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A calorie (lower case c) is a unit of energy and is defined as the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius. A Calorie (upper case C) or kilocalorie (kcal) is equal to 1,000 calories. Estimated total energy expenditure (TEE), also referred to as total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), and is defined as the amount of energy (calories) spent, on average, in a typical day. TEE is actually the sum total of three different energy components of

  • Resting metabolic rate (RMR)
  • Thermic effect of food (TEF)
  • Energy expended during physical activity

Energy Production

There are basically two types of energy systems that the body utilizes, Aerobic and Anaerobic. Each energy system produces Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which is used by the muscles to contract.

The Aerobic System can utilize carbohydrates, proteins or fat to supply an unlimited amount of ATP as long as oxygen is present. The Aerobic system provides medium to very long duration energy production with low to moderate power (less than 85% of maximum output).  The by-product of this system is heat, water and carbon dioxide.


Proteins are the basic structure of all living cells. Proteins are used in making hormones, blood plasma transport systems, and enzymes. The basic building blocks of proteins are called amino acids. There are two types of proteins complete and incomplete. Amino acids are categorized as essential and non-essential. Of the twenty amino acids that have been identified, nine are considered essential amino acids those that are not manufactured by the body, these must come from dietary intake. The body can manufacture the non-essential amino acids from the by-products of carbohydrate metabolism. Amino Acids are crucial for proper Central Nervous System (CNS) function.

Protein rich foods are

  • High Fat – Meat, salmon, eggs, peanut butter, milk, cheese
  • Low Fat – Tuna, egg whites, red beans, skim milk, non-fat cheese


Carbohydrates are utilized for energy, both instant and sustained. When insufficient carbohydrates are taken in, the body must utilize proteins for energy even to the point of catabolizing muscle tissue for energy.


Digestive enzymes in the small intestines break down the carbohydrates into glucose.  The glucose can be immediately utilized by the body or stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver. The muscles can store about 20 minutes of glycogen for energy.  The bloodstream can hold about an hour of glucose for energy.  If glucose levels are maximized and all glycogen storage locations are full then the excess glucose is converted to fat by the liver and stored in adipose tissue or fat cells.  There is really no limit to the amount of fat that a body can store.

  • Fats

Fat is required for the production of cell membranes, blood lipids (body fat), bile (fat emulsifier), steroids and vitamin D.  Fats molecules are made up of glycerol and fatty acids. Body fat is also instrumental in body temperature regulation as insulation.  Minimum body fat percentages of 7% for men and 12% for women are recommended.  Fats are also utilized for the transport and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. In addition, fats are the only source of linoleic acid, which is required for skin growth and maintenance.  Minimum daily requirement for unsaturated fat is 10 grams and 15 grams is preferred.


Types of Fat Characteristics Sources
Saturated Solid at room temp, raises blood cholesterol Animal sources, coconut, palm oil
Unsaturated Liquid at room temperature Plant sources
Hydrogenated Unsaturated converted chemically to Saturated Regular Margarine
Polyunsaturated Lowers blood cholesterol Corn, soy,  sunflower, fish
Monosaturated No effect on blood cholesterol Canola, olive, peanut oils


Fats are digested by the enzyme lipase in the small intestines with the assistance of bile salts as emulsifiers. They are then transported through the bloodstream with the assistance of lipoproteins (fat + protein coating + phospholipids) and stored as Triglyceride (glycerol + 3 particles of fatty acids) in fat cells. They are then released into the bloodstream as fatty acids when energy is required.


The fatty acids travel through the bloodstream and are combined with glucose to burn the combination as energy.  The combination of fatty acids and glucose is necessary for aerobic energy production. The anaerobic system uses mainly glucose and phosphagen, which is limited in its ability to produce energy.


Fat is essential to survival.  A fat-less diet can lead to severe problems. Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid, is used by the liver to manufacture arachidonic acid. This super polyunsaturated fat is used in cell membranes along with protein.

  • Vitamins

Vitamins are organic compounds not manufactured by the body other than proteins, carbohydrates and fats that are required for growth, maintenance and repair. Vitamins require no digestion and are absorbed directly into the blood stream. The thirteen vitamins identified are divided into two groups, fat-soluble and water-soluble.


Fat Soluble Vitamins RDA Purpose Sources
A 1,000 mcg Vision, skin, hair, growth, mucous membranes Egg yolk, milk, butter, yellow and dark green vegetables, yellow-orange fruits
D 5 mg Bone and tooth structure, needed to absorb calcium Sunshine, milk, eggs, fish
E 10 mg Red Blood Cells, muscles Whole grains, oils, fruits, green leafy vegetables
K 80 mcg Blood Clotting, bone growth Eggs, green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, tomatoes


