Nutrition by Ileana LaGrutta

Everything You Need to Know About Sound Nutrition

5 Rules of Performance Nutrition

  • Eat 5 times a day: It is important to eat five meals a day in order to control your blood sugar level, receive enough protein for growth and recovery, and, by eating 5 meals a day, body fat will be used as energy rather than being stored.

  • Plan your meals with a caloric ratio of approximately 1 part fat, 2 parts protein, and 3 parts carbohydrates: You want to have the least amount of calories from fat because fat has 9 calories per gram. You can have double the calories coming from protein because protein is used for growth and repair of the body. During your meals, carbohydrate caloric intake can be the most because carbohydrates are used as an energy source.

  • Think of what you will be doing next when you eat: As you eat, you should be thinking of what you will be doing next. It is imperative to adjust your carbohydrate intake depending on how much activity you will be doing after you eat.

  • Alternate periods of negative calorie balance with positive calorie balance: If you are in a negative calorie balance, you will lose fat quickly and efficiently. That being said, if you are in a positive calorie balance you will gain muscle tissue quickly. Because of these two conflicting facts, it is important to alternate negative and positive calorie balance in order to lose fat but also gain muscle.

  • Vitamin and mineral supplements are helpful but definitely not a necessity: Average people can obtain all of the nutrients they need through diet, therefore supplements are not needed. A few cases can stray from this rule such as intense athletes or bodybuilders. These people may not be able to eat enough during the day or may need extra protein in order to perform thus making it okay for them to supplement their diet. That being said, average people do not need supplements.

Carbohydrates

Simple v. Complex Carbohydrates

Simple carbohydrates are, simply put, sugar. They include, but are not limited to:
1. Milk which contains lactose.

2. Fruit which contains fructose.

3. Candy which contains sucrose.


Complex carbohydrates are starches. They include, but are not limited to:
1. Grains such as pasta, rice, and breads.

2. Vegetables such as corn, potatoes, and squash.

3. Dry beans, lentils, and peas.

The Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is the “relative degree to which blood sugar increases after the consumption of food.” The index has three levels. Low-glycemic Foods, Moderate-glycemic Foods, and High-glycemic Foods. You can use this to your advantage in planning what to eat because high-glycemic foods can raise the blood glucose and insulin levels rapidly. Because of this, it is not recommended to eat too many high-glycemic foods. By using the index, you can see what foods are lower and plan your meals accordingly in order to keep your blood sugar balanced.

Fiber

Fiber is indigestible complex carbohydrates found in plant sources. It “helps promote efficient intestinal function and helps regulate the even absorption of sugars into the bloodstream.” Fiber is beneficial because it keeps our digestive system healthy and also lowers cholesterol. Along with a healthy digestive system and lower cholesterol, fiber can also reduce body fat. Lastly, fiber can prevent colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.


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Proteins

Amino Acids

"Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and muscle tissue." There are 21 amino acids. Out of those 21 amino acids, eight of the are essential. The different categories of amino acids are essential amino acids (Valine, Tryptophan, Methionine, Threonine, Phenylalanine, Lysine, Leucine, Isolecuine), or amino acids that cannot be created by the body and, therefore, must be found in diet, conditionally-essential amino acids (Tyrosine, Taurine, Proline, Glutamine, Cysteine, Arginine, HIstidine), or amino acids that cannot be produced by the body enough during illness, injury, or extreme emotional stress and nonessential amino acids (Serine, Glycine, Glutamic acid, Aspartic acid, Asparagine, Alanine), or amino acids that can be created by the body and, therefore, it is not essential to obtain them from food. Glutamic acid and Glutamine are important amino acids for strength training because they help muscle tissue grow.

Whey and Casein Protein

Although whey and casein protein are both derived from milk, they are very different. First, casein does not retain as much nitrogen as whey protein. Also, casein "has a lower glutamine proportion" than whey protein. Casein does not have as strong of an amino-acid profile as whey protein either. Lastly, casein releases more slowly into the bloodstream than whey protein. It is for these reasons that whey protein is important for athletes looking to increase their strength while casein is a good protein to eat later on at night.

Anabolism and Catabolism

Anabolism and catabolism, though both being metabolic processes, are two separate processes. Anabolism is "the synthesis of complex molecules in living organisms from simpler ones together with the storage of energy." It is also known as constructive metabolism. Catabolism is "the breakdown of complex molecules in living organisms to form simpler ones, together with the release of energy. It is also known as destructive metabolism.

How Much Protein is too Much Protein?

The amount of protein you should be consuming varies from person to person based on your body weight and exercise habits. For example, a bodybuilder should consume anywhere from 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight to 1.5 to 2 grams per pound of body weight. That being said, the average person should be consuming around a half a gram of protein per pound of body weight. You should be consuming some protein during each meal in order to stay in a positive anabolic state in regards to blood sugar. If you consume more protein than your body needs, it will be stored as fat.
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Fats

Fats Can Be Your Friend

Fats are not necessarily detrimental to your diet. They are actually essential. If you are an athlete, fats can be used as energy during training after carbohydrates are used for energy. Fats also help promote healthy skin and hair. By eating foods with fat in them, we are receiving essential fatty acids that the body can not produce by itself. These fatty acids help bodily functions such as regulating blood pressure. In addition to regulating blood pressure, fats also regulate cholesterol in your body.

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is beneficial to you because it forms cell membranes. It also makes vitamin D. Cholesterol makes hormones such as sex hormones as well. A specific kind of cholesterol known as High Density Lipids are beneficial to you because it protects against heart attack and stroke. Cholesterol is naturally made by the body. It can also be acquired by eating animal-based foods. Cholesterol is not found in plant-based foods.

MCTs

MCTs are medium-chain triglycerides. They are fatty acids that are absorbed much more quickly than long-chain triglycerides. Because of this, they are ready-to-use energy and can be used much faster. Since they are used as energy so quickly, they will very rarely get stored as fat and because of this, protein will not be forced to be used as energy. Lastly, MCTs carry amino acids into your muscles.
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