Fats Proteins and Carbs


Ok, now let’s get some essential technicals out of the way. It’s not so bad, but it’s important to understand the meaning of these terms and the role they play. Once we know what we’re dealing with we can move on.

  1. Chemical Composition:
  • Fats: Composed of fatty acids and glycerol. They repel water. There are 3 classifications: saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats.
    • Carbohydrates: Made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. They include sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches/fiber (complex carbohydrates), that’s simple enough.
    • Proteins: Comprised of amino acids, which are linked together in chains. There are 20 different amino acids, and their arrangement determines the specific protein’s function.

Now that we know their chemical make ups, but what are we dealing with here. A calorie is a calorie, but 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of protein are not equal, their role in satiety alone makes a huge difference in how many more calories we continue to consume. I’m telling you all this because a lot of people don’t fully understand what they’re really eating and how it’s affecting their appetite, blood sugar level, satiety. Once I understood this, it opened up my world and I was armed with the tools I needed to start taking control. If you’re not in control, guess what, you’re out of control, it’s that simple and without some basic knowledge of what we’re dealing, it’s almost impossible to make the right decisions. By the time you finish reading this, all you’ll need to do is apply the principles, incorporate them into your daily eating routine and literally change your life.

  • Energy Content:
  • Fats: Most energy-dense macronutrient, providing around 9 calories per gram.
    • Carbohydrates: Provide approximately 4 calories per gram.
    • Proteins: Also provide about 4 calories per gram.
  • Function in the Body:
  • Fats: Essential for insulation, protecting organs, hormone production, and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. This is important, because these vitamins are store for longer period in the body, therefore you need to control their consumption, too much leads to toxicity (They are Vitamin A, D, E and K). Water soluble vitamins don’t remain that long, so they are safer in larger quantities (Vitamin C and B complexes).
    • Carbohydrates: Primary energy source for the body, especially for high-intensity activities and brain function. You need carbs, You can’t be without it, it will affect your testosterone level, energy level and without energy you’re in a wold of hurt.
    • Proteins: Crucial for building and repairing tissues, enzymes, hormones, and various bodily structures. In another word, the key to building those torn muscle fibers we tear when we work out. This should be taken seriously, this is also something that starts to fade as you get older retaining it keeps you young.
  • Digestion and Absorption:
  • Fats: Digested primarily in the small intestine and absorbed with the help of bile.
    • Carbohydrates: Broken down into sugars during digestion and absorbed in the small intestine.
    • Proteins: Broken down into amino acids during digestion and absorbed in the small intestine.
  • Sources in Diet:
  • Fats: Found in oils, butter, nuts, seeds, meat, and dairy products.
    • Carbohydrates: Present in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and sugary foods.
    • Proteins: Obtained from meat, poultry, fish, dairy, legumes, nuts, and seeds. So yes as a vegetarian, you can structure your diet to get enough of your protein with no issues.
  • Role in Health:
  • Fats: Different types of fats have varying effects on health. Unsaturated fats (found in nuts, avocados, olive oil) are beneficial for heart health, while saturated and trans fats might contribute to heart disease if consumed excessively.
    • Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables) provide nutrients and fiber, while excessive intake of simple carbohydrates (sugars) can lead to health issues like insulin resistance.
    • Proteins: Vital for various bodily functions, including muscle maintenance, immune function, enzyme production, and tissue repair or muscle repair.

We’re going to take a look at Carbs – that’s important as you know carbs are your source of energy, so this is your fuel.

We have two types as you might know:

Complex and Simple Carbs.

Complex Carbohydrates: Made up of long chains of sugar molecules. They include starches and fiber found in foods like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes.

