(Within scope of practice)

Paying attention to the food choices we make has become an important factor in daily life, and with good reason. An increasing number of reports have shown that in order to maintain health, we should consider low-carbohydrate, low-fat and high-protein diets. The “proper” portion of nutrients currently includes 55 to 60 percent fat (no more than 10 percent from saturated fat) and 10 to 15 percent protein.

Studies conducted by the Dr. Robert C. Atkins Foundation have produced valuable information concerning weight loss and low-carbohydrate diets. Millions of Americans have found short-term success in this weight loss plan by reducing the amount of carbohydrates in their diets. This initial success has led many to believe that carbohydrates are the fattening enemy. Carbohydrates are not the enemy; they are, in fact, our number one source of energy. Indeed, complex carbohydrates like whole grains and beans provide a steady stream of energy, while simple carbohydrates like refined sugars provide quick energy. However, overindulgence in carbohydrates still does not account for weight gain. Consuming too many calories daily is the real problem.

Taking in too many carbohydrates can make you overweight, as can consuming too much fat and, yes, even too much protein. This is not because of the type of nutrient, but because of the amount of calories it contains. In the midst of the low-carbohydrate diet, we seem to have forgotten about the almighty calorie.

Having the knowledge to determine how many calories your body needs on a daily basis is the starting point in helping my clients achieve their goals for weight loss, weight maintenance, or even weight gain. Education about the proper balance of fats, proteins and carbohydrates is essential for a healthy diet. The amount of what we consume in calories must equal the amount of calories expended through exercise and activities of daily living.  So eat smart and watch your quantities!

Breaux, Theodore A. “Keeping a Healthy Balance: A Guide to Help Determine Your Appropriate Daily Caloric Need.” American Fitness Jan. (2010): 66-69. Print.

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