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  • Mary Caldiero

Food...friend or foe?

I've always had a love/hate relationship with food. I could exercise all day and love to do it, but when it came to a healthy diet, well...that's another story. I am a sugar addict. Once that sweetness touches my lips, I can't stop. It calms me. It soothes me. I will eat junk til I pass out. Just like an addict. It's taken me years to look at food in another way, as a way to fuel my body. Do I still have my binges once in a while? Heck, yes. But the difference is I am aware of what I am doing, I am open about it (no wrapper hiding) and forgive myself and move on the next day.


There are 3 sources of calories (or energy), which are also known as macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein, and fat.


Carbs

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy because we can only store a limited amount. Carbohydrates break down into glucose, which is an immediate source of energy especially for the brain and muscles. When carbohydrates are scarce, the body runs mainly on fats. If energy needs exceed those provided by fats in the diet, the body must liquidate some of its fat tissue for energy.


Fat

Fat is another source of energy that is essential to our bodies. Not only does fat help us better utilize other nutrients, fat actually helps to transport some vitamins to the necessary areas of our bodies. Fats have as much as two times the calorie content as carbohydrates and when eaten in excess can cause weight gain. Fats should be unsaturated to reduce your risk of heart disease.


Protein

Protein is the last source of energy, when there is a shortage of carbohydrates or fat. Protein's primary role is to maintain lean muscle mass and help with tissue repair and healing. Protein may also reduce hunger and help you control your weight. I'm a big advocate of diets higher in protein.


Micronutrients

Also known as vitamins and minerals, micronutrients are also needed to support a healthy body. In order to fuel your metabolism and maintain a healthy body, macronutrients and micronutrients should be consumed through the foods you eat. This can be done by eating a nutrient-dense diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a variety of lean proteins, and low fat dairy or dairy alternatives.  


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