I’m kicking off with a new weekly series: You are what you eat. I’d like to share with you what I’ve learnt in the subject over the course of the last few years. I’m no expert by any means, although I’ve spent a long time searching for all those pieces of information. Also, before we start, I’d like to point out one important thing: although eating healthy is good for you, being obsessive about it is not! Whatever you do and however you choose to care about your health has to be done with moderation and should never take over control of your life.
In this episode I’d like to briefly list all the things I’ll talk about in the next weeks.
You’ve definitely heard of the three main nutrients there are: proteins, carbohydrates and fats. WHO (World’s Health Organisation) suggests that around 20% of your daily calories come from proteins, 25% from fats and the rest – 55% – from carbohydrates. What does that mean? Well, generally we could use the rule saying that 1 g of proteins and 1 g of carbohydrates are both worth 4 kcal, while 1 g of fat – 9 kcal. Now, let’s assume your daily recommended consumption is around 2000 kcal (this value varies between people significantly, it’s just an example and you shouldn’t follow it without knowing if it’s right for you. Also, counting calories is stupid itself). Having settled what percentage of calories should come from certain sources, we can evaluate that we should consume 400 kcal in proteins, 500 in fats and 1100 in carbohydrates. Now, knowing how much a kcal of each nutrient weighs, we also know that the daily recommended consumption is 100 g of protein, 55 g of fat and 275 g of carbohydrates. And although the values will be different for everyone, the proportions should stay more or less the same. And that’s the only part that really matters. Instead of counting calories, we should simply never starve and never undereat and try to keep balanced proportions of nutrients in our diet. Note that all of the above applies to people who want to eat healthy and maintain their current weight.
Sadly, there are very few foods that have the ideal proportions of the three nutrients. And unfortunately, because each nutrient plays a different role in our bodies, one cannot replace another. Unbalanced consumption leads to serious consequences in the long term. I’ll talk about each nutrient separately in future episodes with much more detail and I’ll give you examples of products rich in them.
There’s much more to healthy eating than just the main nutrients though. We cannot forget about microelements and vitamins too. Each of them is responsible for keeping some of our body functions in good shape and if one of them is missing, it results in certain symptoms – I’ll go into more details later as well.
I’ll end this introduction by saying that the point of this series isn’t to make you note every bite of what you eat and obsessively check if it fits in your daily consumption. What it is supposed to do is show you that some of the health issues you might be struggling with (even if you don’t find them to be health issues, for example being constantly tired) may be caused by improper nutritioning. We are what we eat, and our diet heavily affects our bodily functions.