This meme makes the rounds every couple months and it always makes me grit my teeth. It relies on a complete misunderstanding of how the human body works, as well as a ridiculous fear of fat.
Let’s break this chart down:
Amino Acids - These molecules are what protein is made of. They control nearly all cellular processes and are a necessary part of keeping our metabolisms working in a healthy manner. Protein gives our bodies the energy for growth and maintenance. We rely on these amino acids to make blood cells, cell membranes, and tissue. Yes, building and retaining muscle is one aspect of this, yet the benefits of amino acids are conditional. If our bodies store too much protein, that we do not have an immediate use for, then it is converted into fat. Our body can make these conversions into muscle, fat and energy all at the same time.
Sugar - Sugar can be found in a huge range of foods, including fruits and vegetables. It is a necessary part of nearly each food group listed here. This is a great thing, because glucose is our main source of energy. Without it, you would never have that sudden burst of energy that allows you to get out of bed, start working out, or climb a staircase. Glucose, through aerobic respiration, literally keeps our bodies going. Yet just like with the amino acids and protein, it is only when we eat too much of it that the glucose will be converted into fat for later use.
"Energy" and Fiber - If someone could explain to me what the “wellness” cell looks like within our bodies, I’d be very obliged. But without being able to identify it, we’ll just have to look at the actual components of fruits and vegetables: individual nutrients (just like the other food groups here), fiber, glucose, and carbohydrates. Long story short, the carbs and sugars here will provide you with enough energy to make it through the day while the fiber helps you maintain regular bowel movements. And as always - If you eat too much of this stuff, the excess will be converted into fat. Our bodies love to store the fat and eating fruits doesn’t exempt you from that.
"Vital" molecules - These include amino acids, carbohydrates and lipids. These are simply meant to signify the wide array of molecules we require in order to maintain a healthy and working metabolic system. You do not get these molecules/nutrients simply by eating fish, grains or beans - They require a fully balanced diet that pulls food from each of these groups listed above. Simply eating from that one section would not be enough, nor would it necessarily boost your HDL (“good” cholesterol). Based on your overall health, body type, family history and diet, the way which you’ll maintain your cholesterol levels is personal. Trying to raise your HDL without consulting a doctor first can be dangerous. Just because it’s called “good” cholesterol does not mean that it is always safe, or that simply eating certain food will help you maintain safe levels of it.
Fatty Acids - These are present in two main forms: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are largely unnecessary and really have no medical benefits. This is what we’re thinking of when we see French fries dripping with oil. But unsaturated fat? Our bodies need this, both poly- and mono- versions. This is what’s found in fish, nuts and vegetable oil. Unsaturated fat is a powerful energy source that provides your body with linoleic and linolenic acid. They even lower your cholesterol level and can even help to prevent heart disease Yes, they are still “fat” and any excess will therefore be converted into “fat.” But your body has quite a few uses for the nutrients before they are stored.
Moral of the story here? Don’t demonize or sanctify food. If you don’t actually know what your body uses it for, then research it before you condemn or praise your groceries.
And seriously people - Stop saying “fat” as though it’s something evil. Your body requires it.
Yoga for the splits !
A non-exhaustive list of poses for hips and hamstrings.
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Extend your left leg behind you so it’s parallel with the floor. Engage your abs.
- With your leg extended, bend your elbows lowering your torso toward the floor while keeping your left heel in line with your left hip. Straighten your elbows to push yourself away from the floor.
- Repeat for a total of 15 push-ups; then lift your right leg for another 15 reps.
The shape your legs makes in this is awesome. Plus, it’s probably wicked difficult.