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Transcript of Nutrients
There is a false perception that eating fat makes you fat-- WRONG!!!
There are six primary nutrient molecules:
Only carbohydrates, lipids, also known as fats, and proteins yield energy.
Energy is stored in carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. These energy yielding molecules provide the fuel necessary to sustain human life.
Water may be the most vital nutrient; however, like vitamins and minerals, water provides no energy.
Although vitamins and minerals do not provide energy, they do provide essential molecules necessary for energy release, energy conversion and they serve as structural materials.
A seventh energy yielding nutrient is alcohol. It is non-essential, however.
Eating protein sustains healthy muscles-- so we are lead to think.
Although vitamins do not provide energy, they provide necessary nutrients. Vitamins serve as catalysts in many of the metabolic activities in the body.
Like vitamins, the consumption of minerals is necessary for human life.
The Energy and Non-Energy Yielding Nutrients
Recently discovered plant chemicals
In recent years carbohydrates have received a great amount of negative attention
The most essential nutrient
However, carbohydrates from whole foods provide energy and essential nutrients
Although the brain accounts for less than 2% of the mass of a human, it uses nearly 20% of the energy consumed.
The primary and nearly exclusive fuel source for the brain comes from glucose (a monosaccharide derived from carbohydrate).
Whether the brain gets glucose from cookies or an apple, it does not matter
What does matter is that our bodies also need vitamins, minerals and fiber. The apple is a much better source of vitamins, minerals and fiber than cookies.
One critical component of a nutrient dense diet is not only to get energy from carbohydrates, but also other nutrients.
Because our brains need glucose, we crave easily digested carbohydrates
As an aside, I have personally found blending smoothies to be an excellent method for increasing the amount of vegetable and fruit servings I consume daily
Eating too much fat, or any energy yielding food source, is what creates fat storage.
Much of the fat consumed in a typical American diet comes from meat in fast food burgers, cheese from pizzas, fried vegetables like french fries and snack foods like cookies and chips.
Fat provides essential nutrients necessary for: hormone production, nervous system structures and cell membranes. These are just a few examples of the roles fats from food sources play in sustaining human life.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats provide the greatest amount of nutrients without the risk associated with high level consumption of saturated fat.
Saturated fats, fats that are solid at room temperature, should never account for more than 7% of the daily calories consumed because of risks associated with cardiovascular disease and saturated fat consumption.
Total fat consumption should be between 20-35% of total calories consumed on a daily basis. Research studies indicate that lower fat diets reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
However, fat free diets are extremely dangerous and at least 20% of calories consumed daily should come from nutrient dense sources of fat.
Fats should be considered a critical component of a nutrient dense diet
Total Fat Intake
20-35% of total daily calories
No more than 7% of total calories consumed daily
Best source of fats.
Best to be kept at <10% of total calories consumed daily
Trans fats should be completely avoided.
Protein in food provide essential amino acids the body cannot create on their own
There are 20 amino acids that provide the base for all protein structures in the body. Nine are essential and eleven are non-essential.
Much of the protein consumed in the American diet comes from animals and animal products.
These sources of protein also tend to be high in fat
Plant based foods contain small amounts of protein.
Many nuts and seeds and most beans and legumes are excellent sources of protein.
Be careful with nuts and seeds as they can also contain high amounts of fat.
Additionally, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds provide fiber to aid with digestion.
Many Americans consume far greater quantities of protein than they need.
Protein from animals is very expensive to produce, not only in the cost to feed and care for the animals, but also the costs to the environment are quite hefty.
Complementation is a process where one gets all nine essential amino acids from plant based foods.
For example, combining peanut butter and bread or rice with beans provides eaters of these combinations with all nine essential amino acids.
If only one of the food sources, e.g. bread is eaten, then only partial amounts of amino acids are provided.
Eggs are considered one of the best sources of protein because they provide all nine essential amino acids
Vitamins are typically divided into two categories.
The B Complex vitamins and Vitamin C are the water soluble vitamins
The fat soluble vitamins are Vitamins A, D, E and K
Once thought to be harmful, recent research indicates the saturated fat in egg yolks and the saturated fat in tropical oils, e.g. coconut oil, are beneficial when consumed in limited quantities and as a portion of saturated fat intake.
More than half of all Americans take a vitamin supplement
Research is inconclusive regarding whether vitamin supplements improve health
A molecule of Vitamin C taken in pill form is the same as the Vitamin C found in an orange
However, there are other compounds found in whole foods known as phytochemicals. Unfortunately, the phytochemicals that help protect against diseases are not available in Vitamin C tablets. Additionally, whole foods that are rich in Vitamin C are also an excellent source of fiber.
food is capable of providing the vast quantities of water and fat soluble vitamins our bodies need on a regular basis. As a result, a diet rich in a variety of whole grains, vegetables and fruits provides the greatest opportunity for one to meet their nutrient requirements for the different vitamins.
Minerals can be broken down into two categories:
Both categories of minerals are necessary for health. The term "major" describes minerals that are needed in larger quantities than "trace" minerals. The major and trace minerals are equally important to sustaining one's health.
Minerals are individual elements and are unlike carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins and even water. The energy yielding nutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins along with vitamins and water are made from complex molecules consisting of a variety of elements.
For example, carbohydrates are made from the elements: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.
Check out the list of the different elements found in the human body on the next screen.
As you could see, oxygen is the most abundant element in the human body followed by carbon and hydrogen.
It's important to remember that a varied diet rich in whole grains, and vegetables and fruits consumed as whole foods provides one with the greatest opportunity to meet their body's mineral needs.
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There are currently no RDA's or AI's for phytochemicals; however, that may soon change as more is learned about these powerful micronutrients.
The bright blue hue of blueberries, the brilliant red of strawberries and the deep orange pigment of carrots are all the result of something called phytochemicals.
Phytochemicals contain powerful antioxidants that may help protect humans from a host of diseases including cardiovascular disease and cancer.
There may be thousands of phytochemicals, but you may only be familiar with some of the more recently identified and popularized phytochemicals.
Don't worry if you are not familiar with the phytochemicals in the previous list. You can be sure to get adequate amounts of these micronutrients when you consume brightly colored vegetables and fruits. Additionally, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes are also rich in phytochemicals.
Unfortunately, because there are so many different phytochemicals, it is unknown how they work specifically.
The phytochemicals that are endogenous to plants and the ones that protect them from UV rays, insects and other potential environmental threats also protect humans who consume the plants that are rich in phytochemicals.
Although water provides no energy, it is arguably the most essential nutrient as one typically cannot live without water for much longer than three days.
Approximately 60% of a healthy human body is composed of water.
One must remember that there is water in juices, colas and almost all foods especially fruits and vegetables. The one exception may be my mother-in-law's pot roast
As I stated previously and as the authors of the text and experts in the field of nutrition and dietetics attest, water is likely the most important nutrient.
There is much debate regarding how much water an individual should drink on a daily basis.
The Institute of medicine recommends males consume 13 cups of liquid per day and females consume 9 cups of liquid per day.
Consuming adequate amounts of water will help maintain homeostasis.
A good rule of thumb is that you should drink some liquid every time you are thirsty. Unfortunately, if you wait to drink when you are thirsty, you may have waited too long and you may have already started to become dehydrated.
Don't worry hyponatremia resulting from low sodium levels caused by excess water intake is EXTREMELY rare.
Some people question the veracity for their need for water as they claim they don't ever drink water.