Thursday, December 2, 2010

House of Carbs

By Kris Pitcher

Eating on the road is difficult no doubt about it. But for me, observing other people's habits presents a real learning moment. What I learn is reinforcement of controlling my nutritional environment when I can. I'd say I'm aware of people's habits, but when I'm out there being a consumer with the masses...I'm hyper-aware. And on my recent quick business trip, I was eyes "wide open" to the world around me.

In my un-scientific, non-peer reviewed completely observational opinion, Americans are nutrient deficient. How can that be, right? In an obese country of excess and over consumption? Well, I'll tell you what - we live in a "house of carbs". Our society is full of ready made, and made to order cheap eats full of carbs. Period. Restaurant menus either quick choices or sit down alike, it's difficult to get the nutrients you need. Specifically our power house friend, protein.

It's generally agreed that we need between .8-1.0 gram of protein per pound of body weight (lean body mass). That's for us ladies, guys you need a bit more. Some experts recommend a bit higher, some lower. This essential macro nutrient is made up of amino acids. Amino acids come in two categories; essential - which must come from our diet (there are 8), and non-essential - which our body can create (pretty cool). Protein is responsible for building and repairing our tissues, and our bodies use those amino acids to help regulate our metabolism and support our immune system. Seems pretty important right?

When I analyse people's food logs, or make un-scientific observations amongst the masses, I'm not surprised they are struggling with their weight when they are taking in 10% of their nutrients in protein, 75% carbohydrate, and 15% fat. Lots of room to balance out nutrients, and there are countless benefits which go along with that.

If you're not tracking your intake, you don't know what your getting. You know me, so day one of travel I was eating baggies of meat and veggies out of my purse...but day two I was a consumer in the house of carbs. I made my way but it's not easy out there. And the people around me, zero protein. Track your protein for a few days to see if you're low, high, or just right. Getting the appropriate amount of macro nutrients is critical to your nutritional success.

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