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  • Writer's pictureNicci

Why carbs and fats are important for fat loss AND aging.

Carbohydrates and fats play important roles in maintaining good health as we age. While individual dietary needs can vary based on your lifestyle and individual body, here are some reasons why these macronutrients are considered beneficial:

  1. Energy Source: Carbohydrates and fats are essential sources of energy for the body. As we age, our metabolic rate may decrease (due, impart, to sarcopenia, something I've written about before), making it important to consume an adequate amount of energy-rich foods. Today we're focusing on carbs and fats, last blog was about protein, so check that out. Carbohydrates are the body's preferred energy source, supplying glucose for immediate energy needs. Fats, on the other hand, provide a concentrated source of energy and are particularly useful for prolonged and low-intensity activities.

  2. Nutrient Absorption: Some vitamins and minerals require the presence of dietary fat for proper absorption. For instance, fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K are absorbed more efficiently when consumed with dietary fat. This is especially relevant for older adults who may have a reduced ability to absorb nutrients.

  3. Weight Management: While excessive consumption of carbohydrates and fats can contribute to weight gain, moderate intake is important for maintaining a healthy body weight. Adequate dietary fat intake helps promote satiety, reducing the likelihood of overeating. Complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, provide dietary fiber, which also helps with weight management and digestive health.

  4. Hormone Production: Fats are crucial for the production of hormones, including sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone. As we age, hormonal changes occur, and maintaining a healthy balance of these hormones can have a positive impact on overall well-being.

  5. Brain Health: Both carbohydrates and fats are important for optimal brain function. Glucose, derived from carbohydrates, is the primary energy source for the brain. Healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids found in foods like fish and nuts, support brain health and may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases.

  6. Nutrient Density: Carbohydrates and fats can contribute to the overall nutrient density of a diet. What this means is that you can get MORE nutrients per amount of food when you choose the right carb and fat sources than you can with other food choices. What a non-nutrient dense food is would be a donut, for example, you get carbs, fats and sugar but nothing else comes with it, no fiber, no vitamins, nothing that makes it nutritious. However, there are many more nutrient dense choices and keeping these in your daily diet is very important for overall deep health. Whole grain carbohydrates provide fiber, B vitamins, and minerals, while healthy fats contain essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. Including a variety of nutrient-dense foods from both categories can help meet nutritional needs as we age.

It's important to note that the quality and quantity of carbohydrates and fats matter. Opt for whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, and oily fish. Balancing macronutrients and considering individual needs is crucial, so it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or nutrition coach (or both!) for personalized dietary advice.

Your personal needs will be based on activity level (or lack of), age, sex, height and then time as you figure out what your appropriate level of calories is and adjust up or down from there. I love math, and the math is pretty spot on but not every body follows the math and we have to pay attention to factors that can change this ie, hormones, medicines that affect activity level or appetite, life changes, injury, health factors.

**If you want to listen more in-depth about the 3 major macronutrients and alcohol there is a 5 part series on the StressLess Lifestyle podcast, you can find the first one here for episode 4, part 1 of 5 about macros.

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