Nutrition: What is it and why is it important?

Types

A nutrient is a source of nourishment, a component of food, for instance, protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamin, mineral, fiber, and water.

Macronutrients are nutrients we need in relatively large quantities.

Micronutrients are nutrients we need in relatively small quantities.

Macronutrients can be further split into energy macronutrients (that provide energy), and macronutrients that do not provide energy.

Energy macronutrients

Energy macronutrients provide energy, which is measured either in kilocalories (kcal or calories) or Joules. 1 kilocalorie (calorie) = 4185.8 joules. Energy macronutrients include:

Carbohydrates - 4 kcal per gram

Carbohydrate molecules include monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose), disaccharides, and polysaccharides (starch).

Nutritionally, polysaccharides are favored over monosaccharides because they are more complex and therefore take longer to break down and be absorbed into the bloodstream; this means that they do not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels, which are linked to heart and vascular diseases.

Proteins - 4 kcal per gram

There are 20 amino acids - organic compounds found in nature that combine to form proteins. Some amino acids are essential, meaning they need to be consumed. Other amino acids are non-essential because the body can make them.

Fats - 9 kcal per gram

Fats are triglycerides - three molecules of fatty acid combined with a molecule of the alcohol glycerol. Fatty acids are simple compounds (monomers) while triglycerides are complex molecules (polymers).

Fats are required in the diet for health as they serve many functions, including lubricating joints, helping organs produce hormones, assisting in absorption of certain vitamins, reducing inflammation, and preserving brain health.Types

A nutrient is a source of nourishment, a component of food, for instance, protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamin, mineral, fiber, and water.

Macronutrients are nutrients we need in relatively large quantities.

Micronutrients are nutrients we need in relatively small quantities.

Macronutrients can be further split into energy macronutrients (that provide energy), and macronutrients that do not provide energy.

Energy macronutrients

Energy macronutrients provide energy, which is measured either in kilocalories (kcal or calories) or Joules. 1 kilocalorie (calorie) = 4185.8 joules. Energy macronutrients include:

Carbohydrates - 4 kcal per gram

Carbohydrate molecules include monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose), disaccharides, and polysaccharides (starch).

Nutritionally, polysaccharides are favored over monosaccharides because they are more complex and therefore take longer to break down and be absorbed into the bloodstream; this means that they do not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels, which are linked to heart and vascular diseases.

Proteins - 4 kcal per gram

There are 20 amino acids - organic compounds found in nature that combine to form proteins. Some amino acids are essential, meaning they need to be consumed. Other amino acids are non-essential because the body can make them.

Fats - 9 kcal per gram

Fats are triglycerides - three molecules of fatty acid combined with a molecule of the alcohol glycerol. Fatty acids are simple compounds (monomers) while triglycerides are complex molecules (polymers).

Fats are required in the diet for health as they serve many functions, including lubricating joints, helping organs produce hormones, assisting in absorption of certain vitamins, reducing inflammation, and preserving brain health.Types

A nutrient is a source of nourishment, a component of food, for instance, protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamin, mineral, fiber, and water.

Macronutrients are nutrients we need in relatively large quantities.

Micronutrients are nutrients we need in relatively small quantities.

Macronutrients can be further split into energy macronutrients (that provide energy), and macronutrients that do not provide energy.

Energy macronutrients

Energy macronutrients provide energy, which is measured either in kilocalories (kcal or calories) or Joules. 1 kilocalorie (calorie) = 4185.8 joules. Energy macronutrients include:

Carbohydrates - 4 kcal per gram

Carbohydrate molecules include monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, galactose), disaccharides, and polysaccharides (starch).

Nutritionally, polysaccharides are favored over monosaccharides because they are more complex and therefore take longer to break down and be absorbed into the bloodstream; this means that they do not cause major spikes in blood sugar levels, which are linked to heart and vascular diseases.

Proteins - 4 kcal per gram

There are 20 amino acids - organic compounds found in nature that combine to form proteins. Some amino acids are essential, meaning they need to be consumed. Other amino acids are non-essential because the body can make them.

Fats - 9 kcal per gram

Fats are triglycerides - three molecules of fatty acid combined with a molecule of the alcohol glycerol. Fatty acids are simple compounds (monomers) while triglycerides are complex molecules (polymers).

Fats are required in the diet for health as they serve many functions, including lubricating joints, helping organs produce hormones, assisting in the absorption of certain vitamins, reducing inflammation, and preserving brain health.

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