So I took the time this week to look at a few things about nutrition. I looked at my fiber content and how much sugar I consumed on my 'recorded' day- as well as total carbs which of which both fiber and sugar qualify. I also took the time to look at why fiber is important in the diet, why we really need carbohydrates in our diets, and why some people are intolerant of milk products.
So when I did 'rate your plate' two weeks ago, I found that I had eaten 233 total grams of carbs. (I also mentioned in a earlier post that I had been low on many important vitamins.) I easily made the RDA of 130 grams of carb intake. (almost doubled it in fact). When I did the math, I found that 52% of my calorie intake was from carbs which was a little less than the 60%- which is the 'goal'. A few ways to improve my intake would be to add more fruit to my diet as well as bread products. I will admit that the bread products are hard because of my allergy to wheat. There are ready made bread products out there for the wheat challenged, but at the risk of sounding like I am complaining- they are expensive! So I try to make the stuff myself as it is a lot cheaper and so maybe I need to find a way to make more... or think of something else...? :)
My fiber consumption I think was pretty good for an American at 29.5 grams... but I still barely made the minimum of 25 grams. Adding more fruit would help with that along with beans. Luckily both are foods that I like and so I just need to really examine and think about how I can change my thought processes and the 'habits' of eating... which I have been working on the last few weeks. I have managed to add more fruit to my diet and I should look at adding more beans. I also want to take the opportunity to do the calculations again after recording a day later this month and see how much better I am doing... or worse ;)
My total sugar intake was 49 grams. That is pretty good, especially since most of that sugar was in fruit that I ate and I can't imagine that I should quit fruit to lower my sugar consumption. I allow myself a few cookies a few days a week and I could look at cutting those out, but I think if I do not feel treated every few days... then I will just crave and crave. Maybe I can look at a couple of cookies and add milk instead of a few cookies with no milk...? Am I making excuses?
Carbohydrates are the body’s main form of energy. As I haven't eaten breakfast yet, I am feeling a little weak and slow, but eating should get me going again. Everything that we do requires energy- breathing, twitching, thinking- even eating requires the expenditure of calories in the work for more calories. Some cells prefer energy from carbohydrates, such as the brain, nervous system, muscles, and red blood cells.... so these areas are directly affected by a low carb diet. If you do not eat enough carbohydrates, the liver is forced to break down protein into energy, a process that over time can affect all of your bodily systems. Carbohydrates are readily acting and fast available fuel for cells- they do not require oxygen to break them down and in most cases are already available as soon as they enter the small intestine.
Fiber is so important for our diets for many reasons! One of the best reasons to eat fiber is so that you do not get constipation. Fiber helps the digestive system keep everything moving and makes it harder for the system to get clogged up. Clogging the system over time cane cause all sorts of complications from cancer to colonic impaction to hemorrhoids from straining to push. Of course, fiber removed the benefit of keeping reading literature in your bathroom as you will not have long to read! :D Some forms of fiber are thought to lower the 'bad' cholesterol in your blood as well as inflammation of the blood vessels- a doctor told me once that he dreams sometimes of little bits of oatmeal acting like scrapers on your blood vessel walls removing plaque- but I have no idea if that is true or his thoughts only... although oatmeal in the store has the heart friendly label on it. Foods that are high in fiber can also help with weight loss and you can feel full without eating as many calories... and fiber pretty much goes 'right through you'. Fiber can help lower blood pressure as well as makes it harder for the body to have 'spiky' blood sugar- sugar is processed more slowly as so would form a mound in measurement, not a peak... does that make any sense. Mounds will help you to eat better because you will not have huge dramatic spikes in your blood sugar which will make you hungry- I guess this is another way of saying that fiber helps with metabolism. Fiber will also act as a scrub brush and try to keep moving impurities and toxins out of the body before they sit and then enter the system. You can thank fiber for helping your child eventually remove the ring or the coin that they swallowed.
Some people are unable to tolerate high milk intake because they are lactose intolerant. Lactose is the sugar found in milk and without the enzyme 'lactase' to break down the sugar, the lactose causing pain, gas and abdominal upset- to say the least. Your risk of lactose intolerance varies depending on your race-and therefore your genes. When looking at large groups Asians, South Americans and Africans are most likely to have this difficulty- the book mentions all of these groups as well. I believe that those of Mediterranean descent are likely to have this problem as well- I heard that in my paramedic classes, but I didn't look to see if my brain was foggy or not before I put that here! Many milk products such as yogurt do not have a lot of lactose and so they can be tolerated by many and used to help provide the calcium needed.
I am really having a pretty fun time studying about how nutrition works... and I hope that some of this information is useful to other readers. Is any of this new to you? How would you rate the way you eat... based on some of the information above? Do you get enough fiber...? Too much sugar...? Please share!