Nutrition Simplified – Major Nutrients

Nutrition – Major Nutrientsnutrition simpliveid - major nutrients - protein, fat, carbs

Protein – Building Blocks of Nutrition

The first major nutrient is protein. Protein provides the building blocks for your
body. Proteins in their simplest form are called amino acids. Amino acids are arranged in different ways to make different parts of the body. For example, amino acids (protein) used to make the brain and nerves are arranged differently than the ones that make up bones. Or teeth. Or hair. Or muscles. Each of these tissues and organs are made of amino acids. They are just arranged differently to make different proteins. Although protein’s primary job is to be used to build, protein can also be turned into fuel for the body…as a backup plan…in a pinch.

Fat – Nutrition for the Long Haul

The second major nutrient is fat. Fat breaks down during digestion into fatty acids. Fatty acids are used in a variety of ways in the body. Most hormones made in the body start with fatty acids. Our nerves require fatty acids to work correctly. As most of us already know, if you have more fatty acids than your body can use, the extra fat is stored in the body as fuel to be used in case of food shortage.  For fat to be used as fuel, there must be a prolonged period of demand for fuel when carbs are in short supply.

Carbs – Powerhouse of Nutrition

Carbohydrates (carbs) are the third major nutrient.  The main job of carbs is to provide fuel for the body.  The simplest form of carbohydrates is glucose (i.e. blood sugar). Glucose is the form of fuel that every cell in your body is able to use well. Some cells in the body, i.e. the brain, cannot use any other form of fuel.

You may be wondering why your body needs fuel. Your body is made up of more than three trillion cells. Each of those cells has a job description. In order to carry out its assigned tasks, each cell must have energy. That energy is provided by the food you eat.

When you eat a meal, there is a period of time following the meal when your body is very busy breaking down the food you just ate.  Once the food breaks down enough, it enters the blood stream in its simplest form. Protein as amino acids. Fat as fatty acids. Carbs as glucose.

When your body detects the rush of nutrients following a meal, your body responds to use the nutrients to the best advantage. Various hormones (including insulin) are needed for use and storage of the nutrients. If your body does not make enough insulin, or cannot use it correctly, the level of glucose in your blood rises too high and we call that “Diabetes Mellitus”.

If you are interested in finding out more about diabetes, click on the following link to begin receiving a series of lessons by email.   “I want to know more about diabetes and how to control it.

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