Calories: The Good and Bad

Making (and keeping!) the commitment to yourself to have healthier eating habits is a tough thing to do.
Knowing how to implement that commitment may be even harder.

Where do you start? What foods should you eat? Which ones should you stay away from? These are all good questions you should answer before going out to the grocery store. But learning about what your body gets out of whatever food you choose is an even better place to start!

Why Food Is Essential

Every living thing needs nutrients to survive and, for most of us humans, we get nutrients from the foods we eat.

Nutrients come in two types; micronutrients and macronutrients.

Micronutrients are our vitamins and minerals and macronutrients are where our calories come from. Our bodies need to be supplied with vitamins, minerals, and calories every day in order to function properly.

Yes. We really do need calories to survive!

A Closer Look At Calories

Even though we do need calories to survive, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take notice of what calories we are consuming. Calories are micronutrients, but micronutrients can be broken down even further into three types; fat, carbohydrates, and proteins.

Many people are encouraged to believe that all fats and carbohydrates are bad and that a healthy diet is only (or mostly) just protein. If this were the case, that would knock out two of the three essential macronutrients and would leave our diets to be not very enjoyable.

Fortunately, not all fats are bad and the same goes for carbohydrates.

With all the negative publicity recently, you might be afraid to eat any carbohydrates at all, but carbohydrates are the main fuel source for our bodies and our brains! Our brain can’t use anything else to power itself with and our muscles will work the best on it.

Don’t deprive yourself of carbohydrates. Instead, learn which carbohydrates are most beneficial for your body and create better eating habits around them.

Carbohydrates that you should stay away from are the simple sugars that are found in candy, sodas, and many snacks.

Good carbohydrates such as those found in whole wheat foods and fruits will keep you energized throughout the day and will manage your sugar levels to avoid highs and lows.

You shouldn’t ban fats from your meals either because they also serve vital roles within our bodies.

Without fat, our body wouldn’t be able to utilize some of the vitamins we consume! Fat is also found in our cell walls and makes up a big part of our many, many hormones. Good, unsaturated fats come from plant sources such as nuts and olives and should be consumed in reasonable amounts.
Not all fats are good fats though, and some fats that you should avoid are saturated fats. Saturated fats come in meat, milk, and dairy products.

Paying attention to the types and amounts of calories we consume instead of just cutting out entire categories allows us to have healthy eating habits that are maintainable because they include a wide variety of delicious foods. This variety helps us stick to our habits long-term as we discover and enjoy new delicious, nutritious meals!

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