Educate yourself the fundamentals of food
Food is essential for the creation, growth, and maintenance of our body. It is usually also the cause of gradual or rapid deterioration of the body. It is thus essential to learn about foods so that we can wisely choose from the whole range of products offered to us.
Nature has made all animals, including human, to have the capacity to survive for a long time in the absence of food availability. Animals thus consume food at a very high rate when food is plentiful, mainly carbohydrates, and store it into body fat for the lean periods. In the case of human, food is always plentiful, especially if you leave out poor people in the have-not nations. Thus if we follow the nature, we will continue to eat and gain weight, forever.
Some people have naturally high metabolic rate. They burn energy at a higher rate than normal and thus can eat more without appearing chubby. Some absorb foods poorly into body. They can eat a lot without gaining weight. Most of us have normal metabolism and normal, efficient food absorption. Neither sustained high metabolism nor inefficient food absorption is sign of a healthy body. So, don't envy such people.
Another group of people have rather low metabolic rate. The calories they require to maintain basic function is much lower than normal. These people may not lose weight, even gain some, on a diet some others of the same body weight would lose weight on. They need to determine their food requirement based on their lower metabolic rate.
is the function of food?
Food provides body elements to build, develop, maintain, heal, work, reproduce, think, etc. Body requires a balanced food - protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc., and of course lots of water. Protein is required for building and rebuilding muscles taking part in voluntary and involuntary functions of the body. Carbohydrates provide direct energy for activating muscles for doing work, such as for circulating blood through the body and walking. Fat is a concentrated form of energy. It has two and a quarter time more energy than carbohydrates. Since our body can create its own fat from carbohydrates, our body does not need much fat. Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, enzymes, etc.) are required for good health and proper functioning of various organs.
is the caloric composition of food?
Caloric value of food is based on the caloric value of its constituents - protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Protein has 4 calories per gram, carbohydrates also have 4 calories per gram, and fat has 9 calories per gram. Pure alcohol has 7 calories per gram. Because of its high caloric value, most focus has been rightly so on fat for reducing body weight. However, it has led people to believe that carbohydrates are rather benign when it comes to fight against body weight. Since our body converts excess carbohydrates quickly into fat, we need to watch our carbohydrates intake with extreme care - i.e. we need to CarboWatch our diet. Micronutrients are in such small quantity that their caloric value in food may be safely ignored.
Foods Nutrition Chart Sorted By Food Name (pdf file)
Food Nutrition Chart Sorted by Carbohydrate Contents (pdf file)
Nutrion Chart - Some Indian Foods (pdf file)
Note: To view the charts you will need Acrobat Reader® which can be downloaded free of cost from the following link: Download Acrobat Reader
many calories body needs?
Our body requires food based on the voluntary and involuntary work it does. Body's basal calorie requirement (BCR) is the energy needed just to maintain body at rest. While nominal value of BCR is determined using Harris-Benedict formulae (different for male and female) to determine BCR for a person, the actual value for you could be significantly lower if you belong to a small percentage of people who have high metabolic resistance. Some people can have significantly higher BCR. (With discipline and carefully controlled experimentation over 2 to 4 weeks, you can get a fairly good idea whether or not you have abnormal BCR.
For most people the BCR ranges from 9 to 11 calories per lb of body weight. We will roughly take BCR =10.
Voluntary activities - walking, house cleaning, gardening, exercising, reading, thinking, etc. - all require additional energy, some quite a lot, some very little - the energy that is derived from burning calories. Even inactive people (couch potatoes) require 20 to 40% more energy than the BCR. Moderately active people, conscious of their fitness, require 50 to 70% more energy while for athletes and hard training people the percetage is much higher. For an average person, more active the life style, more calories body needs. We will assume that an average person requires roughly 15 calories per lb of body weight. Additional calorie requirement may be estimated using the Calorie Expenditure Charts:
Sorted by Intensity
Sorted by Activity/Excercise
does body lose or gain weight?
In order to lose weight, the calories your body extracts from the food you consume have to be lower than the calories your body burns. If not, then excess calories are stored as body fat. Any deficiency in its calorie requirement comes from burning body fat. Your body can also lose weight on a short-term basis by discharging water and gain weight by retaining extra water. However, such water imbalance is only short-term, resulting from various physical or psychological reasons, or are chemically induced. You may notice several pounds fluctuations from day today that is not possible to account based on your calorie input-output balance. By taking weight in the morning everyday, you will minimize such variations.
to lose weight while increasing your energy level?
If you take natural wholesome diet high in protein and essential micronutrients, while low in carbohydrates and fat, you are bound to feel more energetic. After all you will be burning excess fat and your bones and muscles will need to drag less weight around. Your body starts to feel good in anticipation of losing excess weight.
weekly rather than daily calorie requirements?
Our life is styled on weekly cycles, workweek and weekends. Most activities are also cycled similarly. It is thus convenient to organize diet intake on a weekly cycle. You are likely to eat more at a party on a weekend rather than when working. Rewarding yourself on a weekly basis with your favorite foods would help you stick to your diet plan, especially when you know that once you reach your target weight, you will be able to eat even more goodies.
to eat what you like without feeling guilty?
The secret is to earn the calories contained in your favorite food item. If the item has 500 calories, earn yourself first those 500 calories by exercising, gardening, housework, and by eating less of other carbohydrate or fat rich foods before consuming the favorite food item. You may earn these calories over a day or a week, but do earn before you consume. Borrowing from future earnings does not stick, especially if you don't have a good credit history.