Nutrition for Dummies

Whether you’re a competitive athlete or you never played a sport in your life, everyone is always interested in making a change to their body. Many people think losing or gaining weight, it’s all about exercising but little so many people know that nutrition plays a huge factor in achieving your goals.

What is nutrition? 

We always hear the word nutrition but what does it really mean? Nutrition is the process of taking in food and using it for growth, energy, and repair. Without nutrition, you may become weak, sickly, miss development milestones, and much worse. On the other hand, if you eat a healthy diet that is filled with a variety of high-nutrient foods, you are more likely to enjoy good health than if you eat a poor diet that is lacking in nutrients. Nutrition is often broken into two categories, macronutrients, and micronutrients. Macronutrients include proteins, carbohydrates and fats while micronutrients include vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, and vitamin C. Macronutrients make up the majority of our diets and provide energy for us to move and function. Micronutrients are chemical substances that we require in small amounts for healthy growth and development. All of this is important but what you really want to know is what exactly you have to eat to lose or gain weight. 

Nutrition for weight loss 

Losing weight can not only be physically challenging but mentally challenging. Along with a good exercise routine with cardio and weight training, nutrition can help you achieve your goal to lose any unwanted weight. To lose weight, you must go on a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is when you are consuming fewer calories than you are burning over time. For example, if you burn 3000 calories a day but only consume 2500, you’ll be in a 500 calorie deficit. However, this does not mean that you should starve yourself. Instead, you want to eat low calorie foods and protein. Some great examples of low calorie foods/snacks include fruits, vegetables, eggs, greek yogurt, whole grains, beans, and more. Some great protein options for weight loss include salmon, chicken, tuna, turkey, almonds, milk, peanut butter, and much more. Water is also very important whether you´re focusing on weight loss or weight gain. It contains no calories, helps you burn more calories, boosts your metabolism, and much more. If you maintain a healthy calorie deficit along with a consistent workout plan, you will see the change you’ve been wanting. But what if your focus is on weight and muscle gain?

Nutrition for weight gain

When trying to gain weight or muscle, you need to do the opposite of a calorie deficit which is a calorie surplus. A caloric surplus is when the number of calories that we consume is higher than the number of calories we burn. This will result in an increase of body weight. Similar to weight loss, you need to consume a high level of protein to see an increase of muscle mass. To increase your muscle mass in combination with physical activity, it is recommended that a person that lifts weights regularly or is training for a running or cycling event eat a range of 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or 0.5 to 0.8 grams per pound of body weight. This can be achieved by consuming lean meats, protein powder, nuts, pasta, ect. To achieve a calorie surplus, you can eat more frequently, consume protein with every meal, and keep track of your calories. It is recommended that you stick with healthy foods during this time and to not let the calories seen in fast food fool you. 

Why is nutrition so important?

Maintaining healthy nutrition is more important than a lot of us think. Not only does it make you live longer, it reduces the chances of getting serious health problems. These include diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and much more. It may seem challenging but the reward is very much worth it. Whether you are trying to lose or gain weight, remember that nutrition plays just as big of a role as exercise.

Saeed Harinandan

Hi, My name is Saeed Harinandan and I am a 17-year-old senior from Queens NY. For fun, I like to spend time with my family and friends and do activities like going to the movies, playing video games, or playing sports. I use journalism as a side passion to utilize my voice and inform readers about what’s going on in the world.