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The body needs nutrients and we eat to provide the body its necessary ingredients. That would be considered eating sufficiently. Unfortunately we can't just keep feeding it or we gain weight. Therefore, we need to make sure we limit our calories. The trouble with controlling calories is the proper nutrients might not get consumed before the calorie limit is reached. The only way to squeeze all the required nutrients into a limited calorie diet is to eat efficiently.

In order for me to eat sufficiently I need 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat. If I want to maintain my weight balance I have to eat ~2200 calories. That means to eat efficiently I must consume 220g protein, 220g carbs and 55g fat. Knowing what I need to eat now I have to choose foods to reach those goals. To begin, lets start with a piece of fruit. The table below shows the calories and nutrients received from a piece of fruit.

Food
Calories
Fat
Carbs.
Protein
Apple
74
0g
19g
0g
Orange
138
1g
35g
2g
Banana
85
0g
21g
2g

It should be obvious from the table that eating fruit is not efficient. It doesn't offer enough protein per calorie. Remember the goal is to achieve a 20% fat, 40% carbs and 40% protein. The banana yields 0% fat, 91% carbs and 9% protein.Instead we try a higher protein food like cottage cheese. Again the table below shows the calories and nutrients received from this food.

Food
Calories
Fat
Carbs.
Protein
Cottage cheese
199
7g
6g
26g

Cottage cheese yields 18% fat, 15% carbs and 67% protein. This time I've received too much fat, not enough carbs and too much protein.

Food
Calories
Fat
Carbs.
Protein
Banana
85
0g
21g
2g
Cottage cheese
199
7g
6g
26g
Total
284
7g
27g
28g

Combining the two foods yields 11% fat, 44% carbs and 45% protein. Still a little low in fat and slightly high in carbs and protein but definitely better than either food alone.

Finally we've reached the last topic of eating sufficiently and efficiently. Timing nutrient consumption. It was previously mentioned that the combination of cottage cheese and a banana yields the nutrient ratios closest to the target but the question that wasn't answered is whether the two items should be eaten together or separated into multiple meals or snacks?

More meals help control hunger better. In addition timing the nutrients can increase energy and muscle repair during the day. Carbs are the body's energy so they should be high at the first meal, high before physical activity and decrease at night. Protein is for muscle repair so the largest consumption should be after exercise. Fat is the most concentrated source of energy so should be distributed throughout the day.

To help better understand eating sufficiently, efficiently and timing nutrients I'll offer two aids. The first is the FitDay web site above. It is free to join, other than a priceless e-mail address, and is one of many sources on the web for counting calories.

The second is a spreadsheet. Download the spreadsheet and enter current information or target information and through trial and error figure out exactly what needs to be eaten to reach goals. FitDay.com will have all the dietary information required to fill in the cells. In addition, at the bottom of the spreadsheet are two charts. Those two charts actually plot nutrient consumption thoughout the day. Visually the timing of nutrients can be observed and again through trial and error, adjusted.

A health section isn't complete without discussing exercise. Exercise is the final step after learning to eat sufficiently and effeciently squeeze nutrients into a limited calorie diet. Click Health / Exercise to continue.