To create a healthy, fit physique it's important to eat the right foods. Consuming the right nutrients in ideal amounts can dramatically help to change the way you look, and those nutrients are known as protein, carbohydrates and fats. Here are some general guidelines for each macronutrient:
Protein - This is the building block for adding muscle mass and strength. Complete protein foods like meats, eggs, chicken and fish have all the essential amino acids needed to rebuild muscle tissue. Each of your multiple meals per day should contain one source of complete protein.
A good guideline to follow is 1 gram of protein for each pound of body weight per day. This should provide plenty of protein for anyone who is looking to gain muscle. If you are sticking to a low carbohydrate, low calorie diet to lose weight, you might want to consider increasing this general recommendation to 1.25 or even 1.5 grams of protein for each pound of body weight.
Carbohydrates - Carbs are your main source of energy. It's easier for your body to break down sugars for energy compared to protein or fats. In order to keep your blood sugar stable, stick with complex carbohydrates that are broken down more slowly.
Carbs and fats are mostly used for energy when protein intake is high enough to restore muscle tissue regeneration. If your fat intake is low, you can increase carbohydrate consumption. Start with 1.5 grams for each pound of body weight per day and see what results you get. You may have to slightly increase or decrease this amount based on your metabolism and activity level.
Fats - Many people do not even consider their fat intake when planning out a diet. Some protein foods, like beef and eggs, are high in fat, so eating some of these foods will increase your fat intake automatically.
Just as you should avoid simple carbohydrates (sugars) because they're highly processed and contribute to energy spikes and crashes, you should avoid foods that contain a lot of saturated fats. It's the monounsaturated fats including omega-3 fatty acids that you should favor when planning your meals.
If you're eating a moderately high amount of carbohydrates, you should eat a lower amount of total fat in your diet (40-50 grams a day). If you are decreasing your total intake of carbs, you'll need to get more fats to compensate for the lower carbohydrates. Just be sure to eat good, healthy fats from nuts, seeds, olive oil and cold water fish.
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