The Big Three: Carbs, Protein, & Fat

Hey, Good Looking!

Today is Tuesday, December 4, 2012. When I’m about to embark on the beginning of a new “adventure,” such as REALLY eating healthy, remembering to exercise 4 times a week, or making my bed every day, I like to start on a significant day, such as Sunday or Monday, the first day of the month, or my birthday…but besides Ke$ha’s new album coming out today, I can’t figure out how to make this date seem significant. The best I came up with is this: 12/4/12 could be 1+2+4+1+2 which = 10. And 10 is a nice number, right??

But seriously…

Starting today (well, yesterday), I vow to post every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I don’t have all the logistics worked out yet, mostly because I spend every waking hour either at grad school, doing homework for grad school, working on my Masters thesis, or watching Nashville and Hart of Dixie (guilty pleasure). But here’s what I have so far:

Mondays: “Mish Mosh Monday” will either be a reblog of something I have posted on the Maddie & Bella Coffee Co blog or the Chicago Dietetic Association blog, or a blog about something that’s been in the news.

 Tuesdays: I think I’ll call this “Tasty Tuesday,” and share some delicious recipe complete with nutrition facts. Starting next week.

 Wednesdays: I don’t have a catchy alliterative name yet, but on Wednesdays I’ll be posting on the science-y parts of nutrition (like the differences between good fats and bad fats).

 Thursdays: “Thirsty Thursday,” as I have lovingly named it, will be devoted to detailing a recipe with a healthy spin on adult beverages. I’m really excited about this because it means that I will have to make and sample the recipes before I pass them along to you ;)

For today, I think I will give you my little crash course on Carbs, Fats, and Protein (The Big Three). These three “macronutrients” make up all food, and I think it’s useful to know a little bit about them so that you can make informed decisions about what you’re eating. I will go into much greater detail in future blogs, but today is intended to be an overview. Class is in session:

 The Big Three: TBT 101

Here is a picture of shishkabobs, which displays all of the macronutrients: carbs (veggies), protein (chicken and beef), fat (chicken and beef), and alcohol (beer!).

Here is a picture of shishkabobs, which displays all of the macronutrients: carbs (veggies), protein (chicken and beef), fat (chicken and beef), and alcohol (beer!).

Carbs

  • Necessary for the body to function – the body uses carbs as its preferred source of energy
  • Some parts of your body can use other energy sources, but your brain prefers to run (and runs best) exclusively on carbs as their source of energy
  • Have 4 calories per gram
  • Come from fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, yogurt, sugar, bread, cereals, pasta, potatoes…and more
  • Broken down into subgroups:
    • Simple carbs (like sugar and white bread)
    • Complex carbs (like whole grains)
    • Fiber

Protein

  • Necessary for the body to function
  • Used for lots of purposes, such as to build muscle, make new body cells, send messages for body cells to communicate with each other, and many more
  • Have 4 calories per gram
  • Come from meat, dairy, eggs, soy, beans, nuts, and some plant sources

Fat

  • Necessary for the body to function
  • Have 9 calories per gram
  • Come from red meat, turkey, chicken, lamb, goat, dairy, eggs, oils, animal fats, fish, shrimp, butter, nuts, some vegetables, among others
  • Broken down into subgroups:
    • Saturated fats (generally considered to be “bad” fats – solid at room temperature, usually come from animals)
    • Unsaturated fats (generally considered to be “good” fats – liquids at room temperature, usually come from plants)
    • Trans fats (really really bad – these are formed through a chemical process called hydrogenation and are found in hydrogenated oils)

Alcohol

  • NOT necessary for the body to function
  • Has 7 calories per gram
  • Comes from…alcohol

So…there’s the short version. Stay tuned for more details about more specific food sources of each of these, why you need them in your diet, and how to determine healthy and unhealthy sources of The Big Three.

Have a holly jolly day!

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