Unless you have lived under a rock your entire life you have seen a food label before. Towards the bottom of that label you see the guidelines for a 2,000 calorie and 2,500 calorie diet. Below that you will see Total Fat, Sat Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Total Carbohydrate, and Dietary Fiber. These are all important parts of your diet. However, something very important is missing. Can you guess what that is? If you guessed Protein you are correct!
How could the government be so incompetent to leave out one of the three vital macronutrients? Enter your comment here __________________ .
Let’s look at the three macronutrients (fat, carbohydrates, and protein). A gram of fat no matter how healthy or unhealthy is 9 calories. One gram of carbohydrates is 4 calories. One gram of protein is 4 calories.
Let’s take this to the next step and exam the 2,000 calorie diet. This diet calls for 65 grams of fat ( 585 calories). This sample diet calls for 300 grams of carbs (1200 calories). So now we are up to 1785 calories out of 2000 calories. We have an entire 215 calories left. The government wants you to do the math. 215/4 is 53.75 (lets round up to 54 grams of protein). So this equates to a high carb, medium fat, and low protein diet. This diet is 60% carb, 29% fat, and 11% protein. This diet is pitiful. It will leave you fat, bloated, weak, and downright pathetic. The only good thing about this diet is it won’t have most of society drastically overeating.
Maybe the 2,500 guidelines are better. Hmmm, 80 grams of fat (720 calories) and 375 grams (1500 calories) of carbs. This leaves an exciting 70 grams of protein (280 calories). This equates to a breakdown of 60% carbs, 29% fat, and 11% protein. Sound familiar? So 89% of your diet would be carbs and fat. And we wonder why we have an overweight society in which fast food restaurants thrive.
To further stupify these ridiculous recommendations let’s look at the fiber recommendations. The 2k diet with 300 carbs recommends a measly 25 grams of fiber. The 2,500 calorie diet recommends 30 grams of fiber. Considering the large amount of carbs recommended it is a pathetic amount of fiber recommended. If you ate 5 apples you would consume 400 calories, 80 grams of carbs, and 25 grams of fiber. Obviously, we don’t eat 5 apples per day, but I use apples as a demonstration to show how easy it is to get 25 grams of fiber without eating a ton of carbs. You could eat 1 apple (80 calories, 20g carbs, 5g of fiber), 1 orange (80 calories, 20 g carbs, 4g fiber), 2 cups of broccoli (50 calories, 8 carbs, 6g fiber), 3 cups of spinach (20 calories, 3 carbs, 2g fiber), 1/2 cup of oatmeal (160 calories, 30 carbs, 5g fiber), and 2 slices of whole grain bread (160 calories, 30 carbs, 6g of fiber) which would give you 545 calories, 111 carbs, and 27 grams of fiber. I managed to give you more fiber from nutrient dense health foods than the recommended 2,000 calorie diet with less than half the carbs and calories (300 carbs = 1200 calories). So this brings me to the question….what the hell do they expect you to eat with these awful diet guidelines?
So let’s recap why the recommended daily American diet guidelines make as much sense as not having seatbelts on a school bus full of children:
- Dude where’s my protein?
- 89% of the diet comes from carbs and fat
- 60% of the diet comes from carbs. Kind of interesting recommending that many carbs to a population that sits behind a computer for 8 hours a day when most elite athletes don’t eat that many carbs!
- Fiber to carb ratio makes no sense.
- Cholesterol and sodium stay the same despite calorie differences.
Now, how do we know how to eat correctly?
First, we need more protein. Eggs, chicken breast, turkey, salmon, cod, tuna, lean steak, greek yogurt, milk, whey protein, and casein protein. A protein source is needed at every meal! This provides muscle-repairing amino acids and it helps you get full faster. If your diet is less than 30% protein you are doing it wrong.
Next you need healthy fats. Think nuts, fatty fish such as salmon, and healthy oils such as olive oil and coconut oil. You are going to get fats from eggs, whole milk, and red meat too. You don’t want fat from donuts, cake, and french fries.
The final piece of the nutritional puzzle is carbs. Those tasty energy sources. You want good carbs from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. My favorite fruits are apples, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, and blueberries. I recommend you pick 2-3 a day. Vegetables are your health homerun hitters. If it is green eat it! Broccoli, spinach, organic wheatgrass, celery, kale, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and peas are great. You can add flavor to your foods with peppers, onions, garlic, and ginger. Whole grains such as Ezekiel bread and oatmeal fit well in a balanced diet.
Factors such as activity level, metabolism, muscle mass, body weight, medical conditions, and objectives should determine caloric needs and macronutrient breakdown, not some incompetent government standards. When in doubt eat more protein and more green vegetables.