Understand Your Food – Calories, Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats, Energy and Macronutrients
What is a Calorie?
A calorie very simply put is a unit of energy, with regards to food and nutrition the tern ‘calorie’ refers to energy either taken in our used by the body.
There are 2 types of calories
- A small calorie (sympbol: cal) – 1cal is the amount of energy required to raise one gram of water by one degree Celsius.
- A large calorie (symbol: Cal, kcal) – 1Cal is the amount of energy required to raise one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius.
1 large calorie (1kcal) = 1,000 small calories.
What is a Carbohydrate?
Carbohydrates are sugars. The body converts these sugars into glucose and this is used as the body’s primary source of energy.
- If you lack energy and need an instant boost then you would eat something classed as simple sugars for instant hit of energy.
- If you need sustained or prolonged energy you would eat something classed as a complex carbohydrates to ensure longevity of energy.
In the absence of Carbohydrates as an energy source the body will go to Fat and in the Absence of Fat the body will go to Protein.
What is a Protein?
Proteins are biomolecules or macromolecules made up chains of Amino Acids. Theses Molecules are arranges in many different ways or (coded) if you like, by the body to repair muscle tissue, organs, and provide structure to hair, skin and nails. If your body is using Protein as Energy you are likely to be deficient on Carbohydrates and Fats and must seek advice to alter your diet. This is recognisable as autoimmune diseases are more often than not related to malnutrition
What is a Fat?
Fats are derivatives of fatty acids know as glycerides or more commonly known as triglycerides, this refers to the length of the chain of fatty acids. Fat provides insulation for the body, assists with neuro brain function and assists the central nervous system is the relaying of messages through the body. Fat also protects our internal organs.
When we focus on having the perfect body we need a good balance of the macronutrients for optimal health. This means a reasonable body fat percentage, a good intake of energy to sustain out daily lifestyles and enough protein to repair and protect us from disease.
An excess of any of these nutrients will lead to disease, discomfort or illness as will a deficit.