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    Essentially, our bodies need nutrients, of which there are macronutrients, and micronutrients. Macronutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, and of course water. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. Water is the most important nutrient of all, since you can only survive for a few days without it, but we require certain amounts of all the different nutrients.

    Carbohydrates are the body's primary source of energy. Derived from bread, rice, pasta, fruits and vegetables etc., they are vital for energy and if you've ever tried to go on a low-carb diet, you will know how difficult it is. My recommendation is to get 50-60% of your calories from carbs, and I mean quality complex carbs, not simple carbs that are found in chocolate bars, cookies etc. Avoid junk food like the plague! You should also minimize starchy carbs like potatoes and pasta, and instead opt for better choices such as brown rice or broccoli.

    Protein is used by the body to build/repair muscle. Complete sources of protein are all meats, preferably chicken and fish, milk, and eggs.(especially egg whites) There are also sources of incomplete protein like beans and rice, which you can combine with a small portion of animal protein to make sure you are getting all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Depending on your goals or sport, you should get at least 30% of caloric intake coming from protein. A good formula is 1 gram/lb. of body weight. This may be considered high for some, and low for others.(bodybuilders) A lot of people tell me "It's impossible to eat that much protein from food!" Well, who said it has to come all from food? There is a plethora of quality protein shakes now available, such as EAS Myoplex, Muscletech's Meso-Tech, and the original Met-Rx. These can be used as meal replacements, once or twice a day.

    Fat. Ok, there are good ones and bad ones. You should ideally try to keep your fat intake in the 10-20% range, no matter what your endeavor. Excellent sources of good fats are the omega-3, omega-5, etc. oils, which are not saturated fats and have tremendous benefits, one being joint lubrication. Fats to avoid (in large quantities) are ones from animal sources, and also certain oils such as palm and coconut, and also butter and hydrogenated vegetable oil margarines.

    Vitamins and Minerals are needed in smaller amounts, but a minor imbalance can cause serious side effects if left unchecked. There are more important ones, but we also require quite a few in trace amounts. Your best bet is to get a good quality multi-vitamin. And make sure the minerals are chelated. Chelation is a process which allows better assimilation of the nutrients. Whereas with a non-chelated mineral the body may only assimilate 10% of the dosage, chelated form will be absorbed much more efficiently, as high as 40%. I highly recommend the book "Earl Mindell's Vitamin Bible" for anything you want to know about vitamins and minerals, as well as protein, carbs, fat, and more. It's very informative and a great reference.

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