Despite what many fitness magazines, news outlets, and the supplement industry would have you believe, adopting a healthier lifestyle doesn’t have to be complicated. At Dr. Praeger’s, our food philosophy is that simple is best. We believe in using a minimum number of ingredients and emphasizing whole foods that are both nutritious and filling.
Dr. Praeger’s takes the guesswork out of eating better—you know you’re getting a tasty and healthy meal in one quick and easy to prepare package. However, it’s always a good idea to learn the basics of good nutrition, so you can make healthy choices wherever you go!
Macronutrients: 3 Categories
There are 3 primary macronutrients that are important when it comes to looking at the general nutritional profile of food. They are fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
1 – Dietary Fat
Fats still get a bad rap from those following popular nutrition advice from the mid to late 20th century. Post-WWII, studies had implicated saturated fats (and fat in general) as contributing to heart disease. This led many food companies to exclude or minimize fat in their products. What did they replace the fat with? Sugar! Excess and added sugar is linked to inflammation, type II diabetes and heart disease. We are still suffering from the consequences today!
Dietary fats are important—they are filling and very nutritious. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are deemed “healthy fats” while the true fatty villains were always artificial trans fats and saturated fats. Trans fats are a product of processing vegetable oils to stay solid at room temperature. You may have heard about partially-hydrogenated oils being bad for you—that is precisely what they are, trans fats. Saturated fats are mostly found in animal and animal-derived products such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken, dairy, lard, and butter.
Healthy fats are crucial for healthy cell development, the creation of key hormones in the body, and the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Healthy fats include avocado, nuts, nut butters, seeds, fatty fish, olive oil and canola oil. Overall, aim for 15-20% of your dietary calories to come from healthy fats to stay heart-healthy.
2 – Carbohydrates
The much-maligned carbohydrates are in fact a critical macronutrient for optimal functioning of both brain and body. Carbs are the “fat” of our generation, meaning that many mainstream diets and health gurus have advocated adopting a low-carb diet as a means of losing weight.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that carbs are evil. Studies show that a low-carb diet is not the healthiest choice for most people. It is not really about how much carbohydrates you are eating but about the TYPE of carbohydrates that they are. Weight loss is not linked to the amount of carbohydrates that you eat but rather to the total calories you are eating each day.
A moderate to high carbohydrate intake (35-55%) of your total daily calories will supply your body with adequate energy to achieve the day’s goals. Carbs are a potent energy source for the . The “quality” of the carbohydrate matters. Getting the majority of your carbs from healthy, whole grain foods that contain fiber is the major distinguishing factor. This is why high-sugar foods are bad for your overall health, sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is easily absorbed into the bloodstream, causing your blood sugar to spike. Whole grains contain fiber which is slowly absorbed into your bloodstream, balances your blood sugar and helps fill your stomach with a smaller portion size!
Dr. Praeger’s food products contain ample fiber to make sure you get the energy you require without the crash! Fiber is also crucial for proper digestion and gut health.
3 – Protein
Protein has been stressed as the key factor in quick muscular development in men’s fitness circles and the key macronutrient that will help you lose weight through its ability to help you feel full on less. How important is this macronutrient?
Protein is a key macronutrient when it comes to satiety and maintaining a healthy body composition. The daily recommended intake for protein by most major nutritional organizations comes out to approximately 0.36 grams of protein per lb. of bodyweight (or 0.8 grams if your country uses kg). For the average man this amounts to about 50-60 grams per day for most men and 40-48 grams per day for the majority of women.
However, did you know that these numbers are factored for mostly sedentary individuals? If you lead an active and physically demanding lifestyle, it is recommended you get a little more. Contrary to popular belief; it is not hard to get the right amount of protein in your diet! In fact, most Americans exceed the amount of daily protein they need by eating a typical American diet that includes meat.
People often think that plant-based, vegetarian/vegan diets are deficient in protein or have “incomplete protein” (protein that does not contain all essential amino-acids), whole proteins have the benefit of being more bioavailable. It’s actually easy to get protein on a plant-based diet when eating legumes, nuts, seeds, soy products and whole grains like quinoa.
Pea protein is a type of protein from the legume family that has gained a huge following because it contains all 9 essential amino acids and is friendly to vegan and plant-based diets. Many of our products such as our newly released Perfect Burger all nutritionally benefit from the inclusion of pea-protein.
Macronutrient profiles are a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle and it can be easy to include them by eating minimally processed whole foods! Dr. Praeger’s works hard to provide you with products that contain recognizable and balanced ingredients that are delicious but also great for your health!