Seriously, what do I eat? Part 1
Ok guys, let’s talk nutrition. If you’re just starting out on this whole diet and exercise thing, eating right can get pretty confusing if you listen to all the “experts” out there. Any yahoo with a pen can write a nutrition book or come up with a crazy diet. What I’m about to tell you comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, so you know its good. I’m going to break this up into a couple blogs over the next couple days so I don’t come at you with a novel of information.
First, let’s talk about the dreaded of all words: CALORIES!!!! Dun dun duuuuun. What is a calorie exactly? A calorie is the amount of heat necessary to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by 1 degree C. (That doesn’t sound scary at all.) Food energy is measured in calories. When our body breaks down energy producing nutrients such as carbs, fat and proteins, heat is produced. Here’s an example for you: if an apple has 100 calories, it means that enough heat is produced to raise the temperature of 100 kilograms of water by 1 degree Celsius when the apple is broken down and used for energy. To me, this shouldn’t strike fear into the heart of women everywhere, but for some reason, that word CALORIE is one scary word.
Calories come from carbohydrate, fat, protein, and alcohol. Carbohydrate and protein contain four calories per gram, fat contains nine calories per gram, and alcohol contains seven. So, if you’re reading the nutrition label of something, now you know where all your calories are coming from. Example: one 8 oz. serving of whole milk has 12 grams of carbs, 9 grams of fat and 9 grams of protein. I’ll wait while you get a calculator…………………………………………..thats 165 calories, with about 50% coming from fat (saturated fat at that). When you read labels, make sure you’re looking at the serving size. If a container has two serving sizes and you plan to eat the whole container in one sitting (ice cream comes to mind), double everything on the nutrition label.
How many calories should you be eating? To begin with, men should not go below 1600 cal/day, and women should not go below 1200 cal/day. If you’re working out, you need more calories. Remember, calories are food ENERGY. In the next part of the series, we’ll talk about what foods should be in those calories you’re consuming.
Lesson to be learned from this entry: Calories aren’t to be feared as long as you’re getting them from nutritional sources. Calories are just units of heat.
Heat up those calories! Get sweaty!