We all need calories to survive. Our organs and tissues need energy to carry out their processes. The heart, brain, and all the cells require carbohydrates, protein or fats (or a combination) to function.
How much?
So, nationally recognised guidelines say we should have these macronutrients in the following proportions, daily:
Carbohydrates 50-55%
Fat 33-35%
Protein 10-15%
These will be a percentage of your overall daily calorie intake. We al have a BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) which is the MINIMUM amount of calories (energy) required to power our bodies simply to survive at rest. We all move about in the day – whether at work, home, leisure activities, exercise etc. The PAL (Physical Activity Level) multiplied by your Basal Metabolic Rate will give you your daily Energy Requirement.
‘good’ carbs and good ‘fats’
Carbohydrates are not ‘bad’! A lot of people find diets which recommend cutting out carbohydrates entirely (heard of the Ketogenic diet?). However as long as Carbs are eaten in the correct proportions and are the ‘good carbs’ then there is no reason why things such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes can’t be part of a healthy, balanced,diet.
The more processed and refined a carbohydrate is, the less nutritional benefit there is. For example, white rice, white bread and white pasta lack the nutritional benefits of fibre (which can aid weight management through taking longer to digest, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, and promoting bowel movement). Carbohydrates with more nutritional benefits are brown rice, wholemeal bread, wholemeal pasta and sweet potatoes. As long as you manage portion sizes (I highly recommend inexpensive digital scales) there is no reason to have to cut out carbohydrates!
The Glycaemic Index is the measure of the quality and digestibility of a carbohydrate – the lower the GI, the slower the release of sugars into the blood stream and the better it is for weight-management. (however, also check the fat content of low GI foods). 
Fats: in short there is saturated and unsaturated fat. and trans (hydrogenated) fat. 
Saturated – in meat and dairy products. Solid at room temp (lard, butter, cheese)
Unsaturated – liquid at room temp (oils)
Trans fats – artificially created through a process called hydrogenation. Avoid as much as poss!
Fat IS essential. It provides energy, insulation, transports vitamins, constructs cells, prevents water loss.
Omega 3 and 6 are required (essential) but are the only fats which cannot be produced by the body. Therefore you need them from seeds, nuts, fish.
Take away tips: 
  • Remember to check food labels for their amount of carbs, fat and protein per portion.
  • Aim for no more than half of a portion to be carbs, no more than 1/3 to be fats.
  • Look at food labelling and see the first 3-4 ingredients. Thy are the ingredients which are in the largest quantity in the food. If any of them is ‘sugar’ (in any form!) then this is a HIGH SUGAR product and best avoided.
  • Invest in some scales and get into the habit of weighing and preparing food.


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