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Common Diet Mistakes
Research shows that breakfast skippers weigh more than breakfast eaters. There is a misconception that skipping breakfast -- or any meal -- saves calories. The truth is that most people who eat fewer than three meals usually end up eating more calories during the course of the day. Strive for three meals a day. Always start your day with a healthy breakfast, but be careful to choose wisely. A healthy breakfast should contain both protein and fiber. An egg, a piece of whole-wheat toast, and half a grapefruit has only 250 calories and will keep you feeling full until lunch. Don’t have time for three meals a day? Think “kid sized portions” and snack at least six times throughout the day. The key is to fuel your metabolism, it is best to have something every few hours to help keep the metabolic process burning and to prevent the body from going into a preservation mode.
How many times have you been doing great with your diet until something unexpected throws you off your game? Whether it’s a positive event (“Who can stay on a diet at a time like this? We need to celebrate!”), a social event (“ Who can stay on a diet at a party like this? Pass the dip!”), or a crisis (“Who can stay on a diet during times like this? A piece of cake will help me feel better.”), special circumstances can throw a wrench into a healthy diet. Let’s face it—some circumstances are more challenging than others, and you don’t want your diet to interfere too much with your life. If you find yourself in a situation where you feel you really can’t stick to your diet (or just don’t want it badly enough), it’s best to indulge, but on a small scale. Rather than taking it as license to throw your diet out the window, you can probably have nibbles of a few less healthy foods and maintain the feel of the occasion, but still stick close to your diet ideals. Giving yourself a little permission now and then can keep you from abandoning your diet altogether, so it’s a good trade-off for the long haul.
Protein is one of the foundational building blocks of our bodies. Most average Americans diets are deficient in protein. Or they consume protein that is layered with saturated fats, simple carbohydrates, and too many calories. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitter (important for mood and brain function), antibodies (for immune function), and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. Along with healthy fats and whole-grain, low glycemic-index carbohydrates, protein is a "macronutrient," meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called "micronutrients." But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs.
Most microorganisms and plants can internally produce all 20 standard amino acids, while humans must obtain 9 of the amino acids from the diet as they can convert the other 11 amino acids from nutritional intake. This is vital for the building of lean muscle mass. The amino acids that cannot be produce on their own are referred to as essential amino acids. The amino acids that are converted from other amino acids are called nonessential amino acids. However, none of them are truly “nonessential” The caveat is that all 20 amino acids must be present for the body to build and repair tissue. In humans, amino acids are obtained through the consumption of foods containing protein. Ingested proteins are then broken down into amino acids through digestion. Meaning if we don’t take it in through our diet we are going to be deficient.
Many proteins are enzymes that stimulate biochemical reactions and are vital to metabolism. Proteins also have structural or mechanical functions, such as actin and myosin in muscle and the proteins in the cell which form a system of infrastructure that maintains cell shape. Protein is important for metabolism and immune system functions.
Lean muscle mass, and not just the kind bodybuilders develop, but the kind that every human being needs is important for metabolism. Lean muscle burns more calories than body fat cells do, even in a resting state. Regular exercise and protein intake are a must to develop lean muscle. Many people are concerned about “bulking up” or getting “too big” if they add resistance or weight training to their exercise routine. This is a huge misconception that needs to be addressed. Most people will not build substantial muscle gains with lifting light to moderate weight 2-3 times per week, especially if they use higher repetitions and lower weight. To build large muscles it takes a very specific type of training and diet. The benefits of resistance of weight training include increased muscle tone, stamina, higher basal metabolic rates, improved libido, better bone health, and better stress management. Additionally, better body image and self-esteem are nice perks.
Dietary sources of protein include fish, poultry, beef, dairy products, nuts, and legumes. The things to consider from these protein sources include fat content, calorie content, and carbohydrate content. Eating a high protein diet that is high in saturated fat is not a good option. Additionally, it is important to eat whole grains and low-glycemic carbohydrates in combination with a high protein diet. Opting for leaner cuts of meat and low-fat or no-fat dairy options is a must.
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