What are the building blocks of a healthy and nutritious diet?

Today I am going to look at the 3 building blocks of a healthy diet one that is filled with nutrition and is good for you, whether you are trying to lose weight or not. They are protein,carbohydrate (carbs if you prefer) and fat.

Foods such as eggs those foods made from milk such as yoghurt, cheeses and of course just milk it’s self are high in on of those essential building block protein which is why nutritionist recommend we eat plenty of protein in a balanced diet.

Moving on to Carbohydrates the story is pretty much the same in terms of calories at around 4 calories per gram. But unlike protein which occurs only naturally (unless added as a supplement) carbs can be found both naturally and also in food that a processed or if you prefer man made.

Examples of natural carbohydrates include obvious ones such as potato’s (in their various forms),bread,rice and oatmeal.Then we have processed foods or man made carbohydrates such as cakes, cookies,bagels and candies etc.

I am guessing you have probably worked out by now that I was saving the best (or worst in this case until last) .That’s right a single gram of fat creates a massive 225% more energy at 9 calories (that’s more than twice the amount of protein and carbohydrate). Is it that simple?

But of course as I am sure you know there is more than one type of fat they are classed as good fats (mono unsaturated fats and poly unsaturated fats) and bad fats (saturated fats) and the less widely know very bad (trans fats or trans fatty acids to give then their full name)

A balance of carbs,protein and fat (ideally mono and poly unsaturated fats with a small proportion of animal fats) will prevent you having problems with being over weight and obese. It is when these food groups get out of balance that problems occur.

The balance of carbs, to fat to protein is essential to healthy living and if you choose a diet which is unbalanced you risk health problems. Consume excess of either fat or carbs or a combination of both and you are likely to end up over weight.

Since fat has substancially more calories per gram than both protein & carbohydrates, just ensure the bulk of your diet is a balance of the first two food groups with some healthy fats thrown in for good measure.

We will examine the different types of fat individually.

Monounsaturated Fats (Monounsaturated Fatty Acids):- These are found in vegetable oils, nuts, seeds and some plant foods. They are liquid at room temperature. Some times referred to as MUFA’s.

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (Polyunsaturated Fats):- These are are most commonly found in vegetable oils, fish and seafood. They are liquid or soft at room temperature.Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are types of Polyunsaturated fats and are considered essential fatty acids because our bodies need them but don’t make them, thus they must be obtained through the diet. Some times referred to as PUFA’s.

Saturated Fats (SUFA’s):- These are fats which are found predominantly in animal food sources such as meats, dairy products (those made from milk) such as butter and cheese and in some plants the most well know one being coconut and it’s derivatives.

Trans Fatty Acids:- They are sometimes known as trans fats or hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogented fats. This means that they have been chemically altered by th addition of hydrogen to make them solid at room temperature. Trans fats are found in foods such as some margarines, extensively in the fast food industry and in processed snacks.

Think of it this way fats from animals such as butter, shortening, pastry and the like are saturated fats. Whereas fats from sunflower oils, some nuts and olive oil and unsaturated fats. Some margarines and spreads are also unsaturated fat but read the label first.Don’t forget any fat will make you fat if eaten to excess but unsaturated fats are better for you.

If you want to be eating healthy you need to keep a good balance of all 3 main food groups.