hm00489_The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books.  I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.

There are three basic ingredients in your daily food intake…(this is not to mention all the vitamins and mineral requirements)

You need all three in your diet. But in what ratio? Let’s first take a look at each group.

Proteins are the body’s building blocks.  You need them for muscle and connective tissue growth.  Proteins do not stimulate your body’s insulin production and therefore your blood sugar doesn’t drop and you do not feel hungry later.

Proteins also take a while to digest, so they make you feel fuller longer.  Proteins do not supply much fiber, which is necessary to keep your digestive track in order so you must remember to get fiber from another source.

The basic building blocks of all proteins are amino acids.  There are 20 amino acids, nine of which are considered essential because your body cannot make them so they must be supplied in your diet.  The other eleven are known as non essential because your body has the ability to manufacture them.

Proteins are found in both animal and plant foods.  For a food to be able to support growth and life it must contain all nine essential amino acids and is therefore known as a complete protein.  Foods that have a deficiency of one or more of the nine essential amino acids are known as incomplete proteins.

Animal products are considered higher quality proteins than plant products because animal proteins are complete proteins, containing all nine essential amino acids and in large amounts. While most plant proteins are considered incomplete, they may be combined and when eaten in proper combinations they do provide complete proteins.  The only plant protein that is an exception to this is the soybean. Soybeans are considered a complete protein and are comparable to animal protein.

If your diet does not contain enough carbohydrates to supply your body with the needed glucose, protein can be used as an energy source and will synthesize glucose.  This process is called gluconeogenesis and is a costly state to be in because it robs from the your muscles as if you were in a state of starvation.

So how much protein do you need to consume?  Some studies recommend as much as four grams of protein per kilogram of body weight while others suggest as little as 0.8 grams per kilogram are required.

It is recommended that endurance athletes consume approximately 1.5 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for the first few months of training.  After a few months the amount can be reduced to 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.

For strength and power athletes, it is recommended that you consume between 1.4 and 2.4 grams of proteins per kilogram of bodyweight per day with an average of about 1.7.  It is also important to note two things.  First one pound of muscle (.45 kg.) contains about 100 grams of protein.  So in order to gain one pound of muscle mass per week, you need to consume approximately 14.3 grams of extra protein per day. (as well as other calories)

Secondly, there is no evidence to support intakes of 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day more, will improve muscle mass during heavy weight training.  Although the higher protein levels won’t harm you, excessive levels may bring along higher levels of saturated fat and cholesterol.

You should try to consume protein in small portions throughout the day and limit the amount you do eat to about 30 grams per meal.
High Protein foods include, red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, milk and cheese.  However, be careful to eat protein foods that are low in fat and cholesterol.  So try to select lean meats, non fat milk and low fat cheeses.

The primary function of carbohydrates is to provide an economical energy supply for your body.  Carbohydrates also furnish important vitamins and minerals and flavor to foods and beverages. Carbohydrates can be found in your food supply as starches, sugars and fibers.  Carbohydrates can be broken down into two groups, Simple and Complex.

Simple carbohydrates are your basic sugars, and can be turned into a quick energy source.  The complex carbohydrates are a longer burning energy source and are found in bread, potatoes, starch vegetables, pasta and rice.
Approximately 50 to 60 percent of your daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrate rich foods.

Insulin levels can play a major role in fat storage.  Insulin a protein hormone is released by the beta cells of the pancreas in response to sugar and amino acids in the bloodstream.  Insulin aids in the transport of carbohydrates and amino acids into muscles, promoting synthesis of muscle glycogen and protein.  A problem arises when too many carbohydrate calories are consumed.  Although you will gain more energy, size and strength from the increase of insulin, it also effects fat storage.  Insulin release stimulates the enzyme lipoprotein lipase that plays a key role in fat synthesis while inhibiting the enzyme hormone sensitive lipase which encourages fat breakdown and metabolism.

Carbohydrates can be converted and stored as fat and the faster a carbohydrate breaks down the more insulin is produced, and the easier it is that fat can be deposited.  It’s also a good idea to limit your carbohydrate intake for at least three hours before you go to sleep.

Gram for gram, fats provide more than twice the energy or calories as either carbohydrates or proteins.  It’s a shame fats are so terrible because they do add a richness and creaminess to food.

Fats also make up part of the structure of cells and provide an essential fatty acid (linoleic).  Scientists now believe that fat is incorporated into your ‘fat’ more easily than other types of foods.

Fat also increases the viscosity (stickiness) of blood, and sticky blood clumps together and attaches to the walls of blood vessels.  This causes more clumping, interfering with blood flow and impairs cell breathing.  You can see how a high fat diet can increase your risk of a stroke or heart attack.  High fat diets have been implicated in certain types of cancers, particularly that of the bowl and breast.

So how much fat is too much?  Well…The daily consumption of dietary fat in most diets is over 40 percent to total calories. The Fat in your diet should be in the 15% range however some suggest the fat intake can be as high as 30% of your total daily calories.  Ideally it should be no more than 67 grams.

One of the most popular forms of fat is called saturated fat.  Saturated fat is any fat that is solid at room temperature, like fat obtained from animal products, palm oil, coconut oil, hydrogenated vegetable oil. Foods containing saturated fat include meat, fish, poultry, milk products, eggs, lard, butter, shortening, margarine, non dairy creamers, dessert toppings, chocolate bars, cookies and crackers.

I’ve briefly talked about fats, but what are the differences?  Well first fats are made up of fatty acids.  When three fatty acids attach to a glycerol molecule it forms what is called a triglyceride, which is the most common fat found in your bloodstream and the foods you eat. Each carbon atom has the ability of bonding with two hydrogen atoms.  When every carbon atom on the chain has bonded with two hydrogen atoms the fatty acid is called saturated.  The more saturated a fat is the more harmful it is.  If some carbon atoms have not bonded with the hydrogen, the fatty acid is unsaturated and generally healthier for you.

Unsaturated fat is found in two forms, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.  When a link exists between adjacent carbon atoms, it forms what is called a double bond.  When only one double bond exists it’s called monounsaturated and when more than one double bond exists it’s called polyunsaturated.

It sounds confusing I know but from bat to better it’s saturated fad (lard), polyunsaturated (corn oil) and monounsaturated (olive oil)

I know you want to get in shape and look great.  Whatever your fitness goal…to slim down…gain muscle…tone your arms or flatten your tummy…I’m here to help you accomplish your goals and to improve your fitness level. If you have enjoyed this article and the many other free features on my site, and would like some more comprehensive information such as fitness books and CD’s to aid you in achieving your health and fitness goals, please visit my ONLINE STORE where you will find innovative natural health and beauty products to help you become the BEST YOU CAN BE !