Macronutrients are those nutrients which are required and consumed in large amounts every day. The five main macronutrients are Oxygen, water, protein, fat and carbohydrate, with the last three being those with which we will concern ourselves.
So, for some definitions first and then some Myths and Facts;
PROTEIN is the main component of every cell and body fluid except bile and urine. In other words we are protein. Our muscles, hair, skin, nails, eyes, blood, enzymes, and many hormones and nerve chemicals are mostly protein. Bones are protein hardened by calcium and other minerals. In addition, protein is required for the formation of infection-fighting antibodies as well as for the growth and maintenance of all tissues. Protein also plays a key role in the regulation of the fluid and salt balance between compartments of the body and acts as buffers in the maintenance of acid-base balance. Thus, protein functions as hormones, hemoglobin, enzymes and antibodies.
Protein is made up of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen – and unlike plant foods or carbohydrates – protein contains nitrogen. Nitrogen is what gives protein the capacity to help build and repair body tissues, something that carbohydrates cannot do.
We all require daily infusions of top quality proteins just to sustain life because our bodies cannot store them – or their building blocks - in the same way they do fats. Because plant proteins in general have a lower biological value than animal proteins and often are missing one or more key amino acids or protein building blocks, vegetarians must be especially careful in choosing their proteins. Incomplete protein will keep you alive but it cannot promote growth or even cellular repair and rebuilding.
“GOOD” FATS are absolutely essential to health. In addition to being the body’s most efficient source of energy, “good” fats are critical for a wide variety of metabolic processes.
Fats (or lipids) perform life-supporting functions in every human cell, including cell membrane structure, enzyme reactions, blood and tissue structure, in memory and nervous system operations, and in the manufacture and utilization of the sterol hormones and the hormone-like prostaglandins. Fats are also required for healthy skin, the transport and absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and the regulation of cholesterol metabolism. Fats, even stored fats, are in a constant, dynamic state of metabolism. So essential to body function are fats that even after stavation, fats are still found in tissues.
Good fats do NOT include chemically alterred, hydrogentated or partially hydrogenated oils or vegetable shortening or most vegetable oils. And because the fats from commercial animals are highly contaminated with a variety of chemicals and hormones, are nutrient deficient, and have a seriously alterred fatty acid profile, fat from pastured animals is by far more preferable. This is why butter from pastured animals, especially raw butter, is an exceptionally "good" fat and organic butter is the next best - but not optimal choice. Commercial butter is a better choice than vegetable oils. If you depend on commercial animal protein, use lean and add in extra good fat.
Some Myths about animal fats, saturated fats and heart disease.
CARBOHYDRATES, to be succinct, are sugars and starches, and they serve primarily as a source of energy – or body fuel. For most people they do provide much needed digestive assistance. Nevertheless, carbohydrates are unessential to human health! (Michael R. Eades, M.D., Mary Dan Eades, M.D., Wolfgang Lutz, M.D., Christian B. Allen, PhD. and others)
Some Myths and facts about. . .
- Carbohydrates and vitamins
- Carbohydrates and energy
- Carbohydrates and Health
- Carbohydrates and Saturated Fats
- Carbohydrates and disease
Sources for all definitions: by Jean Anderson, M.S. and Barbara Deskins, Ph.D., R.D. And , third edition by Robert H. Garrison, Jr., R.Ph. and Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R. D