Water Soluble Vitamins RDA Purpose Sources
C 60 mg Strengthens blood vessel walls, antihistamine, builds collagen Citrus, tomatoes, broccoli, potatoes, green peppers, cabbage, strawberries
B1 – Thiamin 1.5 mg Appetite, digestion, nerve function, carb metabolization Pork, legumes, whole grains, wheat germ, nuts
B2 – Riboflavin 1.7 mg Fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism, mucous membrane Milk, dairy, whole grain, eggs, fish, green leafy vegetables
B3 – Niacin 19 mg Appetite, lowers cholesterol, fat, protein and carb metabolism Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, peanuts, legumes, grains
B6 – Pyridoxine 2 mg Serotonin (mood regulation), protein metabolism Meat, poultry, fish, grains, bran, wheat germ, egg yolk, legumes, green leafy vegetables
B12 – Cobalamin 2 mcg Red blood cells, genetic material production, new tissue Meat, poultry, fish, dairy
Folic Acid 200 mcg Red blood cells, genetic material production Meat, eggs, fish, green vegetables, beans, asparagus, yeast
Pantothenic Acid 7 mg Adrenal function, food metabolization, nerve function Whole grains, eggs, vegetables, meats
Biotin 100 mcg Metabolization of glucose Egg yolk, milk, legumes, peanuts, bananas
  • Minerals

Minerals are divided into two groups, major and trace minerals. Major minerals are those that are required by the body in quantities greater than 100 mg per day and include Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Chloride and Sodium. Trace minerals are those that are required by the body in quantities less than 100 mg per day. Trace minerals are Iron, Copper, Zinc, Iodine and Selenium. The following table includes recommended daily allowance.


Essential Minerals RDR Purpose Source
Calcium 800 mg Blood clotting, Bones, Muscles, Nerves Milk products, Broccoli
Phosphorus 750 mg Muscles, Nerves, Energy production, Bones Cereal, Meat, Fish, Legumes, Dairy
Potassium 2000 mg Energy, Hair, Skin, Nails, Heart rhythm, muscle contraction, regulation of body fluids Citrus, Bananas, fish, poultry, dairy
Magnesium 350 mg Bone growth, protein and energy production Egg yolks, dark leafy greens
Sodium 500 mg Muscle and nerve function, body fluid balance Meat, Milk products, fish, salt
Chloride 750 mg Aids digestion, maintains body fluid balance Salt
Zinc 15 mg Insulin production, male prostate function, digestion, metabolism Shellfish, eggs, meat
Iron 10 mg Hemoglobin (Blood Oxygen transport), Myoglobin (Muscle Oxygen storage) Meat, Fish
Chloride 750 mg Muscle and nerve function, acid-base balance, digestion Meat, Milk products, Fish
Fluoride 4 mg Hardens bones and teeth Coffee, tea, spinach, gelatin, onion
Iodine 150 mcg Proper thyroid function Water, Iodized salt
Copper 3 mg Red blood cells, connective tissue, nerve fibers Shellfish, grains, nuts, chocolate
Chromium 200 mcg Carbohydrate metabolism Vegetables, grains, Brewer’s Yeast
Molybdenum 250 mcg Nitrogen metabolism Grains, vegetables
  • Exercise & Diet

Exercise and diet are very much inter-related as either of them affects the other. When exercising, one should balance his or her dietary intake accordingly. Similarly, if individual is not exercising, one should limit accordingly. Few dietary guidelines to follow when exercising are


  • Enjoy a variety of foods that will provide essential nutrients.
  • Three-quarters of your lunch and dinner should be vegetables, fruits, cereals, breads, and other grain products. Snack on fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat lots of dark green and orange vegetables. Choose whole-grain and enriched products often.
  • Choose lower-fat dairy products, leaner meats and alternatives, and foods prepared with less fat.
  • Shop for low fat (2% or less) or fat-free products such as milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese. Eat smaller portions of leaner meats, poultry, and fish; remove visible fat from meat and the skin from poultry. Limit the use of extra fat like butter, margarine, and oil. Choose more peas, beans, and lentils
  • Limit salt, caffeine, and alcohol. Limit beverages with a high caffeine content (tea, sodas, chocolate drinks) and caffeinated coffee to two cups per day.
  • Minimize the consumption of salt.
  • Cut down on added sugar such as jams, etc.
  • Limit consumption of snack foods such as cookies, donuts, pies, cakes, potato chips, etc. They are high in salt, sugar, fat, and calories, and low in nutritional value.
  • Eat in moderation. If you are not hungry, don’t eat.

Any physical activity requires energy expenditure above resting metabolism. Even sedentary people who only engage in modest daily physical activities consisting of personal care and other necessary daily movement expend energy above their RMR.

  • Supplements

Supplement is something added to complete a thing, make up for a deficiency, or extend or strengthen the whole.

Today’s vast array of health and fitness supplements can be mind numbing to navigate, and deciding what type of supplement is appropriate for an individual’s body and workout goals can be even harder. Supplements can be effective in helping to reach health goals, but they also have the potential to increase heart rate and blood pressure, while others just don’t work. Many “Complex Formula” type diet supplements contain various ingredients; some of which may be stimulants or laxatives. Weight loss results may only be temporary and due to the diuretic effect of the supplement. Few supplements are

  • Multi-vitamin – Vitamin could boost hundreds of thousands of processes that occur in body relating to mood, energy, strength, endurance, and recovery.
  • Protein – It also tops the list of supplements. Protein supplements can be taken before, during, or post workout to boost nitrogen balance in the positive direction which increases muscle recovery.
  • Creatine – It is a very effective strength booster thus, performance will increase in muscle mass and fat burning. It boosts strength, endurance, and energy in the gym.
  • Caffeine – Often found in pre-workout supplements, caffeine has become a solid staple in many supplement plans.
  • Glutamine – This important amino acid is found naturally throughout the body but bodybuilders and athletes will need more than the average person. This supplement has shown to reduce muscle breakdown and boost recovery.


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