Crossover Foods – What are they?
What are Crossover Foods?
We’ve all heard of macro-nutrients that make up our food. Macro-nutrients are divided into protein, carbohydrates and fats. And we often categorize our foods into either one of these categories. While it’s often OK to categorize food in this manner, it can sometimes be misleading.
Protein, Carbohydrates, Fats are rarely isolated in foods. The isolation exists in certain foods (examples to follow), but remember that categorizing food is often done based on the highest amount of macro-nutrient in that particular food. This can be a bit misleading for folks trying to follow a certain daily macro target.
Isolated foods (and this is a term I coined) are foods that have only one macro-nutrient. The other macro-nutrients are less to none.
Let’s cite a few examples for better understanding:
- Oils: These are foods isolated in fats. The only macro-nutrient in these foods is fat.
- Almond Butter (or cashews or Walnuts, etc.): The highest amount of macro-nutrient is fat, there is some amount of protein and carbohydrate associated with these foods. This is a cross-over food and is often categorized as “fat”.
- Egg Whites/Whey: Isolated in protein.
- Whole Eggs: Crossover between protein and fat.
- Potatoes / Brown Rice: Isolated in carbohydrate (very little protein associated)
- Lentils / Chick Peas / Kidney Beans: Crossover between protein and carbohydrates.
- Non-Fat Cheese: Isolated in protein.
- Skim Milk: Crossover between carbohydrate (lactose being the source) and protein.
- Whole Milk: Crossover between carbohydrate, fat and protein.
- Shakeology: Although there are carbohydrates associated with Shakeology, the source for these carbohydrates is mostly vegetables. Vegetables are high in micro-nutrients and I don’t advise counting these towards your daily macros. Perhaps, this is the reason the 21 Day Fix counts this as protein. Body Beast, however, has categorized this as a lentil, due to a similar profile.
I think you get the idea. Whenever there are foods with certain macro-nutrients being your goal, there is a chance of going way off that your targets if you’re categorizing a cross-over food as an isolated food. I’ve heard people categorizing lentils as a protein. While there is protein associated with lentils, you’re also getting a whole lot of carbohydrates along with it. If you have a daily limit on the amount of carbohydrate you will take per day, your ratios could go way off and while you think you’re within your daily macros, you’re actually not.
The best way to overcome the situation is to track using a tracker. A good app for tracking is MyFitnessPal, it tells you exactly what you’re doing. After a few days of tracking, you’ll know exactly what’s wrong or right and will be able to fine tune depending upon your goals. You can read more about MyFitnessPal on my blog here, but the key thing is to track food when you start your fitness journey. Over a period of time, you get used to eye balling and it becomes second nature.
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