The modern human has developed an almost dysfunctional relationship with food. Food is supposed to give the body sustenance by providing it with essential resources to build and regenerate. With rapid advancements in food production, and technology, our lifestyles have given new dimensions to the once uncomplicated world of eating. Here we take a look at the importance of portion size along with the nature of food we consume.
Before assessing what kinds of food are better, and how much to consume, we should re-examine our own goals. While everyone is at a different level of health and fitness, it serves well to step back and take a close look at your own health motivators. Are you trying to merely survive? trying to get rid of the flab clinging to your waist? Or are you recovering from an illness? These are all fairly different circumstances, and call for different strategies. It is therefore essential to analyze your particular situation and then plan accordingly.
Food as amusement
Today, we often eat not just to survive, as our ancestors used to, but often to amuse ourselves. The proliferation of fast-food chains, and of restaurants offering ‘unique experiences’ prove that food has become more than a means to sustain ourselves. It has become an amusement. The food entertainment industries are closely linked, often complementing each other. For example, at every amusement park, or mall, or cinema, there will be a food stall or a fast food restaurant catering to the same audience.
The amount of food one should consume depends on a few factors. First of all, the food consumed should meet the energy requirements of the body. It should provide enough calories so that the body does not have to break down stored fat (unless you are trying to lose weight) or consume its own muscle. According to UK’s National Health Service (NHS), an average man needs 2500kcal to maintain his weight, while an average woman requires 2000kcal to maintain her weight. These are just averages calculated using a large population sample. Each individual should assess his (or her) caloric requirements and eat accordingly. Consuming more than your caloric requirement will result in weight gain, while weight loss is simply the result of a caloric deficit (I.e. eating less than your energy expenditure).
The nutrition connection
Energy is not the only deliverable of a meal. The human body needs multiple types of nutrients for maintaining its physical and chemical structures. Protein, for example, is the substance which builds muscle (as well as skin, hair and other structures). Protein also forms enzymes which catalyze the chemical reactions within the body. Carbohydrates (simple and complex) provide the body with energy, as does fat. Furthermore, minerals and vitamins are required in various quantities in the body to carry out its functions optimally. Keep visiting us to learn more about how micro-nutrients help the various functions of the body.
In the context of human consumption of food, how much is not the enemy of what. How much one consumes should depend on his/her body’s energy demands, while the choice of food should be guided by the nutritional demands of the body. Both considerations are closely linked to individual health goals. Hence, it is advised to always discuss your health goals with your physician before making any drastic changes to your diet.