As previously mentioned having a balanced meal and all that is well and good, but first we need to understand exactly what it is we are eating.
There are 3 major macro nutrients to be aware of and to recognize in their different forms as they are written out on a nutrition label.
- Carbohydrates – The first and perhaps most complex and vital aspect to consider on the nutrition label. Carbohydrates are the base of products like rice, potatoes, and oats. Simple carbohydrates are basic and break down quickly in the body. Sugary foods are often composed of simple carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, quinoa, and oats can make or break a diet so keep in mind what you’re eating will dictate just how much energy you’ll actually be able to utilize efficiently.
- Fat – The next is what many people fear because fat has been long etched into the minds as the evil in food. Fear not, fat is not out to get you and it actually is not the main cause of obesity in the United States. As a matter of fact healthy fats are absolutely essential for your body to function properly. A good example of healthy fat would be avocado or seeds of different kinds.
- Protein – Protein is the main component of muscle tissue as well as the precursor to many of the energy and growth related processes within the body. Protein is broken down by the organs into amino acids which are then distributed evenly in the healthy human body. This is mentioned third not because it is third in importance but because it is third in amount consumed in a proper diet.
Now that we’ve outlined the 3 major components of what would be on a food label and in a balanced diet, we can begin to understand how much of each nutrient we would usually see in an average product. This is different for individual products but we can square it out this way: 15 grams of carbohydrate = 1 serving. If we use this as a rule of thumb we can begin to assume that at any given point, products can have upwards of 5 or more servings depending on the meal or snack!
Understand the the nutrition label will tell you how many servings are in the product you are consuming, and how much of that product is equal to 1 serving size otherwise known as the size that the average person would consume of said product. Knowing how much you are consuming is important before you can start to look into the nutrient. Furthermore, take some time to learn just how much of each nutrient is considered 1 serving. You don’t want to be consuming more than 1-2 servings of each macro nutrient in a meal because that just leads to over-consumption which in turn is a stepping stone to being overweight.
Now you know a little bit more about what you’re looking at and how that constitutes what you’re eating and how that is affecting your body. The quantities of foods which you put into be monitored should be