Friday, March 25, 2011

Figuring out your intake levels and nutritional information

Do you know how many carbs you eat everyday? How about much protein you intake? What about the big diet killer - sugar?

I'm not one to actually sit and count calories, carbs, proteins, sugars, fats, fibers, etc. for every meal, but it helps to have a general idea of what you're eating every now and then as a random check to make sure you're on track.

Here are a few calculators thanks to the University of Maryland Medical System:

Fiber - keep in mind that the recommended daily dose is generally considered a basic minimum. It will not be detrimental to your diet if you get more fiber. In fact, research has shown that fiber actually helps you eat less and keeps you regular :) Saturday Night Live also does a great job talking about the work of fiber. ;)

From the MediFast Website
Protein - also keep in mind that protein is given as a minimum amount. You actually can eat up to your ideal weight in grams of protein. For instance, if your ideal weight is 140 pounds, you should eat between 70 and 140 grams of protein. Keep in mind that if you go this route, make sure you're not going over your calories. Some carbs will need to be cut in order to make this adjustment.

Carbohydrates - I was actually surprised by how few carbs you're supposed to be eating everyday. While carbs can be good for energy, and fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is great for your diet, remember that too many carbs can actually drain your energy. A healthy mix of carbs, proteins, and fats is the best way to keep your energy at its highest level.

Fats - DON'T be afraid of good fats!! You actually need your good fats, such as from nuts, avocados, and omega-3 oils, to help you lose weight. According to my height, body size, and activity level, I should be eating about 65 grams a day.

Now that you have an idea of how many grams of protein, carbs, fiber, and fats you should be eating daily, start paying attention to what's in your food. Even if you cook at home, it's usually not difficult to figure out the nutritional value of your food. For instance, I made taco soup this last week and was able to figure out the nutritional information easily because of all the canned beans with nutritional information at the ready.

This wasn't the nutritional info on my can, but it'll give you an idea for what I'm going to say. The taco soup made about five bowls of soup. I first looked at the calories in each can of beans. On my can it said, i.e. '122 calories per serving. Approximately 3.5 servings per can.' I multipled 122 by 3.5 then divided this by 5 (the amount of servings made). This gave me the amount of calories from pinto beans in each bowl of soup. I then was able to do this the same for grams of protein: i.e. multiplying 8 by 3.5 then dividing by 5. You probably get the idea. It helps to do each category separately (all the fibers on all the cans, then all the protein on all the cans and meat, etc.) rather than getting all of the information from each then adding it all up at the end.

Hopefully you get the idea! If you find yourself cooking with something that doesn't have a label on it, Calorie King is an excellent website for nearly everything you can think of.

If any of this post didn't make sense, let me know, otherwise good luck figuring out your intake levels and how on track you are with your nutritional information! 

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