ACHIEVING NUTRITIONAL BALANCE
So much of good health and healthy aging is maintaining balance – not too much of one thing or too little of another. And, one of the first keys to healthy nutrition is achieving nutritional balance – the right balance among the three macronutrients; carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Each of the macronutrients play important and different roles. One isn’t necessarily more important than the other. All three are needed for optimal nutrition and optimal health.
Carbohydrates: are the main energy source for the brain and muscles.
Fats: provide the building blocks for many hormones; cause a sense of satiety or fullness; transport fat soluable vitamins: structural component of every cell wall. Fat is not the villain you read about. In fact, most of the brain is made up of fats.
Proteins: provide building block for neurotransmitters; repairs and restores tissues; supports immune function.
The ratio of carbohydrates to fats to protein vary depending on an individual’s energy needs, body composition, hormone levels, lifestyle, and health status. Forget the USDA Food Pyramid.
Achieving food balance is more difficult in today’s society where much of our food is heavily processed and containing the unhealthy carbs (not all carbs are bad) frequently found in bags, boxes, cans, and jars.
We advocate using the Cenegenics Food Diamond (seen below) to guide you in your food choices to obtain balance between carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. For instance, endurance athletes require more carbohydrates while more muscular athletes require higher intakes of protein. The more active you are the more of all three macronutrients you will need in comparison to the more sedentary person.
Carbohydrates should mainly come from vegetables and then fruits, and then finally grains. Fats should come from nuts and seeds, olives, avocados, and organic nut butters. Proteins should come from leans sources including fish, poultry, lean red meats, eggs, dairy, soybeans and others.
NOTE how much of the food diamond is dedicated to water consumption. The body is 60% water and therefore should dominate what we consume. Also, note that the Food Diamond de-emphasizes intake of grains compared to the Food Pyramid developed by the Department of Agriculture (see a connection there to grains).
The Food Diamond is consistent with our overall philosophy on the importance of keeping insulin levels low while providing adequate intake of lean protein to support lean body mass with enough healthy fats. We will talk more about insulin levels and the glycemic index in upcoming articles.
Cenegenics Food Diamond