Macronutrients

  • These are nutrients needed in large quantities
  • There are 3 major categories of macronutrients:
    • Carbohydrate
    • Protein
    • Fat
  • There are many different points of views but, in general, most experts recommend that the caloric composition of diet be: 45-65% carbohydrate, 10-35% protein, 20-35% fat

CARBOHYDRATE

  • Provides energy for the body
  • Dietary sources are generally in the form or sugars and starches from grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes.
  • A healthy body has a tight control on blood sugar levels and has three way to dispose of excesses: (1) burned during activities (healthy); (2) stored as glycogen in the liver (healthy); and (3) converted to body fat (unhealthy and a clear indication of consuming too many carbohydrates).
  • Carbohydrates are put into two categories: simple carbs and complex carbs. These have massively different effects in the body:
    • Simple carbs: are easy to digest sugars (click through to BAD STUFF/SUGAR). Simple carbs are over-consumed with the high sugar diet of today, which leads to obesity and poor health. Many snacks are appealing because they give a quick energy, but are loaded with sugar and unhealthy.
  • Complex carbs: are slower to digest and rich in fiber (click through OTHER INGREDIENTS/FIBER). These promote satiety, leading weight loss and better blood glucose and cholesterol control.
  • In general, we should be eating more complex carbs and fewer simple carbs. To understand the quality of carbs, you need to know which type you are consuming.

PROTEIN

  • Humans consume dietary protein, but the body really only wants the amino acids, which make up protein.
  • There are 12 essential amino acids (12: leucine, isoleucine, valine, tryptophan, tyrosine, phenylalanine, methionine, cysteine, threonine, histidine, lysine, arginine) (Click through to ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS). These are essential, because our body does not make these amino acids and must get them from protein-rich foods like meats, seafood, legumes, and dairy products.
  • There are 8 non-essential amino acids (8: alanine, asparagine, aspartate, glutamate, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine). These are non-essential, because our body can make these amino acids. Some essential amino acids are used to make the non-essential ones.
  • Protein is used to make all body parts, particularly all tissues and cells, and to maintain and grow muscle mass.

FAT

  • There are 3 major fat categories: omega-3, -6, and -9. (click through HEALTHY FATS)
  • Essential fats are omega-3s and -6s
    • In general, we consume too many omega-6 fats and not enough omega-3s
  • Omega-9s are made by the body, but extra consumption of them from foods like avocados and olive oil enhances health
  • Saturated and trans fats are unhealthy (click through BAD STUFF)
  • All fats provide a slow-releasing energy source
  • Excess fat is stored around the body, but in some cases, in the abdominal region and on the liver, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes