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Nutrients Necessary for Life

Most of us don’t know what our bodies need or why. This leads to a lot of confusion when one diet or another is telling us to limit or eliminate whole classes of macronutrients (i.e. carbs, protein, fat). Bottom line is that our bodies need ALL of them from specific sources and quantities. Here’s a quick cheat sheet on what these macronutrients do for us. Future posts will dig deeper.

Carbohydrates

  • Preferred source of energy by the body
  • Consist of sugars and fiber. Plant structures contain mostly carbohydrates.
  • Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the body, which provides fuel and feeds the brain.
  • Carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram

Vitamins

  • Essential for conversion of food to energy, growth and repair of body tissue
  • Must be taken in through diet
  • Found in both plant and animal products
  • Reduction of vitamin levels over extended periods can result in vitamin deficiency. This is the only time I advocate for supplementation. Taking supplements when not in a deficient state can cause the body more harm than good.

Protein

  • Building blocks for body structure.
  • Tissues of humans and animals are built from protein. Consists of amino acids.
  • Proteins are found in plants and animal products.
  • Protein has 4 calories per gram.

Minerals

  • Activate thousands of enzymatic reactions
  • Act as electrical transmitters and support vitamins function.
  • Help metabolize proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
  • Regulate water and electrolyte balance.

Fat

  • Important for energy storage, insulation, and organ protection.
  • Intake of saturated fat should be limited, especially those found in animal products. I advocate for the complete elimination of animal products from human diets for optimal health outcomes.
  • Completely avoid trans fats.
  • Fat has 9 calories per gram

Water

  • Eliminates waste from body
  • Maintains normal body
  • temperature
  • Lubricate joints
  • Maintains healthy tissue
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