Food Basics 101
To enter the Zone one needs to begin thinking of food in terms of three macronutrients:
All foods are composed of these three macronutrients to varying degrees.
1. Protein is something that “moves around” ie fish, chicken, beef, etc. Protein can also be a by-product of something that “moves around” ie dairy products, egg whites, cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, protein powder, ice cream etc. Soy is also considered a protein.
2. Carbohydrates are something that “grow” in the ground and do not move around. Most people think that carbohydrates are pasta, rice, bread, bagels, cereals and sweets etc. However, fruits and vegetables are also carbohydrates.
3. Fats can be broken down into four categories: saturated, polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and trans fatty acids.
Saturated fats are found in animal protein sources and whole fat dairy products These include beef, beef fat, veal, lamb, pork, lard, poultry fat, butter, cream, milk, cheeses and other dairy products made from whole milk. Saturated fats can also be found in plant foods. These include coconut oil, palm oil and palm kernel oil (often called tropical oils), and cocoa butter. Consumption of saturated fats should be limited in the Zone.
Polyunsaturated fats include safflower oil, sunflower oil, corn oil and soybean oil. Consumption of these polyunsaturated fats should be avoided in the Zone as they can lead to the increased formation of arachidonic acid.
Monounsaturated fats are “good” fats. These include olive oil, canola oil, olives, macadamia nuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, almond butter, peanut butter and avocados.
Trans fatty acids (“TFA”) are formed during the process of hydrogenation, making margarine, shortening and some cooking oils. Foods are hydrogenated to make them stay fresh on the shelf or to get a solid fat product, such as margarine. French fries, doughnuts, cookies and crackers are examples of foods that are high in TFA. Commercially fried foods and commercial baked goods are also likely to be hydrogenated and are also very high in saturated fat. Commercial shortening and deep-frying fats will continue to be made by hydrogenation and will contain TFA. These foods should be avoided in the Zone and are associated with increased heart disease.