How does good nutrition relate to exercise – You probably already know that both exercise and nutrition are essential for general health. In order to improve, maintain or optimize your state of being, you do need to pay special consideration to both these aspects.
What you put in and how you work out determine the quality of life, and both work in conjunction for the greater benefit. That’s why it’s a kind of cool development to learn that food labels, which typically just gave a generalization of the nutritional profile, are now adding exercise recommendations to the list.
Yes! You heard correct. Your local grocery food items will soon be sporting an all-new label section. This section has been developed by an initiative called PACE, short for Physical Activity Calorie Equivalence.
To summarise it, the labeling standard will aim to put into perspective what the real energy value is behind the food we eat from an activity perspective. PACE provides recommendations in the realm of distance or time of activity required to achieve an energy burn equivalent to the energy input on the label
To really understand what’s going on and what this all means, let’s take a closer look at how food and exercise play into each other.
Your body is an energy in, energy out system where energy is provided by the food you eat, and energy out is a matter of how active you are and how your metabolism processes energy.
This energy is measured in calories, units of energy based on the 3 macronutrients, protein, carbs, and fats. Your energy balance can be negative, neutral or positive. A negative balance means you are consuming more calories than you’re using (deficit), a positive balance is one where consumption is higher than expenditure (surplus) and a neutral balance is one where you are more or less matching your input and output.
The more you eat, the more towards positive you go, the more you exercise, the more towards negative you go. In the context of the modern health framework, a negative energy balance seems to be the ideal way to go for most people.
The obesity crisis in our hyper industrialized world, where sedentarism and processed foods rule our lifestyle habits, has come under urgent scrutiny. For some time, being aware of food labels and discerning what you buy and subsequently eat based on that has been the go-to method of determining energy inputs vs outputs for better weight management.
One area that members of the public are generally unaware of on the same general knowledge level is how activity affects energy output. Most people know that working out burns calories, but the level of quantitative understanding isn’t to the same level as being able to know that x food item has y amount of calories.
With PACE, it seems like the tide is now turning towards a full spectrum understanding of our energy balance.
Despite this promising revelation, there are still limits to what precise value having exercise recommendations will provide consumers.
Just as the case with nutritional data on food labels, exercise recommendations can’t possibly present an accurate guideline for serious implementation. It all boils down to individual differences.
Just as people have unique nutritional needs, they also have unique activity needs. Let’s look at some of the factors that make it difficult to generalize activity requirements.
A no-brainer, age directly impacts how exercise influences your ability to use up energy. The older you get, the less efficient your body becomes at turning over its energy stockpiles.
Your sex will also determine your calorie-burning potential. Men on average have a higher metabolic setpoint than women. The physiology of the male body allows for a higher energy output relative to the input.
A litany of genetic factors can quickly eclipse and general recommendations in what influences an individual’s exercise requirements when it comes to energy balance.
Other factors can influence how the body burns calories. For example, people who suffer from chronic conditions, especially those listed as a metabolic disease (obesity, diabetes, and hypertension), will have more difficulty burning the suggested amount of calories for the recommended amount of activity.
The environment also plays a role, with changes in altitude and climate having an impact on how the body’s metabolism functions.
Having said that, it’s definitely a step in the right direction. How does good nutrition relate to exercise, having workout recommendations, even as a very rough, generalized guideline, is a new level in helping the average consumer get in touch with their health.
At the very least, the PACE system could potentially act as a calorie restriction system rather than an exercise guide.
Share this post