If you want to live happier, you have to find the right eating style and build it throughout your life. Everything that you drink and eat really matters. You have to focus on the amount, nutrition, and variety. You do not have to rush things, begin with a few changes to establish a healthier eating habit.
Actually, eating healthy is not just a challenge, it is like a journey formed by many different factors, which includes access to food, stages of life, preferences, traditions, situations and decisions everyone makes over time. Every food you take and every beverage you drink counts.
Have a conscious effort to consume the right quantity of calories based on your gender, age, weight, height, and physical activity. Doing this will help one to avoid overweight and obesity. Be sure that your eating style includes low added sugars, sodium, and fat. Unfortunately, most people eat lots of foods that are high in saturated fat and sugar.
Eating a lesser amount of calories while controlling the insulin levels is critical, if you want to lose fats without losing muscles. How will you know that you are eating the right kind and amount of foods?
You should take a look at a conceptual framework that most fitness models, natural bodybuilders, and some sports health experts use. However, this is not the mainstream of fitness culture.
This is founded on five food groups, but they are very different from the 5 groups people usually know.
The Old 5 Food Groups (USDA MyPyramid)
These are the 5 food groups categorized by their fundamental properties:
Any food item produced using oats, wheat, cornmeal, barley, rice or other cereal grains belongs to this group. Grains are identified into 2 subgroups; refined grains and whole grains.
Refined grains have been milled, which is a process of removing both bran and germ. Examples of these are white flour, white rice, and white bread. Whole grains contain the whole grain kernel – the germ, endosperm, and bran. Bulgur, brown rice, whole wheat flour, oatmeal and whole cornmeal are the classic examples.
These are the seed-bearing structures in flowering plants. Humans and several animals are dependent on fruits as a food source. Fruits contain seeds and are edible in their raw state. Bananas, apples, berries, melons, oranges, and grapes are some of the most popular fruits in the world.
In terms of everyday use, vegetables are the edible parts of plants that are eaten by humans as food. Vegetables are divided into four subgroups: starchy, dark green, orange, and other vegetables. The starchy group includes green peas, potatoes, corn, and lima beans. Collard greens, lettuce, and broccoli belong to the dark green vegetables, while lentils, dry beans, and kidney beans are orange vegetables. Examples of the other vegetables are asparagus, bean sprouts, and artichokes.
- Meat and Beans
You might get confused with this group because beans are already tagged as vegetables. But according to the USDA, they belong to the Meat and Beans group too. They contain some protein too. Beef, fish, pork, chicken and other wildlife are meats.
- Milk Or Dairy
Milk is a white liquid that the mammals’ mammary glands. It is the main source of nutrition for a mammal’s young child, especially before it could digest other kinds of food. Milk contains all the most important amino acids.
Some health groups would consider a sixth group, the “Fat.” But, only a few acknowledge this group.
The Latest 5 Food Groups
These groups are divided according to their macronutrient characterization. It is not limited to whether they are a vegetable, meat, or fruit. In principle, there are three macronutrients; carbohydrates, fat, and protein. These give calories to the body and affect it in various ways.
For instance, protein can help fix body tissues like organs, muscles, and ligaments. On the other hand, carbohydrates make energy for the body and influence the levels of insulin, which is an important factor in losing fat. Carbohydrates have 3 subgroups; simple, starchy, and fibrous.
Fat contains 9 calories every gram. This provides energy and helps sustain appropriate hormone function. In addition, it carries vitamins.
The following are the “new” 5 food groups that are very popular among sports nutritionists and fitness experts:
In this category, any food that derived most of its calories from fat is included. For example, avocado, even if it’s technically a fruit, it is not a simple carb. It is mostly fat, 75% of calories in fact.
Fatty food like bacon belongs to this category, not protein. Other fats include nuts, butter, hummus, and oil. They contain more or less 40% of its calories from fat.
- Simple Carbohydrates
Fruits, sodas, sugary foods are identified as simple carbohydrates. Certainly, fruit is healthier than a chocolate bar because of the vitamins they contain. Also, they usually have a lower insulin effect, but all sugary items fall in this group.
The “molecular structure” of simple carbohydrates food is less complex than those of starches. Health experts do not suggest eating anything other than fruits as a simple carb source.
- Starchy Carbohydrates
This group covers any food that has a fairly high quantity of carbohydrates, lower in fat, sugar, and protein. Bread, legumes, cereals, rice, potatoes, pasta, and orange vegetables are great examples of starchy carbs. This is somewhat like the grains group in the USDA pyramid, but beans and orange vegetables are thrown in.
Beans are not lean protein, based on their “macronutrient profile.” Sometimes, starchy carbs are also known as “fattening carb.” People who committed to the Atkins diet or the Paleo diet consume approximately no starches.
- Fibrous Carbohydrates
Fibrous carbs are vegetables very rich in fiber and low sugar content. All dark green vegetables fit in this group. However, beans and orange vegetables are not fibrous carbohydrates, even if they are vegetables.
- Lean Protein
Any kind of protein that contains 8 essential amino acids is considered a lean protein. These are low in fat like turkey, fish, and chicken. Also, they have low-fat dairy.
It would be much easier for anyone to manage total calories and insulin levels if he or she uses the new 5 food groups. Controlling your calorie intake is now simpler because you are now aware what food are high in fat and what are those that you should avoid. Furthermore, you can now eat more high-value protein.