2014 is here, and with all the talk of Resolutions, I thought I would go over some of the normal topics I speak to my patients about this time of year. Like just about everyone else, the concerns tend to be centered on watching diet, exercising, losing weight and shaping up. While I don’t necessarily think you need to set out resolutions for the New Year, we very rarely follow them (myself included), I do think that it’s a good idea to discuss different foods, diet, and exercises to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

First, I want to talk about our diet in general, which consists of five food groups:  grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and meat and beans. All of these are important in maintaining normal body functions, but paying attention to the proper amounts of these foods can help in any “shaping up” programs. For the purposes of this discussion I will focus on three components of the food groups:  carbohydrates, fats and proteins.

I’m sure you’ve heard a lot talk about Carbohydrates, especially in reference to dieting. Carbohydrates are molecules that your body can convert into Glucose for use in energy production. These molecule are found in a variety of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, bread, cereals, grains, milk, some baked goods and.  While the body does not necessarily have to have Carbohydrates to produce energy, it is recommended that you get between 45%-65% of your dietary energy from Carbohydrates.  Obviously, some carbohydrate foods are better than others, which I will talk about further in an upcoming post.

Another important food group for your body is fats. Fats serve a variety of functions, and are used by the body to make cell membranes, nerve tissue, hormones, and vitamins. There are many different kinds of fats, including the dreaded, bad “tans-fat” and saturated fats. Conversely there are better fats that include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These are important fats to the body, and I will also discuss these further in a future post.

Proteins are key “building blocks” of the body. They are important in forming muscle tissue, making enzymes and are important for many other body functions. We usually get our proteins from meats, poultry and fish, but can also find them in eggs, milk, nuts and some grains and vegetables.

While this post doesn’t provide many actionable steps on improving your diet, I wanted to start out with a sort of primer to get you familiar with a few nutrients that compose the basic foundation of your diet. I will be posting more specific posts throughout the month of January that will talk about some different ways you can improve your nutrition and fitness, and a little bit of the rationale behind them. If you have any questions or topics relating to diet and exercise that you would like to learn more about, please leave a comment below, and let me know.

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