Nutrition is an extremely important aspect to your gains, and if you aren’t eating properly you aren’t going to make as much progress as you would like. Before you starting putting all of that time and effort in your routine you should get to know the basics when it comes to nutrition.
Many people make the mistake in thinking that they are doing the right thing when it comes to eating, meanwhile they make the same mistakes which can really hamper them down the line. Here are the biggest ones you need to know about, and how to avoid them.
Properly Digest Your Food
Arguably the first thing you should know about nutrition is how your body breaks down and processes these foods. Most people think of their stomachs when it comes to digestion, however the process starts much earlier than they probably realize.
Chemical digestion starts in your mouth believe it or not, as your salivary glands secrete an enzyme called amylase, one that the body uses to start the breakdown and digestion of carbohydrates.
Another thing people don’t consider is the mechanical side of digestion, which is carried out by our teeth. Believe it or not much of the digestion process can’t be done without chewing, making it an extremely important part of the digestive process.
This has to do with the makeup of the foods we eat, and how it can affect digestion. One may think that if you don’t chew your food it just ends up being broken down further along in the digestive process. This is not necessarily the case, and you definitely are missing out on plenty of valuable nutrients by not chewing properly.
This is especially the case for foods that are derived from plants, as many of the enzymes we use to digest our food can’t digest their cell wall-otherwise known as cellulose. The cell wall is what houses all of the nutrients we need from these plant cells, and if we don’t break through it, our body can’t get access to what it needs.
Another important thing here to consider is the hormone leptin, and its role in hunger. Leptin is secreted by the body to let you know when it is full. The longer you are chewing, the more the body produces the hormone, and the more it circulates through the body. Eating slowly will help you feel fuller, causing you to eat less overall.
Know Your Macros
All foods are not created equal, and neither are the macros which we gain from these foods. In nutrition, there are three macros-or three different sources of energy from which the body can get energy.
These are your fats, your carbohydrates, and your proteins. The first thing you need to know here is that fat has more than twice the energy, or calories per gram of weight as compared to carbohydrates or protein.
This doesn’t mean you should be avoiding fats altogether, but should be more mindful about the difference between 50 grams of protein and 50 grams of fat as far as energy consumption is concerned.
We need fats to function, as they are important when it comes to hormone production, membrane protection and health of the nervous system. Don’t cut out fat from your diet just because it is more energy rich than the other two macros.
Proteins are a macro most fitness fanatics are familiar with, as they know it is an important tool in the growth and repair of skeletal muscle. Not only is protein important in that aspect, but also because is a building block that the body uses to build other types of proteins-which are used in everything from cell signaling to fighting disease. Protein provides the added benefit of being a macro that really helps to suppress hunger too.
Last but not least we have carbohydrates. Carbs are the body’s preferred energy source, and are especially important in regards to optimal cognitive functioning. When the brain is starved of carbohydrates its ability to function plummets greatly, making carbs an important part of the diet.
Some carbs are more beneficial than others however, as simple sugars and other carbs which are easy for the body to digest, are in turn easy for the body to use immediately.
This can lead to problems regarding blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, so when it comes to carbs stick to complex ones and avoid simple sugars. Make whole grains part of your diet as opposed to sugary drinks and foods with added sugars.