We could go down the rabbit hole of eating to fuel yourself, not having any ‘treats’ until you don’t feel like having them etc.
However, we live in the real world, and it’s not always possible to make perfect diet choices all the time, equally if we are going away on holiday, do we really want to restrict ourselves when we should be unwinding?
Now that said, we still need to ensure we are fuelling correctly for our goals, so, if we want to lose weight we need to be in a calorie deficit, if we are looking to increase performance we may need to have a surplus and finally if we are happy (awesome job and well done!) then maintenance calories are for us.
Let’s take a look at the macronutrients that make up our foods:
Carbohydrates – Sugars, starches and fibers, arguably these have had the biggest bashing over the last few years, mainly due to being present in unhealthy foods such as donuts, cakes and the like.
It’s important to split carbs into their 2 sections
- Simple – release sugar faster because they are made with processed and refined sugar and don’t contain any vitamins, minerals, or fibers
- Complex – are processed more slowly and are filled with various nutrients.
So complex carbs are able to fuel us for longer and leave us feeling more satiated.
Protein – these make up muscle fibres, connective tissues, hair and skin. Sources include:
- Animal products, such as meat and fish, contain all the essential amino acids.
- Soy products, quinoa, and the seeds of a leafy green called Amaranth also contain all the essential amino acids. Plant proteins usually lack at least one amino acid, so eating a combination of different plant proteins throughout the day is important for vegetarians and vegans.
Fats – like carbs, fats come in 2 shapes:
- Saturated – Animal fats, butters and some oils (coconut oil)
- Unsaturated – Avocado, olive oil, cold water fish (salmon, mackerel) and nuts
Both play a role in our bodies, saturated fats assist in hormone production, help your metabolism function and produce vitamin D. Diets high in saturated fats can increase the risk of cholesterol, which in turn can increase the risk of heart disease.
Unsaturated fats help to regulate our metabolism, improve blood flow and promote cell growth and renewal.
Whilst everyone is different, a general mix of the 3 can be done by percentages, there are many apps that allow you to see what your macronutrient breakdowns are, and Team SF can also help with this.
This isn’t a call to arms for logging every calorie, and tracking anything that goes into your mouth, however, we can by tracking a few days worth of our intake see what our percentage spread is for each of them.
Currently, the daily reference values are:
- Carbs – 50%
- Fats – 35% (no more than 11% from saturates)
- Proteins – 15%
As with everything, there are a varying number of thoughts around these percentages, and it is dependent on a number of factors such as the type of training being undertaken, the volume and intensity and the goal.
Some people respond better to a lower carb diet and some to higher protein, there really isn’t one size fits all for this and as such indicates why the above percentages take a hit from many other professionals.
A bit like BMI, this is a general purpose, maybe those numbers don’t fit everyone exactly, but if it gets people understanding the types of food they are consuming and helps to move them towards their goals by doing so then have they not done their job?
If you have any questions about your diet and macronutrients, be sure to ask a Member of Team SF – firstname.lastname@example.org