Eating to Lose Weight

Nutrition

What does nutrition have to do with weight loss? If we understand nutrition, then we can make choices that naturally lead to healthy and permanent weight loss. Healthy, nourished bodies naturally retain less unhealthy ‘white’ body fat overall.

Nutrition is the process of breaking down food and substances taken in by the mouth to use for energy in the body. Now more focused on the steps of biochemical sequences through which substances inside us and other living organisms are transformed from one form to another – metabolism and metabolic pathways. 

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Nutrition also focuses on how diseases, conditions and problems can be prevented or lessened with a healthy diet. In addition, nutrition involves identifying how certain diseases, conditions or problems may be caused by dietary factors, such as poor diet (malnutrition), food allergies, metabolic diseases, etc. 

The human body consists of elements and compounds (nutrients) ingested, digested, absorbed, and circulated through the bloodstream to feed the cells of the body.

Nutrients

There are six major classes of nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, minerals, protein, vitamins, and water. These nutrient classes can be categorized as either macronutrients (needed in relatively large amounts) or micronutrients (needed in smaller quantities). The macronutrients include carbohydrates (including fiber), fats, protein, and water. The micronutrients are minerals and vitamins.

The macronutrients (excluding fiber and water) provide structural material (amino acids from which proteins are built, and lipids from which cell membranes and some signaling molecules are built) and energy. Some of the structural material can be used to generate energy internally, and in either case it is measured in Joules or kilocalories.

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Other micronutrients include antioxidants and phytochemicals, which are said to influence (or protect) some body systems.

Nutrient Dense Foods

These are fresh, unprocessed foods that were grown or raised in the best, most natural conditions.  They possess and provide the most nutrients per ounce of food; the nutrients are combined within in a way to promote proper utilization within the human body.  In other words, they contain a variety of nutrients in specific combinations necessary for proper digestion, absorption, and use within the body. 

When foods are processed, their molecular structure is broken down and certain components are lost, especially delicate vitamins and minerals, thus making processed foods empty calories that have little nutritional value. 

Diet and Physical Health

A nutritious diet is essential to promote and maintain overall physical health for any age.  The body needs nutrients in their naturally occurring forms to function and heal appropriately.  A diet full of nutrient dense foods provides the most effective nutrient combinations for promoting optimal physical health and helping the body to maintain its strength and integrity, defeat infection, and deter cancer development. 

The best diet for health is one composed of wholesome and fresh foods that are prepared by hand and not processed for ease of consumption.  Avoiding white flour and high fructose corn syrup as much as possible can help to greatly decrease inflammation and promote joint health. 

Guidelines for Healthy Eating:

  • Aiming for regular, balanced meals and snacks, every day.
  • Hitting most of the major food groups each day to meet your needs for growth and health. 
  • Balancing nutrition-rich foods with small to moderate amounts of other foods like sweets or fast foods. 
  • Eating when hungry and stopping when full.
  • Learning about nutrition, but keeping your food as just one important part of your life, not obsessing over what you eat. 

Healthy eating habits are essential to maintaining a healthy weight and a person’s weight is the result of several factors:

  • How much and what kinds of foods you eat.
  • Your physiologic and genetic make-up.
  • Your age and health status.
  • Whether your lifestyle includes regular physical activity.
  • Whether you use food to respond to stress and other situations in your life.

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