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The nutrients that are needed by the body to sustain a good quality of life can be categorized as macronutrients and micronutrients.
All the foods you eat are either proteins, carbohydrates, or fats. The energy value of each macronutrient;
1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
means that when a gram of it is ignited, it renders an energy yield in calories. Once a macronutrient is ingested it stays in the body until it is used.
Carbohydrates are not the enemy. They provide our bodies energy, blood sugar for activity, healing vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber, and are the exclusive energy source for the central nervous system. It may be this nervous system stimulation that draws us to comfort foods.
Protein is the least important nutrient for energy. During periods of dieting, when their is a caloric restriction, the body may turn to muscle tissue for needed blood glucose as a survival mechanism. To maintain a healthy body we need the subunits of protein, the amino acids. These are the building blocks for our muscles, connective tissue, blood, internal organs, heart, skin, hair, and our brain. They also provide for the formation of hormones, and antibodies.
Fats are also a needed nutrient. They carry vitamins, protect organs, keep us warm, provide concentrated stored energy, and their slow burn helps us feel satisfied after a meal.
Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and come from animals, animal products, coconut oil, palm oil and cocoa butter. These fats are recommended to be no more than 10% of total fat intake because of their relationship to heart disease.
Unsaturated fats, while healthier than saturated fats, are still nine calories per gram. They are liquid at room temperature and are derived from non- animal sources.
Vitamins are organic compounds provided in the foods we eat. They are involved in assisting enzymes, and regulating metabolic reactions. They are required for optimal health, yet, provide no calories and no energy.
People today tend to have less nutrient rich meals, and supplementation may be justified.
Minerals are inorganic necessities for cellular metabolism and are usually met through the foods we eat.
www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/foodlab.html#twoparts food labels, serving sizes, DVs
www.mypyramid.gov/index.html food Pyramidwww.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/recommen.htm weight management
www.chefcc.com health conscious chef
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