Eating a Lean Mean Diet

By: Cliff Baker

Diet and nutrition is an essential part of body building. If you want to build a lean mean body then the last thing you need to do is diet by depriving yourself of food. The key is to eat a balanced diet.

Everybody needs the four basic nutrients - water, carbohydrates, proteins and fats as well as vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients to build muscle. It is not at all about calorie deprivation.

By choosing the healthiest forms of water, carbohydrates, proteins and fats and eating them in the proper balance you can encourage your body to function at its optimal level.

Water is essential because it is involved in every function of the body. It helps transport nutrients and waste products in and out of cells and is necessary for all digestive, circulatory and excretory functions. It is also needed to maintain a proper body temperature. To ensure health you should drink at least eight, eight ounce glasses of water a day.

Carbohydrates supply the body with the energy it needs to function and are found almost exclusively in plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, peas and bean. Milk products from animals also contain carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are divided into simple and complex carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are simple sugars such as fructose, sucrose and lactose. Complex carbohydrates include foods such as vegetables, whole grains, peas and beans.

Carbohydrates are the main source for fueling the brain and red blood cells. When choosing carbohydrate rich foods for your diet, selecting unrefined foods such as fruits, vegetables, peas beans and whole-grain products, as opposed to refined, processed foods such as soft drinks, cakes and candies, is essential for health.

Protein is essential for the growth and development of the body's cells and it also provides the body with energy. Protein is also needed for the body to manufacture hormones, antibodies, enzymes and tissues.

Once consumed protein is broken down by the body into amino acids, which help build muscle. If there is a shortage of protein in the diet then there may be problems with the muscles.

Dietary proteins belong to two different groups. Complete proteins contain ample amounts of all of the essential amino acids and are found in meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs and milk. Incomplete proteins contain only some of the essential amino acids and are found in grains, legumes and leafy green vegetables.

All soybean products such as tofu and soymilk are complete proteins. Yogurt is the only animal-derived source that is vegetarian. Otherwise protein is found in meat.

Fat is the most concentrated source of energy for the body so it is essential to consume as part of a healthy diet and nutrition plan. However excessive fat intake is a major factor in such health problems as obesity, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease and colon cancer.

Keeping these fats below 10% of your total consumption is considered to be the healthiest approach to eating a healthy diet while muscle building.

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