Health is wealth, save it

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Raj Gabhane

Contributor

Raj Gabhane is a Certified Professional Trainer by the American College of Sports Medicine and sports management graduate student.

“Health is wealth”- while often repeated, this phrase seems to have little effect on health outcomes. 

As someone who has worked as a personal trainer, I find that our reluctance to chase good health outcomes seems to be the presumed complexity involved in “being healthy.” Most people seem to face some sort of cognitive overload when deciding to become healthier—too much information in too little time. 

Starting a workout or diet regimen without professional help can end up yielding substandard results, further lowering motivation and increasing the tendency to quit the program. 

Even though a diet may seem complicated, hard to follow or keep consistency, I want to vouch for the view that people can obtain satisfactory results by knowing key concepts in food science and then following a relatively simple and straightforward diet. 

I find that motivation is plenty when I ruminate on facts like this: high-calorie foods not only create deposits of body fat but also increase cancer risk! According to Dr. Eibl of the University of California, Los Angeles, a high-calorie diet increases inflammation, an abrupt change in metabolism that indicates pancreas problems such as cancer. 

-However, equally, a sudden shift from a high-calorie diet to a low-calorie diet or vice versa may be harmful to the body and can lead to dizziness, emotional swings, stomach bloating and cramping. 

So, what would be the simplest and most effective path to good health? American College of Sports Medicine recommends for realistic weight loss: 

1) Burn 300-400 calories per workout session with moderate intensity, 

2) Exercise a minimum of three days per week, 

3) Create a calorie deficit of 500-1000 calories through regular physical activity. 

4) Consume 1.5 – 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.     

It is also important to learn about carbohydrates. The carbohydrates we consume are either simple carbs or complex carbs. What’s the difference? Simple carbs are a short chain of molecules and therefore broken down quickly by the body to release energy. In contrast, complex carbs are a long and complex chain of molecules that take longer to break down and provide more lasting energy than simple carbs. 

Simple carbs are table sugar or syrup, whereas complex carbs contain whole wheat bread, rice and pasta, which is recommended as a better choice for gaining or losing weight.

  Often people ask how to moderate carb intake at initial stages of a program. Well, the answer depends on the glycemic index of whatever you’re eating. The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that ranks the number of carbohydrates in foods from zero to 100, indicating how quickly a food causes a person’s blood sugar to rise. 

A person’s blood sugar rises and falls throughout the day, depending on the  person’s activity levels at different points of time during the day. Therefore, it is essential to eat food according to the GI for any individual’s health profile to achieve desired targets. The lower the GI of the food, the slower the rate of digestion and absorption of that food. A higher GI indicates a faster rate of digestion and absorption, thus, a quicker rise in blood glucose levels. 

Blood sugar levels drop overnight due to prolonged fasting, so the next morning any sugary cereal or starchy meal will compensate the dropped blood sugar level. 

This helps to boost the energy required for any physical work and hence high GI foods are recommended for early morning breakfast. Moderate to low GI foods are recommended for lunch and pre-workout meals to provide longer lasting-energy for work or during exercise. 

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