There are three macronutrients from which we get calories and energy. They are fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Why macronutrients? Because our organisms require them in pretty large amounts to keep the metabolism and other bodily functions as they should
Vitamins and minerals are also necessary and required by our organisms. But they are needed in fewer amounts and that is why they have the name of micronutrients. They are incapable of giving us calories and energy as a result.
Our organs, muscles, all the cells, and almost all our body fluids contain protein. Proteins as they represent the complex formations of amino acid chains.
The number of amino acids amounts to 20 and our body needs them all to function properly. 9 of 20 amino acids are considered crucial as they are obtained from outside – our bodies do not produce them.
Proteins with all 20 amino acids are complete proteins. They can be found in meat and dairy products. Incomplete proteins are called so because they do not have all the 20 amino acids. They are usually found in plants – fruits and vegetables, therefore you have to combine them in order to get all amino acids.
You should not necessarily eat only meat to satisfy the body’s requirements for proteins. Dark green vegetables, soybeans, and other plant sources can be a good protein alternative. You can see that some animals, like gorillas, become pretty huge and muscular and they are herbivores.
Fat is essential for the body as well as protein. It is an important nutrient and it is involved in tissue formation as well as vitamins and other nutrient absorption processes. There are some essential facts that our bodies can not produce and therefore they should be obtained from outside.
However, there are good and bad fats. And we need the good ones to stay healthy, while the bad ones make us sick and overweight. Saturated fats, unsaturated fats (monosaturated and polyunsaturated), trans fats, essential fatty acids (primarily omega-3 and omega-6), and cholesterol are the types of fats.
It is not the fat we eat that appears visible on our thighs and buttocks. Micronutrients that are in abundance and are not required immediately are stored and turned into fat. When it is needed it is broken and converted into energy; however, when there are too much, we tend to gain weight.
Carbohydrates represent the source of fuel for our organism. They are chains of simple sugars and are broken down into the bloodstream. We know it as glucose and it is stored in the liver (and muscles in fewer amounts) as glycogen.
- Simple carbohydrates represent small molecules that are metabolized promptly all due to their size. They are the most efficient sources of energy. Sucrose (table sugar), fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (dairy sugar), and glucose (blood sugar) refer to simple carbohydrates.
- Complex carbohydrates represent larger molecules and therefore take more time to metabolize and give energy. They can be found in vegetables and unrefined whole grains as starch, glycogen, and cellulose. They also a source of fiber, which is no less important.
- Fiber is not digested. It also refers to carbohydrates. Not only fiber is essential for health but it helps in weight loss process as well.