A healthy lifestyle is not just about counting calories

What is a calorie?

All calories are not created equal.  There are three main types of macronutrients that consist of different amounts and types of calories.

Carbohydrate=4 calories per gram

Fat= 9 calories per gram

Protein= 4 calories per gram

Carbohydrate consists of starch, sugar, and fiber, and is used as our body’s primary source of energy.  Fiber is perhaps the most important form of carbohydrate. Since our body does not necessarily digest fiber, it slows digestion, aids in our body’s absorption of nutrients, and keeps us feeling full longer.  In addition, it helps to stabilize blood sugar levels which can help prevent or control diabetes.

The following are daily recommendations for the various carbohydrates:

Total carbohydrate: 130-210 grams of carbohydrate

Sugar: Limit as much as possible

Fiber: 21 to 38 grams

Fat is the body’s most efficient source of energy since it contains more calories per gram, but it is important that we choose healthy fats and limit our total intake of fats to avoid over-consuming calories.  There are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats contribute to clogged arteries and high cholesterol, while unsaturated fats can actually help keep our body healthy with antioxidants such as vitamin E.

Fat should be limited to about 20-35% of calories a day, which comes out to about 45-70 grams a day for an average 2000-calorie diet of mostly unsaturated fats.