The three main nutrients -- carbohydrates, proteins and fats -- are the main sources of energy for the human body. While carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 kilocalories energy per gram, fats are able to provide 9 kilocalories per gram.Fat, Carbohydrate And Protein Guidelines:
Carbohydrates are further classified as monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides based on the number of sugar units they contain. Monosaccharide contains one sugar unit while disaccharides contain two and polysaccharides contain three or more. Polysaccharides are also known as complex carbohydrates because the body takes longer to digest and absorb as they are processed one by one from a long chain. Simple carbohydrates get absorbed very quickly and give rise to increase in blood sugar level immediately. Sugars and starches supply energy to the body in the form of glucose. Glucose is the energy source for red blood cells and the brain, central nervous system, placenta and fetus. Fruits, vegetables, grains and milk are the main sources of carbohydrates. It is recommended that 55 to 75 percent of the total energy has to be contributed by carbohydrates.
Protein is mainly found in body skin, muscles, organs, and glands. Protein is required to help the body repair cells and make new ones. Protein produces hormones, enzymes, antibodies and maintains alkali-acid balance. Protein plays an important role in growth and development during childhood, adolescence and pregnancy. Animal foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and plant foods like beans, peas, nuts, seeds, grain, and soybeans are the sources of proteins. Regular intake of 0.8 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended for adults.
Fats are the most concentrated form of energy and are needed throughout the life in right amounts. They make certain vitamins available for the body; they cushion vital organs and help to maintain body temperature. Intake of fats and oils high in saturated fatty acids are to be kept low. Monounsaturated fatty acids found in vegetables, nuts, olive oil, peanuts, and canaola oil are effective in reducing bad cholesterol without affecting good cholesterol. Recommended total fat intake is 20 to 35 percent of calories for adults.
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