I usually try to eat right but am worried that this will not continue into medical school. We'll all be very busy and probably have little time to worry about eating right. I found this article and think it may help to use this as well as using the tool found at http://www.fitday.com . Clean Eating A primer for the 52 Day Challenge: Nutrition Event ]b]Caloric Requirements Before we talk about ?clean eating?, let?s discuss caloric requirement. One way to calculate your caloric requirement is with the Harris-Benedict Formula: I use the following formula(for males): 66 + (6.3 x body weight in lbs.) + (12.9 x height in inches) - (6.8 x age in years) This gives you your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) Now that you know your BMR, multiply your BMR by your activity multiplier from below: Activity Multiplier Sedentary = BMR X 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job) Lightly active = BMR X 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/wk) Mod. active = BMR X 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/wk) Very active = BMR X 1.725 (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days/wk) Extr. active = BMR X 1.9 (hard daily exercise/sports & physical job Your BMR X Activity Level = Calories Needed for maintenance : what you need to sustain your body at status quo. If you want to lose weight, subtract 500 calories a day to lose 1 pound per week. Subtract 1000 to lose 2 pounds per week. It is not recommended to go below a 1000 calorie deficit. It is also not recommended to go below 2000 calories a day if you are trying to maintain / build muscle mass. I recommend you start out a fat loss program at a 500 calorie deficit, try that for a couple of weeks, then, if you aren?t getting the results you want, cut 250 off, try that for a couple of weeks, and repeat until you find the level that works for your body. After a few months, change it; your body will become accustomed to a caloric level and needs it to be altered once in a while. To set up your macronutrient ratios: Protein is 4 calories per gram. Carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram. Fat is 9 calories per gram. Alcohol is 7 calories per gram. First, set your protein requirement. A good protein requirement for most people is 0.9 grams per pound of body weight. After getting your protein intake in grams by this formula, multiply it by 4 to get your daily protein requirement in calories. Subtract that number from the daily calorie target you?ve calculated. The remaining number divide by two to get your carb calories and fat calories. Divide that by 4 and 9 respectively to get grams per day. You can play with the ratios if you want. Many people losing weight go for 40% protein, 30% carbs, and 30% fat. Some go for 33 / 33 / 33. You can experiment to find what works for you. Eating clean ? Eating clean? means, basically, eating the right kinds of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are an important energy source for your body and your brain. Some are better than others. The Glycemic Index describes how quickly your body metabolizes foods into sugars. High G.I. foods turn into sugars quickly, causing an insulin spike. Low GI foods metabolize slowly. Try to keep your carbs lower than 75 GI. You can find the GI ratings here: http://diabetes.about.com/library/mendosagi/nmendosagi.htm, or www.glycemicindex.com, or various other sources. Examples of Low GI Carbs: Vegetables, Mixed Beans, Oatmeal, Bran, Whole Grain Breads, Whole Grains, Barley, Brown Rice, Low GI Fruits Lowfat Milk, Lowfat Yogurt (note: while these dairy products have a low GI, they have a high Insulin Index (the reaction your body produces to the metabolizing of these products), so use in moderation) White Rice (note: while having a higher GI, these have a low Insulin Index, so again, use in moderation) High GI Carbs to Avoid: White Bread (includes ?wheat bread? ? must say ?whole wheat? or ?whole grain?) this means bagels, tortillas, pitas, and all other forms of bread Potatoes (the worst ? very high GI) (sweet potatoes are OK) High GI fruits (watermelon, dates, raisins, ) and fruit juice ? eat raw fruits instead (one glass of orange juice has over three oranges in it, without the benefits of the fiber in the raw orange) Sugar and processed food with sugar or its many forms (high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar, molasses, etc) Pastas (use in moderation, and never with saturated fats, e.g. fettucine alfredo) Most breakfast cereals (stick to whole grain / bran cereals if you must eat cereals) Note: There is a whole other subject, called ?glycemic loads?, describing the value of the entire item you are eating, that can be taken into consideration, but it is simply too extensive and undeveloped to go into at this time. Look into it yourself at www.mendosa.com (now http://diabetes.about.com/library/mendosagi/nmendosagi.htm) if you?re interested. Proteins: Eat lean proteins, low in saturated fats. Examples of Good Protein Sources: Lean Beef (90% lean ground beef, lean steak) Chicken (particularly white meat) Turkey (particularly white meat) Lean pork (tenderloin, lean ham) Lowfat dairy products, in moderation Cottage cheese (highly recommended form of casein protein) Whey protein Fish, particularly tuna, salmon, and cod Eggs, particularly egg whites (yolks in moderation) Soy and soy products, while very good sources of protein, have also been shown in some studies to have potential for causing high estrogen levels and sexual dysfunction. I suggest using these in moderation until testing is completed and a conclusion has been reached. Caveat Emptor. Proteins to avoid: Fatty meats (non-extra lean ground beef, fatty pork (bacon, ribs, etc) Fatty dairy (whole milk, most cheese, ice cream) Fats: Fats, which have been vilified, are an essential ingredient in our diet. Poly and monounsaturated fats must be included in your daily plan. A small amount of saturated fats are also needed. Minimize saturated fats, maximize monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Try to get good Essential Fatty Acids ? Omega 3 and Omega 6?s. No more than 1/3 of your fat calories should be saturated fats (if you are on a 40/30/30 plan, 10% of your calories may come from sat fats) Examples of good fats: Fish and fish oils ? polyunsaturated, best source of Omega 3?s ? cold water fish ? tuna, salmon, cod Flaxseed oil ? some Omega 3, good Omega 6 Olive Oil - monounsaturated fat Avocados ? monounsaturated fat Nuts ? mono, poly, and omega 6s ? best are walnuts and almonds Bad fats: Saturated fats ? from animal products (fatty beef, pork, milk, etc) Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats (trans fatty acids) ? Wicked Bad Stuff. (margarine and Crisco are trans fatty acids) Most vegetable oil and corn oil ? use Canola oil if you must use oil, and use in moderation ? try not to cook in oil if you can avoid it. If you cook with oil, use an oil with the appropriate smoke point. Water: Water is a compound we can?t do without for more than only a few days. The human body is about 60 to 75 percent water, and the brain is said to be about 85 percent water. Even bones are about 20 percent water. The body needs water. Nothing substitutes for water; coffee, tea, alcohol, are not the same as water. Drink at least 10 glasses of water a day. Note: The more caffeine you drink, the more water you must drink. Caffeine is a diuretic and flushes water out of your system. Vitamins and Minerals: Vitamins and Minerals play a vital role in maintaining the proper biological functioning of everything from muscles to memory. Nutritionists will tell you that they are unnecessary if we consume a properly balanced diet, but few of us consume a ?properly balanced diet?. It is highly recommended to consume a good quality multivitamin/mineral supplement daily. It is very difficult to obtain protective levels of some nutrients solely from diet. Special notes: 1) Avoid mixing high GI carbs with fats 2) Avoid all processed / prepackaged foods 3) Read labels! Be on the lookout for bad stuff! 4) Eat your veggies! 5) Do not eat too little. Your metabolism will slow to a crawl and you will stop burning fat. 6) Do not eat too much. You will store excess as fat. 7) Alcohol, if required, must be kept to a minimum. When you drink alcohol, your body uses the alcohol as an energy source instead of burning your fat stores. ?Clean Eating? for the 52 Day Challenge: 1) Keep your caloric intake around your computed requirement ? not too low, not too high 2) Keep your macronutrient ratios per your computed requirement, say within 10% - track them on www.fitday.com if possible 3) Eat low GI carbs, lean proteins, mono & polyunsaturated fats 4) Eat your veggies! Eat your veggies! Eat your veggies!