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What is a Balanced Diet and Why is it Important?

There are a plethora of fad diets out there all promising the same things, fast results. Keto, paleo, low carb, intermittent fasting, whole30, and atkins are just a couple that all promise results in a shorter time frame. Before I continue, it is important to note that these diets may be suitable for some individuals and not others because we are all different. So what is the best solution that we can all follow to be our healthiest selves? I suggest a whole food balanced diet. That means consuming as many whole, natural food as possible while also in balanced proportions to Neutralize and Optimize our Weaknesses.

Let's start with carbohydrates. What many people view almost as demonic, is actually incredibly important to daily physical and mental activity. It is recommended that individuals consume anywhere from 6-10g per 1 Kg of body mass, or around 40-50% of their daily calories. If you are an individual who is more sedentary, go with 6-8g per 1 kg. If you are more active, you can increase your carbohydrate intake to upwards of 65-70% of your daily caloric intake. Another important part of carbs to understand is low vs. high glycemic index foods. To simply put it, foods with a high glycemic index will spike insulin releases in the bloodstream to provide your body with quick energy. Examples of foods with a high glycemic index are honey, bananas, and white bread. Now this is not to say that these foods are bad, but should be consumed wisely and in moderation. Examples of low glycemic index foods are apples, kidney beans, and peanuts. These will have a slower release into the bloodstream, having a less substantial impact on insulin release. The reason why "carbs" are viewed as bad is because the typical American will consume a majority of their carbs in the form of simple sugars. Unless these simple sugars are used for exercise or fuel, they are stored in adipose tissue as fat. With continued over consumption, the adipose fat reserves grow larger.

Now speaking of fats, they are like carbohydrates in the sense that they are not all bad. Fats are actually incredibly important in terms of hormone regulation and internal organ protection. The recommended amount of lipids that one should be consuming is 20-25% of their daily caloric intake. For example, if I consumed 2000 kcal a day I would consume around 45g because 1g of fat is 9 kcal, making that equivalent to around 400 kcal. Now it is important again to understand that not all fats are created equal. There are saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats typically come from animal meats, egg yolks, dairy fats, and cheeses, and should only make up about 7% of your daily fat intake. Unsaturated fats are typically found in peanuts, olive oil, pecans and avocados. These fats are incredibly beneficial to the body, and actually help lower the chance of coronary heart disease.

And last but not least, proteins. There has been a massive push for consuming as much protein as possible. While protein can aid in weight loss due to the body feeling more full for longer, many of us are likely consuming it in excess. Now it is incredibly important for muscle synthesis and repair, but our bodies do not have a natural reservoir for storing any extra we consume. When looking at the recommended amount of protein an individual should be consuming, for adults it is around 0.8g per 1 kg of body mass. That means if an adult male weighs 160 lbs, he only needs to be consuming around 58g of proteins a day. Now you're probably asking yourself, what about athletes!? Individuals who are involved in intense exercise should be consuming 1.2-2.0g of protein per 1 kg of body mass. Again for an individual who weighs 160lbs, that means consuming at most 146g per day. It has been shown that those who compete in high intensity endurance competitions require a larger amount of carbohydrates and proteins to promote sufficient glycogen repletion. But if you are an ordinary human being, you are very likely wasting a lot of money on proteins that you're body can't use and flushing it down your toilet.

So what does all of this information mean? These are simply the building blocks to building a balanced diet. Each macronutrient is important in their own way, whether it be the energy provided from carbohydrates, or the regulation of our hormones from fats. The over consumption of one and under consumption of another isn't always the healthiest option. We all need to balance every aspect of our plate at each meal in order to take a step towards Neutralize and Optimize our Weaknesses. Stay fit, stay healthy, and get after it!

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