Balanced Diet For Weight Loss :

Energy not used is converted into fat and then stored

We eat not only because we enjoy our food, but because food provides the necessary fuel for the working of our bodies: it supplies material for growth and repair of body tissues, it provides heat and energy, and it supplies materials needed to regulate body development and to maintain a resistance to certain diseases.

When food is metabolised in the body, it gives off energy. Different foods give off different amounts of energy, and we use the term calorie as a unit with which to measure this heat/energy produced. In terms of heat, one tablespoonful of sugar gives off enough energy in the body to boil one liter of cold water. Twenty five grams of butter gives off sufficient energy to boil three liters of water. If you are 12kg overweight, you are carrying around enough stored energy to boil 140 liters of water! It is a pity that as yet no one has devised a scheme to get at this energy for general use!

Foods high in calorie value must be avoided in slimming diets, because if the energy they give off is not quickly used up it is converted into fat and stored. When eventually it is required, the fat undergoes a process of conversion back into glucose, and then glycogen needed for muscular activity.

We divide food into groups. A normal well balanced diet should contain daily proportions of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, mineral salts and vitamins.

Carbohydrates are the starches and sugars in our diet which provide the energy requirements for the body. When metabolised they form glucose, and if too much is eaten the glucose is stored as fat.

These goods should be avoided on a slimming diet. The body will obtain all the energy it requires from its stored fat. Incidentally, it should be understood that even when we are being very inactive or asleep we are still using up energy all the time. We are warmer than our surroundings, and losing heat constantly which has to be replenished.

Our heart muscles are working away pumping blood around the body. Our lungs are expanding and contracting with every breath we take, our last meal is being digested, our bone marrow is hard at work making red blood cells, and there are countless chemical reactions taking place within our bodies. Unfortunately no calories are used up in mental effort!

Proteins are a group of foods required for bodybuilding, growth and repair. These are the less fattening foods and some must be taken every day as they cannot be stored in the body in protein form. An excess of protein will however be stored as fat.

There are two classes of protein: first class proteins are from animal origin such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, poultry and cheese.

Second class proteins are of vegetable origin such as peas, beans, lentils, nuts and cereals. Some first class protein is recommended every day.

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