Eating Like a Jungle Brother.. A Look at NUTRITION
Let’s start with the basics..
The three main Macro Nutrients —
three main nutrients that we refer to as macro (big) nutrients. They are fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Understanding each macros role within the body, as well as the foods they dominate, aids us to make good decisions when looking to fuel ourselves. There is also an unofficial fourth, due to the adverse effects on our bodies system: alcohol.
Each macro nutrient provides energy yet not all three supplies the exact same amount
Fat gives us 9kcals per 1g, whereas protein and carbohydrates gives us about 4kcals per 1g, and alcohol provides 7kcal per 1g. So you can see that fat is the heavy hitter at providing energy. It’s easy to see why fat may have been seen to lead to obesity, yet it’s not that clear cut as there are other factors to be taken into account.
Fats within the body are called lipids. A lipids role in the body is to supply energy, as well as provide storage for excess energy by way of body fat. Yet you may not know that it also has other functions that are essential to life, in other words you could not live without lipids.
All cells in our body are made up of lipid, what we call a lipid bilayer. It is the membrane that forms the outside of the cell and protects the components within such as the nucleus and DNA, by letting some things in and others out. Without this layer we simply would not work.
Fat also forms hormones and nerve cells, our brain and spinal cord are made up of lots of fat and this is why it is a white and grey colour.
Protein is another essential macronutrient; made up from 20 amino acids of which 9 are essential. These 9 amino acids must come from the diet as our body cannot make them itself.
Proteins repair structures within the body such as muscle and bone, it also acts as transporters within the lipid bilayer and helps to transport fat around the body. Ever heard of LDL and HDL fats? These are low density lipoproteins and high density lipoproteins.
Protein is not stored in any area of the body like fat; it just gets broken down into the base amino acids that the protein is made up of and then reformed into something else or excreted. Like a brick wall is protein and the bricks are the amino acids. The wall is not needed so it gets broken up, some bricks are used to build something else while damaged or unused bricks are thrown out. Protein can also be used for energy but not very well.
Carbohydrates are our non-essential macronutrient. That’s right we don’t need it to survive. Carbohydrates role is to provide energy and that is it. Unlike fat and protein it doesn’t build structures or supply us with any other benefit other than high burning energy. It’s like octane fuel, the body loves to burn carbohydrates as it has a low oxygen cost.
Meaning, the body uses less oxygen to burn a carbohydrate molecule than it does to burn a fat molecule. This is important when you are working at a high intensity, gasping for breath and unable to get enough oxygen in to burn fat, carbohydrates are used instead as they don’t need the oxygen as much.
Alcohol places a lot of work on our body system in order to break it down and metabolise it. There is nothing in alcohol that we require; our body simply needs to get rid of it as a build-up of the substance will kill us. I’m sorry but its kid of like drinking a very mild or watered down poison that we can tolerate somewhat. Drinking alcohol reduces blood sugar which is why excessive amounts will lead to unconsciousness. It also decreases fat breakdown while increasing the formation of fat which is why excessive amounts lead to a fatty liver.
So in short….
- Carbohydrates are used for high intensity, while fat is used for low to moderate physical activity
- Fat and protein are essential
- Alcohol provides nothing for the body but hard work
- Excessive alcohol will lead to increased fat formation and to a fatty liver
If you would like more information on managing your own Nutrition, or would like to sign up for our next Nutrition Program contact JB Bettsy here