How Much do You Really Need to Eat?
We all live different lifestyles, have unalike metabolisms, perform different tasks, and experience different levels of stress on a daily basis. Some of us train for marathons, fitness competitions, professional sports, while others enjoy moderate daily activities or have a sedentary lifestyle altogether.
There are numerous factors determining our nutritional needs: age, gender, activity levels, body composition, metabolic rate, etc. Knowing your basic nutrient needs is important for maintaining good health and disease prevention.
By following a very low-calorie unbalanced diet you jeopardize your healthy metabolism, create hormonal imbalance, and cause your body irreversible side effects.
So how much food do you really need to eat throughout the day? The truth is, not too much! Ideally, you want to stick to nutrient dense foods, add some functional foods, and follow portion control. You'll deviate sometimes, we are all humans, but as long as your stick to your goal 75% of the time, you are on the right track! With that being said, if you eat three balanced meals a day in one week, you have five meals a week to play around with. Make sure to indulge consciously!
Where should you start? Know your basal metabolic rate - how many calories a day your body requires to function at rest. A good formula will calculate your basic energy needs based on your age, anthropocentric data (height and weight), activity and stress factors. Once you get the number of calories, you'll be able to calculate the approximate amount of macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
Based on the reference values set forth by National Institutes of Health (Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI), your macronutrient intake should be as follows:
45-65% of total calories should come from CARBOHYDRATES
20-35% of total calories should come from FATs (limit saturated fats to 7% of total fat calories)
10-35% of total calories should come from PROTEIN
To calculate the exact amount of macronutrients, you have to know that protein and carbohydrates both provide 4 calories per gram, while fat provides 9 calories per gram.
Keep in mind that calculated values will change based on your individual goals and other circumstances. It is always recommended to find a competent professional to start you on your health journey!
I will be posting free daily meal plans and exercise routines on my website shortly, make sure to check it out!