue, obesity, and even heart problems.
Fats are not created equal. Some fats promote good health while others increase our risks of health problems. The key is to replace bad fats with good fats in our diet.
The Good Fats
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) are fatty acids that have only one double bond in the fatty acid chain, with the remainder being single bonds. Monounsaturated fat is found in natural foods such as red meat, whole milk products, nuts, and high-fat fruits, such as olives and avocados. Monounsaturated fat helps lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol. Monounsaturated fat has also been proven to aid in weight loss, particularly body fat. Other great sources of monounsaturated fat are:
* canola oil;
* peanut oil;
* olive oil;
* seeds such as safflower, sunflower, and pumpkin; and
* almond butter, peanut butter, and cashew butter.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) are fatty acids made up of all double bonds in the fatty acid chain. Included in the class of polyunsaturated fat are omega-3, omega-6, and omega-9 fatty acid acids.
Polyunsaturated fat is found in seafood like salmon, herring, halibut, tuna, and other oily fish. Soy, flax seed, wheat germ, safflower, and sunflower oils are also high in polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fat, like monounsaturated fat, helps lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol while increasing HDL cholesterol, aiding in weight loss. Other great sources of polyunsaturated fat are:
* sunflower seeds,
* sesame seeds,
* peanut butter and nut butters,
* olive oil,
* whole grain, and
The Bad Fats
Saturated fat consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. This type of fat only has single bonds. To have an unsaturated, state there must be at least one double bond within the chain. Saturated fat is mainly found in animal products such as dairy, eggs, and seafood, as well as certain vegetable products, such as coconut, cottonseed oil, palm kernel oil, chocolate, and many prepared foods. Saturated fat raises triglycerides levels, total blood cholesterol, as well as LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Other sources of saturated fat include:
* coconut oil,
* coconut milk,
* cocoa butter, and
* palm oil.
These are all sources generally found in nondairy whipped toppings, coffee creamers, cookies, cakes, and other baked goods.
Trans fat was invented by scientists to "hydrogenate" liquid oils to last longer in the food-production process and provide a better shelf life. As a result, trans fatty acids are formed. Trans fatty acids are found in many packaged and fried foods, such as French fries and microwave popcorn, as well as in vegetable shortening and hard-stick margarine. Trans fat raises triglycerides levels, total blood cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol and is the only fat known to lower HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Avoid these fats. They are found in:
* cookies, crackers, cakes, muffins, pie crusts, pizza dough, breads;
* margarine and vegetable shortening;
* pre-mixed cake mixes, pancake mixes, and chocolate drink mixes;
* fried foods, including doughnuts, French fries, fried chicken, chicken nuggets, and hard taco shells;
* snack foods, including chips, candy, and packaged or microwave popcorn; and
* frozen dinners.
What to Do?
Read labels. Avoid using cooking oils that are high in saturated fats and/or trans-fats, such as coconut oil, palm oil, or vegetable shortening. Instead, use oils that are low in saturated fats and high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as canola oil, olive oil, and flax seed oil. Minimize using commercially packaged foods, which are high in trans-fats. Always read labels to look for trans-fat-free alternatives. Because saturated fats are found in animals products, use lean meats and lower-fat versions of dairy and cheeses, such as 1 and 2 percent or skim products instead of whole. Trim visible fat and skin from meat products.
Water 101—Essential to Every Living Cell
Water is essential for life. The human body consists of 70 percent water and provides hydration to every living cell. Water is the medium for all metabolic changes and necessary for nutrient transportation, blood flow, oxygen delivery, lubrication, waste elimination, and body temperature regulation.
Our bodies require a minimum amount of clean, pure, natural water every day to maintain a properly balanced level of hydration. Proper hydration increases cell communication, resulting in better health. Water transports chemical messengers, hormones, and nutrients to vital organs, which in turn produce substances that are made available to the rest of the body for proper and efficient functioning.
Today, too many of us drink coffee, fruit drinks, soft drinks, and other such products as a means of satisfying our thirst.
What many of us don't realize is that nearly all of these drinks in fact dehydrate the body. Good hydration is as important as good eating, and there is a minimum amount we need to maintain the level of water in our cells.
More benefits of a well-hydrated body include:
* increased oxygen availability to the cells;
* increased detoxification of the body;
* increased absorption and utilisation of nutrients;
* protection of the spinal cord and other sensitive tissues; and
* it helps rid waste through urination, perspiration, and bowel movements.
Water is also important for fat loss for several reasons:
* Water fills us up without adding any calories.
* Dehydration will degrade a person's ability to burn calories.
* Dehydration will reduce protein synthesis, which is needed to build or repair muscles.
I recommend drinking a minimum of two quarts of water per day. Obviously this amount can vary with size and activity level, but this is a good number to shoot for.
Note: If your urine is bright yellow, you are in a state of dehydration and need to drink more water.
Some interesting facts to note:
* The human brain is composed of 70 percent water.
* The lungs are composed of nearly 90 percent water.
* Lean muscle tissue contains about 75 percent water.
* Our bones are composed of 22 percent water.
* Body fat contains 10 percent water.
* Our blood is made up of nearly 80 percent water.
* Each day we must replace 2.5 liters of water through the consumption of water, beverages, and food.
I have struggled with my weight from childhood on, and I just settled for believing that's the way life was for some. As I grew older, I searched for change and tried every diet plan imaginable. Most never worked, and the ones that did seemed to always restrict my calories so much that it was impossible to stay on them. I went up and down for years, never finding anything that would actually work for me long term.
Excerpted from Get Your Lean On by TONY BEDNAROWSKI. Copyright © 2013 by TONY BEDNAROWSKI. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
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