Basic Food Component Ratios

Guess which indulgence I picked for this graph. Hint: they sell these in the coffee shop where I am people watching and writing from.  (Answer at bottom)
Guess which indulgence I picked for this graph. Hint: they sell these in the coffee shop where I am people watching and writing from. (Answer at bottom)

Until recently, I fed into the food pyramid or food plate approach that we are taught in school. Unfortunately, this didn’t work as well as a scientific method that I learned to use when measuring out portion sizes in p90x. That program and many other weight-management programs use the three basic components of foods to measure your daily intake, as opposed to the food groups of the FDA. Each food is made up of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

A healthy individual that is trying to maintain weight will ration about 40% carbohydrates, 40% proteins and 20% fats each day. The basic food component ratio depends on your goals: if you want to gain weight you generally eat more carbohydrates and fats, whereas if you want to lose weight you generally choose a more protein-rich diet.  It’s is important to realize, however, that each food item generally will contain all three of these nutritional building blocks.

Apart from the nutrition label that you can deduce an approximate ratio from pretty easily, sites like nutritiondata.com can help you determine what these proportions are for each food – eventually you’ll catch on by grouping foods together, like beans and chickpeas. The first two weeks of figuring out the basics of doing this tested my patience, but it was definitely worth the work to re-balance my diet and develop sensible food awareness for the rest of my life.

Answer to the caption above:  Dark-chocolate coated coffee beans.

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