What is the healthiest way to distribute proteins, fats and carbohydrates in the meals during the day? Which nutrients should be predominant at breakfast, lunch and dinner? Stamen, 32y.
The reader’s question is truly exciting for the specialists in nutrition lately. The last published official research on the topic is from February 2014 and it says the distribution of macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) is of no particular importance in the context of a balanced hypo caloric diet. There are several main/basic rules which are important and I will try to figure them out below:
1. Consume enough proteins.
The recommended daily protein amount is around 1g per kg body weight. Protein needs are quite individual but the minimum is compulsory for everyone. However, the intake of larger amounts of proteins (excluding professional athletes) can lead to their storage in the form of fats. The protein molecule is quite complex, so it is processed rather slowly in order to serve as a direct source of energy for the organism. So, rely on other sources of calories like complex carbohydrates and unsaturated fats.
2. Carbohydrates are really important.
The human body has the capability to use all three types of macronutrients as energy source but it prefers carbohydrates in most of the cases (especially after physical activity). By taking enough amounts of carbohydrates, you allow the proteins and fats to fulfill their specific nutritional properties.
3. The type of carbohydrates is also important.
Emphasize on complex carbohydrates and avoid simple ones. Complex carbohydrates are made up of long saccharide chains. They are easily digested and release their energy slowly, and as they don’t sharply rise the insulin levels compared with the simple ones, the likelihood to be stored as fat is less. On the other hand, consuming more simple carbohydrates increases insulin release which leads to their storage in the form of fats.
4. Fats have their role.
The excessive intake of saturated and trans fats increases the risk for cardiac and many other problems, leads to metabolism slow down and increases cholesterol levels. Trans fats also belong to the group of saturated fats, but they are obtained by heating liquid vegetable oils to a high temperature. These fats are very harmful for your health – they lower the ‘good’ and increase the ‘bad’ cholesterol in blood. Regardless of the calories, these fats are hard to degrade in the body and increase remarkably the high levels of insulin release in blood. Trans fats are predominantly found in packaged and semi-cooked food.
5. Compared to the saturated fats, the unsaturated ones increase the good cholesterol at the expense of the bad.
They play important role for building up a proper hormonal milieu, improve nervous system functioning, strengthen the immune system and regulate blood glucose levels. Sources of unsaturated fats are fish, nuts, seeds, olive oil, olives, avocado.
6. When building a balanced dietary regimen, proteins, carbohydrates and fats are divided into certain percentage..
In order to distribute the foods in a proper way, we should use the info for the caloric composition of the separate macro elements: one gram carbohydrates have approximately 4 calories, 1g protein – also 4cal, and 1g fat – 9cal. This explains why it is necessary to strictly keep the caloric intake, because there is a risk to increase the non-functional body weight in the form of extra subcutaneous fat.
7. Water is also quite important
The constant regulated water intake ensures the movement of microelements in the blood towards muscle cells. Water is crucial for your health and muscle cell growth. Keeping your body well hydrated, we contribute to protein synthesis, digestion and mineral uptake.
8. Most of the nutritional regimens, especially these of the training people, are quite poor in fibers.
Most of the fibers can be obtained from the complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables in particular. Try to eat around 30g and more fibers a day. If your diet doesn’t allow you to take the necessary amount of fibers, you should take food additives in order to ensure it.