Most people know that eating right will help maintain a healthy weight and may even protect against a variety of chronic diseases, including coronary heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and various cancers. But with so much advice and choices, many Americans continue to fall short when it comes to nutrition.
According to the most recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, only 33% of adults consume the recommended servings of fruits and 27% get the recommended servings of vegetables each day. In addition, 67% of the U.S. population is overweight or obese.
There are many obstacles to eating well: your busy lifestyle, the ready availability of convenience foods, too-large portion sizes, and conflicting information on nutrition and weight loss.
So…Let’s Get Back to Basics!
There are broad categories of nutrients:
- Macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats): supply energy and are needed in large amounts to maintain and repair body structures
- Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals): help regulate chemical processes and build strong bones and are needed only in small amounts.
- Hydration: the body is made up of over 70% water. The average person loses approximately 10 cups of water per day. In other words, for our bodies to function well, fluid intake is an essential part of our daily nutrition.
Calories measure the amount of energy in a food. Carbohydrates and proteins contain four calories per gram, fats contain nine calories per gram and alcohol contains seven calories per gram. All calories consumed in excess of what your body needs for energy, whether in the form of carbohydrate, protein, fat or alcohol, will be stored as fat.
How many calories do you need? Visit www.choosemyplate.gov to find out your recommended calorie intake.