A guide to energy nutrition and weight loss

Talking about  energy, nutrition and weight loss. The law of thermodynamics dictates that energy balance is achieved when :

Energy intake = Energy expenditure.

Energy expenditure has several components. The Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR) describes the obligatory energy expenditure required to maintain the most basic metabolic functions in tissues and hence sustain life. Breathing, Digestion of food, thermoregulation, sleeping etc are few examples for which energy is required even though the person is at rest.

Our body requires energy which we get from nutrients. Nutrients are classified as:

  • Macronutrients – Carbohydrate, protein, fat. These are eaten in relatively large quantity to provide fuel for energy.
  • Micronutrients – Vitamins, minerals. These do not contribute to energy balance but are required in small amounts as they are not synthesized in the body.

Energy intake is determined by macronutrient contents of food. These complex macronutrients also require energy to break into simpler forms for this breakage too body requires energy (catabolic action).

Complex breaks into simpler i.e

  • complex carbohydrates to glucose
  • Proteins to amino acids
  • Fat to fatty acids

These provide fuel to the cell to generate energy (as ATP adenosine triphosphate). The energy provided by each nutrient differs

  • Carbohydrates-16kJ/g
  • Fat-37kJ/g
  • Protein-17kJ/g

On the other side consumption of alcohol generates 29kJ/g of energy

REGULATION OF ENERGY BALANCE

Energy intake and energy expenditure should be regulated. Recommendations for energy intake are as

CIRCUMSTANCES

FEMALES

MALES

At rest

1600kcal(6.7MJ)

2000kcal(8.7MJ)

Light work

2000kcal(8.4MJ)

2700kcal(11.3MJ)

Heavy work

2250kcal(9.4MJ)

3500kcal(14.6MJ)

 

 Other than macronutrients, micronutrients too play vital role.

Inorganic elements are essential dietary constituents for humans like calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron, magnesium etc. Below is the chart showing daily recommended intake :

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src : http://goo.gl/dAgYSp

Vitamins, which are organic substances with key roles in certain metabolic pathways. They are categorized as fat soluble i.e A,D,E and K and water soluble B,C.Whenever there is imbalance between the intake and expenditure of energy or in other words if there is imbalance of nutrients this causes weight gain or weight loss.

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If the person consumes more of food as recommended according to his lifestyle there are chances of him to gain weight which often leads to obesity. Similarly if the diet is not balanced and the person consumes less calories may cause muscle loss and grow weak thereby showing other deficiency symptoms.

Know your BMR

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