Friday, 1 November 2013


What is Food?

Humans require six essential nutrients to live: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. Three of these essential nutrients are called “macronutrients”: carbohydrates, proteins and fat. We all require macronutrients in large quantities throughout the day. Macronutrients are our only sources of energy. To provide your body with sufficient energy you need to maintain a balanced diet, which means including foods from each of these three groups. The balance of these macronutrients controls the hormonal response that ultimately controls the shape of your body. Remember, macronutrients = energy for life.

The Simple Science of Protein

All proteins, whether they come from animal or plant sources, are composed of amino acids, and this is what your body will break them down into. Amino acids are basic biochemical building blocks, used to build and repair cells in your body. Some amino acids are naturally produced by your body. Others, called essential amino acids, can not be produced by your body but must instead come from external sources. The only way to get adequate amounts of essential amino acids is by eating quality protein at each meal. Active people need as much as 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass each day, increasing to as much as 1.5 grams for advanced and elite athletes.


The Simple Science of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are primarily composed of starches (complex carbohydrates), sugars (simple carbohydrates) and fiber (cellulose) and mainly come from plants. Good examples include grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, rice and potatoes. Carbohydrates provide most of our energy. Carbohydrates are also the primary ingredient in junk food like ice cream, cookies, candies, soda pops, chocolate and chips. As you can see, carbohydrates are over-abundant in the North American diet.

Carbohydrate foods that are rich in fiber provide a multitude of vitamins and minerals, have minimal amounts of calories and are extremely filling. Foods rich in fiber curb cravings and reduce hunger, making them an ideal food for someone seeking to lose weight.


The Simple Science of Fats

Along with protein, fats are essential to life. As well as being the most potent source of energy available, fats include essential fatty acids, nutrients that humans require that cannot be produced in the body but must come from external sources (like omega-3).

There are three types of fats: saturated fats, unsaturated fats, and trans-fats. Saturated fats typically come from animal sources and are less healthy. These are commonly called “bad fats”. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (like butter or bacon fat). Unsaturated fats usually come from plant sources and are good for you, hence their common name “good fats”. They are liquid at room temperature. Olive oil is an example of a healthy, unsaturated fat.


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