Quantified nutrition: A simple yet sustainable way to shed those extra kilos

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In order to bring your body in shape, you have to carefully measure what nutrients you take. (Source: File Photo)

When the crowd runs after diet pills and fashionable slimming fads, it is easy to get swayed. However, ask yourself if something that promises instant results, is really sustainable. Do you want to go on a magic five-day slimming diet only to rapidly gain that dreaded fat back in less than two days? The first step to getting fit long-term is understanding your body’s demands and following through accordingly, recommends Jitendra Chouksey, founder of SQUATS, a curated marketplace for fitness and nutrition consulting.

Understanding your body

Look closely and you will see that your body functions as per the most fundamental laws of energy conversion. It converts the food you eat into usable energy and stores the excess as fat. The variability of this conversion depends on the different components of the food you eat. Each component/nutrient gives you a different value; it is up to you to understand what your body needs and decide how much you need to meet your fitness goals.

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Quantified nutrition for quantifiable results

In order to bring your body in shape, you must carefully measure the nutrients you consume. In other words, you need to quantify your nutrition. In fact, knowingly or not, you do something very similar to quantifying your nutrition daily. Actions like counting the number of rotis or bowls of pulses you eat are a form of quantifying nutrients. Yet, it is not always systematically planned and thus does not bring about the desired results.

Breaking down the nutrients in food

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In general, the human diet contains three macronutrients — proteins, carbohydrates and fats. They are calculated and distinguished based on the number of calories they generate per gram. While proteins and carbohydrates generate four calories per one gram, fats generate nine calories per gram for production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate, an organic chemical that provides energy). For instance, sticking to whole foods by eating only recognisable foods and avoiding processed ones or slow-carb diet: Meat, legumes/beans, and veggies and abstaining from white foods like sugar, pasta, bread, cheese.

Further, you must also be mindful about the thermic action of food (TEF) or specific dynamic action which is the energy that the body uses to break down different food sources. Foods that make the body work harder are considered the best as they drive a higher calorie burn. In the context of macronutrients, fat and carbohydrate-rich foods have nearly similar TEF. Protein-rich foods, on the other hand, have a much higher TEF and thus are considered important components of a conscious diet.

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Finding the right balance

The body needs wholesome nourishment and thus requires a balance between these macronutrients. Supplementing a diet based on quantified nutrition with a few good practices like exercising, sticking to whole foods, and mindful eating can go a long way in shedding those extra kilos.

It is as simple as counting money. Once you start keeping track, you will spend only as much as your budget allows. Replicating this practice with nutrients that your food provides can empower you to do what seemed undoable — taking full control of your body and finally achieving your fitness goals!

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