Proper nutrition is vital to health whether or not you are dieting for weight loss. Any diet that is likely to lead to long term weight loss is one that follows the principles of good nutrition and health. Healthy diets are balanced diets and weight loss is the benefit of becoming healthy. Eating healthy involves consuming moderate quantities of foods representing all of the basic food groups. Everyone needs a combination of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates to function properly.
Carbohydrates, Fats and Protein
Generally speaking, most adults require between 2000 and 2500 calories each day. This number can fluctuate upward or downwards based on an individual’s size, activity levels, and weight loss goals. To maintain a proper nutritional balance, the largest proportion of your calories should come from carbohydrates and the smallest portion should come from protein sources. The ideal balance is 20% protein, 30% fats, and 50% carbohydrates.
While carbohydrates often get a bad rap, they are an essential component of proper nutrition. The body derives its energy from consumed carbohydrates, both simple and compound. While some fad diets promote severely restricting the intake of all fat, fats are required for a healthy diet. The human body needs fatty acids to maintain health. Likewise, protein is also necessary for healthy body function, in the proper portion.
Problems with carbohydrate, fat, and protein consumption result from excess consumption, not from the substances themselves. A balanced meal consists of a single serving of meat or other source of protein, one serving of starch, and one serving of vegetable or fruit. Most people should consume approximately three ounces of protein at each meal. A good serving size for pasta, which provides protein, is about one cup. Healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil are much better for heath promotion than saturated fats and trans fats. When it comes to getting your vegetables, about two cups of leafy green vegetables is an ideal serving size.
When eating for weight loss, you also need to consider the calorie content of the foods that you are eating while still maintaining the proper proportions of each food group for balanced nutrition. Fat, for example, is one of the most calorie-dense forms of nutrition. There are nine calories per gram of fat, while there are four calories per gram of carbohydrate. You need some fat to promote health, but when it comes to eating for weight loss, it is important to remember that foods lower in fat are a better calorie bargain.
It’s also a good idea to remind yourself that candy isn’t one of the basic food groups. While a single piece of candy isn’t going to ruin an otherwise healthful diet, most candy products provide little nutritional value but are high in fat and sugar. When you are eating to lose or control your weight, you should build your diet around foods that provide the maximum nutrition with the fewest calories.
One way to make an impact on what and how you eat is to keep a food diary. By writing down every thing that you eat over a period of time, you will develop a better understanding of how your diet stands in terms of balance and the basics of nutrition.