Hey Life Warriors!
Nowadays, nutrition is a topic that has gained a lot of importance. More and more people are concerned about their health and well-being, and they know that food plays a fundamental role in it. However, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available, and often don’t know where to start. Hence, we think that simplifying nutrition is key for Life Warriors to find an easy and simple way to nourish themselves.
In this article we are going to try to offer some basic principles that form our food pyramid. I am not referring to the classic pyramid that gives you food groups and the frequency with which you should eat them (if you are not sure, it is still a good source of information), but rather the pyramid that tells you how important each concept is at the time to get the results you are looking for:
At the base of the pyramid, we have the caloric balance, that is, the difference between the calories you need and those you eat. There is no other concept more important than this. It doesn’t matter the quality of what you eat, the proteins, the hours at which you eat… none of this will make you overcome a wrong caloric balance. If you want to lose weight, you have to eat fewer calories than you expend, and it doesn’t matter if those calories come from buns or fruit.
The next step in the pyramid would be protein. Once I have a correct balance, I have to ensure my daily protein intake which needs to be between 1,5 and 2 grams per kilogram of ideal bodyweight. If you have never checked how many proteins you are eating, odds are you will be way below that threshold. Even if you eat the right amount of calories, if you fail with protein, you will lose muscle mass. You may not realize it, because if the caloric balance is right, the weight will drop if I’m in deficit or stay off if I’m on maintenance, but what’s actually happening is that I’ll be trading muscle for fat, as we explained in this previous post. You can see it in this example:
Thirdly, we will have the quality of the food we eat. Not only is it different for the body to process a macronutrient depending on its origin, but we also have to look at what comes around with macronutrients. For example, a Fondant Donut (55 gr) gives me 3g of protein, 25g of carbohydrates and 14g of fat (about 239 Cal). On the other hand, a Fuji apple gives me almost the same carbohydrates (29g) but less than half the calories, since it hardly gives me any fat, but it does give me fiber and vitamins, something that the Donut does not. In addition, the fats that the Donut gives me are mostly saturated fats, which, although they have the same calories per gram as unsaturated fats (9 Cal/g), have a negative effect on my cholesterol and triglyceride levels than unsaturated fats. unsaturated do not have
Does this mean that fondant donuts are the devil himself? No; There are no good foods and bad foods, there are only different recommended consumption frequencies for each meal. It’s okay to eat a donut occasionally. There is something wrong with eating two donuts every day. On the other hand, nothing happens because you eat two apples a day. Your body’s tolerance is much higher for apples than donuts. Understanding this concept is essential for you to build a healthy relationship with food.
The fourth floor of the pyramid would be for meal timing; that is, how often and at what time do you eat. This factor is very unimportant. This does not mean that it has no influence at all, but rather that its influence is pretty low. At this point some myths and some misunderstandings about food would enter:
– Intermittent fasting has many benefits (which we won’t go into now) but fasting per se is not going to help you lose fat. To lose fat, the essential conditions are to have a caloric deficit and take enough protein. I can do both without intermittent fasting, and I can do intermittent fasting without either. If intermittent fasting helps you achieve that caloric deficit due to your lifestyle, go ahead with it, but they are two things that do not have to go together.
– Eating carbs at night won’t make you fatter than eating them in the morning. Whenever you eat them, they have the same calories. There may be a very slight effect of eating a very late dinner, just before you go to bed, but it is a very, very slight effect. The same goes for any other macro you eat at night.
– The body does not go “in alarm mode” if you spend many hours without eating and of course you do not need to eat every two hours to keep your metabolism high. It’s the total calories throughout the day that count, whether you’ve eaten them in three meals, five, or twenty-five. As we said before, there are benefits to spacing out meals as much as possible, but they don’t have to do with losing more or less fat.
In the last place of the pyramid we have the supplements. Supplements are last because they are the least important. In fact, they are completely unnecessary to achieve your goal. Going even a little further, the vast majority of them do not have any scientific support, and within this vast majority are all the fat burning or ” fat burners ”. There are a few supplements like protein, which can make you more comfortable reaching your goals, but they don’t give you anything that you won’t find in normal food. It’s just more palatable to have a chocolate flavored protein shake in the morning (40g of protein) than the 200g of chicken tenders it would take to get to the same amount.