Tuesday, March 5

How nutrients fuel you

by JCC Association and One Club

Nutrients in our food provide sources of energy, act as building blocks to provide structure and regulate chemical reactions. 

The USDA Super Tracker helps you
plan meals and track nutrients
Three macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins and fats – get most of our attention.

Understanding how these macronutrients affect your body can help you create a more balanced diet that improves your fitness and overall health.

Carbohydrates: Our primary fuel source
·   Complex carbohydrates come from fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy   products.
·   Foods containing added sugars* (e.g., candy and soft drinks) are simple carbohydrates.
·   Carbs are broken down into glucose and delivered to cells to produce energy.

Protein: For the foundation of our musculoskeletal system
·   The structural material of bone, muscle and skin is composed of protein. 
·   Protein is used as a fuel source, but is not a primary source. 
·   Such foods as meats, legumes, eggs and nuts contain protein.

Fats: Fuels cell structures and energy
·   We need fats for cell membrane structure and in other systems of the body.
·   Fats work with glucose to provide large amounts of energy.
·   “Good” fats include vegetable oils, nuts, and fish. 
·   Foods high in “bad fats” include red meat, butter, and ice cream. 

A word about sugar
·   Natural sugar and added sugars differ. 
·   Natural sugars are in foods such as fruits and vegetables.
·   Cakes and cookies contain added sugar.
·   Eating too much added sugar can cause spikes and dips in blood sugar plus weight gain. 
·   Choose a healthy-carb diet over a no-carb way of eating.

General recommendations
·   Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and low-fat protein sources. 
·   Include foods with good fats and limit foods high in saturated fats (e.g., red meat).
·   Avoid foods that contain trans fats. 
·   Choose water (or other healthy beverages) over sugary drinks. 
·   Limit salt intake. 
·   Eat small meals throughout the day and never skip a meal.
·   Utilize the USDA’s plate model to determine correct proportions. 

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