Carbs, Proteins, and Fats


Car­bo­hy­drates, pro­teins, and fats are macronu­tri­ents; nutri­ents we con­sume in the largest quan­tity and pro­vide the bulk of our energy. We all need these sub­stances for our bod­ies to func­tion prop­erly, but over­con­sump­tion can lead to health issues. Also, under con­sump­tion of these sub­stances can also cause you prob­lems. Let’s break it down:

Car­bo­hy­drates

These are sub­stances that the body breaks down into sim­ple sug­ars, which are the body’s pri­mary energy source. There are two cat­e­gories of carbs: sim­ple and com­plex. Sim­ple car­bo­hy­drates are also called sim­ple sug­ars and are found in refined sug­ars like white sugar. You can also find sim­ple carbs in candy and soda pop. Com­plex carbs are also called starches and can be found in breads, pasta, and brown rice.

Why We Need Them: Our bod­ies need carbs as a source of energy. Burn­ing carbs is more effi­cient than burn­ing either pro­teins or fats. Carbs also help pro­tect the body against dis­ease, boost your mood by pro­duc­ing sero­tonin, a feel-good brain chem­i­cal, and keep your mem­ory sharp.

Risks: Over­con­sump­tion of carbs can lead to obe­sity. Under-consumption leads to exces­sive intake of fats to make up calories.

Calo­rie Con­tent: 4 calories/gram

Pro­teins

Pro­teins are com­prised of smaller bits called amino acids, a basic build­ing block of bod­ily struc­tures like mus­cle, hair, and skin. Good sources of pro­tein include meat, egg, dairy prod­ucts, legumes, and nuts. The body has lit­tle capac­ity to store protein.

Why We Need Them: Pro­teins play a huge role in build­ing new cells, main­tain tis­sues, and mak­ing enzymes.

Risks: Because the body can’t store much pro­tein, most excess pro­tein gets excreted. Over­con­sump­tion also can also mean you aren’t eat­ing too lit­tle healthy foods like fruits, veg­eta­bles, or whole grains. Many high pro­tein foods are high in sat­u­rated fat con­tent. Too much pro­tein can also lead to intesti­nal irri­ta­tion, and can aggra­vate kid­ney issues. Under-consumption leads to mal­nu­tri­tion, chiefly in the elderly. If you don’t get enough pro­tein, the body will begin to break down your muscles.

Calo­rie Con­tent: 4 calories/gram

Fats

Fats are divided into two cat­e­gories: good and bad fats. “Bad fats” cov­ers sat­u­rated fats and trans fats, and can be found in high-fat meats, whole-fat dairy, pack­aged snack foods, and fried foods. “Good fats” include monoun­sat­u­rated and polyun­sat­u­rated fats, and can be found in olives and olive oil, avo­ca­dos, and fatty fish.

Why We Need Them: Fats pro­vide the body with energy, they cush­ion your organs, facil­i­tate the absorp­tion of cer­tain vit­a­mins, and aid in the con­struc­tion of nerve cells and the repair of brain cells.

Risks: Over­con­sump­tion of fats can result in obe­sity, dia­betes, bone con­di­tions, stroke, heart con­di­tions, and can­cer. Under-consumption can cause trou­ble with vit­a­min absorp­tion, as well as depres­sion, low energy, hypo­glycemic or dia­betic blood sugar spikes.

Calo­rie Con­tent: 9 calories/gram