by Kaleb Holbrook
The increase in awareness and overall understanding of food within society is becoming more common among the population. It seems as though more people are looking at nutrition labels on food products more so than ever. This awareness has food experts grinning and metaphorically speaking giving society a thumbs up. But as a society, we are not quite there just yet. We may have more common knowledge about foods and what they consist of, more so than decades ago. But, a bulk of some of these beliefs is still inaccurate information portrayed by social media. Basic knowledge of what food is, what it consists of, and how it works in our bodies is critical. In this blog, I will talk about macronutrients and how they affect your body. Whether you plan to lose, maintain or gain weight, you must pay attention to the nutrients that fuel your body.
Why Food Is Important
Food is used as fuel for the human body, just as gasoline is used for vehicles. If you prioritize feeding your vehicle with higher graded gasoline, shouldn’t you treat your body with the same care? The essential nutrients that you should account for when consuming food are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Each one of these nutrients does miraculous things for your body, but also not-so-great things. Water plays the role of oil in a vehicle, helping to lubricate our joints. Water is something we mammals cannot live without and is the most beneficial nutrient for our bodies. Focusing on all of these nutrients in your daily diet is imperative for improving and maintaining a healthy body.
A carbohydrate is a compound composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. When broken down, carbohydrates convert into either glucose or glycogen, the stored form of glucose. Glucose is the main source of energy for the human body. You can find carbohydrates in foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains. It is better to consume carbohydrates from these natural foods rather than refined foods such as sweetened soda, pastries, and white bread. This nutrient is the preferred source of energy when performing any of your daily activities. More specifically, carbohydrates are used when performing short-term, high-intensity exercises. Some examples of these exercises include resistance training, sprinting, and jump roping.
Fats are yet another macronutrient that receives a bad reputation. Although some fats are bad for your body, others are healthy to consume in moderate amounts. There are three types of fats to look at on food labels; saturated fats, trans fats, and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are found in food sources such as cheese, milk, and meat. Trans fats are a result of processing foods. Processed foods often have an increased shelf-life and enhanced taste or texture. Trans fats are found in processed foods like chips, cookies, and margarine. Unsaturated fats are great for providing your body with healthy energy and can even help improve cholesterol levels. This kind of fat consists of two types of fat, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. The first kind of fat, monounsaturated fats, comes from oils derived from avocados, vegetables, nuts, etc. The second kind of fat, polyunsaturated fats, come from oils such as corn, soybeans, and sunflowers. Fat can provide your body with more energy in comparison to carbohydrates. This nutrient will be the go-to energy provider when your glycogen store is depleted, and when you perform long-duration, low-intensity exercises. Exercises that fat contributes energy towards would be jogging, hiking, and cycling for longer distances at a time. The bottom line is that saturated and trans fats are the ones to stay away from, whereas unsaturated fats can be very beneficial to consume.
Proteins are made up of subunits called amino acids and are not a substantial source of energy. Proteins must be converted into glucose or fat to be used for energy. Proteins mainly focus on repairing muscles and bones and synthesizing enzymes and hormones. Good food sources that have this nutrient are eggs, milk, and meat. Protein is especially important for individuals that exercise regularly or are recovering from an injury.
Know that the foods you eat are critical to your body, whether you are being conscious about what nutrients you need or not. Eating a healthy, well-rounded diet is essential for many things, including longevity. You do not have to be an exercise enthusiast to care about what you eat. Food intake is something everyone should consider for their general health.