Which macronutrient is vital for every function of the body?

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When we consider the nutritional needs of the body in order to survive and function, we should know which macronutrient is vital for every function of the body and broadly divide or define the diet into macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein and fat), and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

Which macronutrient is vital for every function of the body?

There are three macronutrients found in food. Protein, carbohydrates and fat. Each one of these macronutrients serves different functions in the body, and all three are required by the body in larger amounts than any other nutrient.  Human beings cannot survive, even for short amounts of time, without the three macronutrients.

Macronutrients help to provide the body with the energy that it needs for basic body functioning, and macronutrients are used by the body for everything from cellular healing, hormone production, brain health, circulation, growth and much more. Let’s take a look at each of the macronutrients and what they do in the body.

Carbohydrates

Each gram of carbohydrate contains four calories and carbohydrates are comprised primarily of fiber, starches and sugars. Carbohydrates come in two simple forms, simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are broken down very quickly by the body and are found primarily in food such as sugar, fruits and milk products. Complex carbohydrates are often rich in fiber. They are not digested as quickly as simple carbohydrates and are often from whole plants, which can make them richer in vitamins and minerals. Complex carbohydrates include foods such as whole grains and vegetables.

Each gram of carbohydrate contains four calories and carbohydrates

Each gram of carbohydrate contains four calories and carbohydrates

The body uses carbohydrates primarily for energy. When all the energy is not used from carbohydrates, the body stores excess in the muscles or as fat for later use.  Over consumption of carbohydrates, especially simple carbs, leads to a roller coaster of blood sugar issues and eventually insulin resistance.

Protein

Protein also contains four calories per gram. It is an essential part of the repair, regeneration and maintenance of all the cells of the body. Protein contains amino acids, nine of which are essential for the function of the body, but that cannot be produced by the body and must be gotten through diet.

Protein also contains four calories per gram

Protein also contains four calories per gram

These amino acids act as building blocks and produce new proteins which are needed for tissue growth and repair. The amino acids also aid in the support of immune function as well as hormone production. While plant based protein contains some of the essential amino acids, only animal based protein contains all the essential amino acids. Protein is also used by the body as an energy source.

Fats

Fat has had a bad reputation over the past several decades. But despite that, this micronutrient is essential for optimal health. Fat contains nine calories per gram. This makes fat more nutrient dense than protein or carbohydrates. Along with the other two macronutrients, fat is required for energy production. It is also required for hormone production and to help with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins D, A, E and K.

Fat has had a bad reputation over the past several decades

Fat has had a bad reputation over the past several decades

Fat supplies vital essential fatty acids (such as Omega 3 and Omega 6), which cannot be produced by the body.

There are two main natural types of fat, saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats come primarily from animal sources, while unsaturated fats come primarily from plant based sources. One additional type of fat, trans fat, is a man made, commercially produced type of fat. It should be avoided due to the health risks associated with consuming it.

Fat adds flavor to food and helps the body to feel satiated.

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