It’s National Nutrition Week!
Let’s talk about food: A calorie is a measure of energy, the quantity a food capable of producing heat and energy needed to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water one degree centigrade. An ounce of carbohydrate or protein is equal to 115 calories: an ounce of fat is equal to 255 calories. A person’s daily calorie needs are dependent upon age, weight, and level of activity.
SO what’s a carbohydrate you ask? Well let me tell you. A carbohydrate is a sugar or starch that supplies energy to help the body use fat efficiently, and to provide fiber. They are compounds made of carbon, hyrdogen and oxygen, most of which are formed by green plants. Simple carbs are honey, sugar and fruits. Complex carbs are grains and cereals, dried beans, root vegetables and potatoes.
Well if carbs help to use fat efficiently, then what exactly is a fat? Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically fats are triglycerides and triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature depending on their structure and composition. Examples of edible animal fats are fish oil, butter and bacon. They obtained from fats in milk and meat. Plant fats include peanut, soybean, sunflower, sesame, coconut and olive oils.
So where does protein fit into this nutritional picture? Well, proteins are a group of organic compounds containing nitrogen, which our body needs to build and repair tissue, red blood cells and enzymes. Proteins are broken down in the stomach during digestion by enzymes know as proteases into smaller polypeptides to provide amino acids for the body! (WHOOOOAAA Nelly, we’ll go more into digestion on Wednesday, let’s stick to the basics here!) Protein sources for good nutrition include milk, fish, eggs and lean cuts of meat as well as combining incomplete proteins such as rice and beans for those who choose to forgo animal products.
So there you have it. The building blocks for good nutrition. Take a look at your diet and tell us which categories you think they fall into. Are you getting ample of amounts of all three. Leave a comment and let us know!