Nutrition

WHAT IS NUTRITION?

Nutrition is your body breaking down food to use as fuel for your muscles, cells, organs, and other functions.  Much like putting gas in your car, the type of food you eat yields more or less energy than other foods, breaking it down into energy called calories.

THE BREAKDOWN OF CALORIES

Your body breaks down food and yields an amount of calories per gram as follows:

PROTIEN = 4 Calories

FAT = 9 Calories

CARBS = 4 Calories

ALCOHOL = 7 Calories

DID YOU KNOW? Regular table sugar is a carb

Your body will use carbs as the primary fuel during the day since it is easy to break down and use as energy.  Fat is used when exercising for long periods and the body switches to burning fat since it yields more calories per gram.  You will also use protein on rare occasions but mostly protein is used to repair and build muscles after exercise.

THE GOLDEN RULE: CALORIES IN = CALORIES OUT

For all the “fad” diets that are out in the world today this is the GOLDEN RULE.  Based on your body’s metabolism you will burn a certain amount of calories a day just to live i.e. brain functions, digestion, pumping your heart, and other actions to keep your body going.  For the average person this daily amount is about 1800 calories, a little more for men and a little less for women.  Therefore adding in regular daily activities such as walking and other tasks we get our recommended 2000 calories a day.

DID YOU KNOW? It takes 25 times more calories to maintain muscle then it does fat when not exercising.

So the equation is simple.  To lose weight Calories In has to be < Calories Out. In other words you have to be burning more calories per day than you are taking in. The recommended amount is 500 calories less per day. So if you are working out 3 times a week and your body needs 2000 calories a day to maintain then you should be eating 1500 calories a day to lose weight in a safe and healthy way.

Most “fad” diets work in the short term by cutting out essential sources of energy like carbs, forcing your body to burn fat all the time resulting in rapid weight loss; BUT as soon as carbs are reintroduced into your body it will store them in large amounts to conserve it since they have become scarse, meaning fat, and making it harder to lose the weight.

TRACKING YOUR NUTRITION AND FITNESS

A great way to keep yourself on track is by going to MyPyramid.gov which is a nutrition website constructed for the purpose of informing people about healthy eating.  On the website you can track everything you eat and all your physical activity to find out a healthy diet for yourself.  To get started with your own free personal account follow these steps:

1. Go to the MyPyramid.gov website and on the left hand column click on the MyPyramid Tracker.

2. Once here you can go through a tutorial on all the tracker’s functions or click on one of the assessments.

3. You will be asked to create a user name and password with some personal information.  Just height, weight, age, and gender to personalize your assessment.

4. Once your account is created proceed to food intake entry.  Input type in what you ate and drank during the day and the quantity you had of each.

5. After you have input your food click on the physical activity button at the top of the page, here you will input the physical activities you have done during the day and the duration in minutes.

6. When both of these have been added you can now anaylze both your food intake along with your physical activity or individually.

DID YOU KNOW? There are many common misconceptions about nutrition? Click NUTRITION on the tab bar for a list of them along with the “Topic Of The Week”.

To learn more about nutrition and exercise for yourself go to either Adult or Youth Nutrition for more information