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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


How much do I need to eat of carbs / protein etc?

I get in a muddle with carbs and protein, well all of it really. What should I eat most of? Thank you.


Our expert says...

Don't worry - you're not alone at all in getting overwhelmed with understanding what you should be eating, and how much of it. In actual fact it’s all common sense - unlike what the headlines would like you to believe!

The basis of all things is providing the body with the right amount of energy, or calories, to keep everything ticking over. All the macronutrients (i.e. carbs, protein, fat and alcohol) provide us with calories in varying amounts. Fat is the one with the most calories per gram (9 cals a gram) which is why we tend to cut down on this when we're trying to lose weight. Carbs and protein provide the same number of calories per gram, but carbs are our main energy source. We should be getting around 50% of our calories from carbs.

Protein is really important in growth and repair - so very important for kids, but equally to make sure we stay healthy as adults. Protein is also important because it helps us to feel fuller for longer, so can be useful in weight control.

In terms of food, you should be aiming to have a serving of protein at every meal - this could be lean meat, fish, eggs, dairy foods or plant proteins such as tofu, Quorn or beans. You should also aim for a serving of carbs at every meal - choose wholegrain options where you can. Examples of good carbs to eat are wholegrain cereals, wholemeal bread / toast, potatoes (with skins on), wholemeal pasta, brown rice, crackers or Ryvitas. Try and keep sugary carbs to a minimum - they're fine in moderation but they won't keep you feeling full for very long, and can cause larger fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

The most important thing about having a healthy diet is to get a good balance - so not having too much of any of the food groups, and spreading your meals across the day, with variety from all the nutrient groups.

Aim to have 1/2 of your plate filled with veg or salad, about a 1/4 with a protein rich food, and the other 1/4 with a carbohydrate rich food. Follow this principle across the day and you won't go far wrong!

More information on healthy eating can be found at www.nhs.uk/Livewell/healthy-eating/Pages/Healthyeating.aspx

You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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