  • Simple Carbohydrates: Composed of one or two sugar molecules. They are categorized as either monosaccharides (single sugar molecules) or disaccharides (two sugar molecules). Examples include glucose, fructose, sucrose (table sugar), lactose (milk sugar), and maltose.
  • Digestion and Absorption:
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Take longer to break down due to their complex structure, leading to a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream. They provide sustained energy.
    • Simple Carbohydrates: Quickly broken down and absorbed, causing a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. This rapid spike in blood sugar can lead to a quick energy boost followed by a crash.
  • Food Sources:
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Found in whole grains (brown rice, oats, quinoa), legumes, vegetables, and some fruits.
    • Simple Carbohydrates: Found in foods like fruits, milk, refined sugars, candies, syrups, and processed foods like white bread, pastries, and sugary drinks.
  • Effects on Blood Sugar:
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Have a slower and more sustained impact on blood sugar levels due to their slower digestion and absorption.
    • Simple Carbohydrates: Cause a quicker and more pronounced spike in blood sugar levels due to their rapid digestion and absorption.
  • Nutritional Value:
  • Complex Carbohydrates: Often contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals compared to simple carbohydrates. They contribute to overall health and provide longer-lasting energy.
    • Simple Carbohydrates: Tend to lack essential nutrients and fiber, providing quick energy but with less nutritional value.

In summary, complex carbohydrates take longer to break down and provide a more sustained release of energy, while simple carbohydrates are quickly absorbed, leading to rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. A balanced diet will prioritize complex carbs.

The benefits of complex carbs can be overlooked. White bread adds next to no benefit at all, opt for some nice whole grain breads, you know, when I eat white bread (which I used to love in the past), I feel like I’m eating air. Complex Carbs help you stay fuller longer and gives you that sustained energy. I see people drinking sugary drinks when they exercise, this is only for a quick burst of energy, it does not benefit the overall picture, with complex carbs you’ll outlast your sugary opponent. Drink a fruit smoothie (with berries, pears or kiwi or citrus fruit or a combination of them)

It’s funny once you understand the role food play in your body, it almost becomes automatic, I know I care about myself so I don’t want to feed my body something that does not provide any benefits to me.

Now, let’s take a look at Fat.

Now Fats are broken down into 4 categories mainly.

Saturated Fats:

  • Source: Found mainly in animal products like meat and dairy, as well as some plant sources like coconut oil and palm oil.
    • Effect: Excessive intake may raise LDL cholesterol levels and increase the risk of heart disease. However, some research suggests that not all saturated fats have the same impact on health.
  • Monounsaturated Fats:
  • Source: Found in olive oil, avocados, nuts (like almonds, cashews), and seeds.
    • Benefits: They can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease. They are considered heart-healthy fats.
  • Polyunsaturated Fats:
  • Types: Include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
    • Sources: Omega-3s are found in fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), flaxseeds, chia seeds, and walnuts. Omega-6s are found in vegetable oils (soybean, sunflower, corn).
    • Benefits: Omega-3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are linked to improved heart health, brain function, and reduced risk of certain diseases. Omega-6s are essential but should be consumed in balance with omega-3s for optimal health.
  • Trans Fats:
  • Source: Primarily artificial trans fats are formed during hydrogenation, a process used to make liquid oils into solid fats (found in some margarines, processed foods, and baked goods).
    • Effect: Artificial trans fats increase LDL cholesterol and are associated with a higher risk of heart disease. Many countries have banned or restricted their use due to health concerns.

I have two rules about fat:

– Consume it in lower quantities compared to proteins and carbs

– Stay away from trans and saturated fats. While we mostly know that, but Saturated fats and trans fats are a big no no in my book. Every time I go out and get a meal and I see people getting french fries, I cringe. I mean, sure I like the taste, but I cannot think of any health benefits that justify consuming them.

How about proteins, what of them?

Well proteins are complex, they are truly the building blocks of life itself. We can narrow our focus to protein needed to build healthy muscles as we can write a whole book about protein alone.

Proteins are essential for muscle growth and repair, but certain types of proteins and their components are particularly important for supporting muscle gain:

  1. Complete Proteins: These proteins contain all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own. Animal-based sources like eggs, dairy (especially whey protein), poultry, fish, and meat are considered complete proteins. Plant-based complete proteins include quinoa, soy, and buckwheat.
  2. Leucine-Rich Proteins: Leucine, an essential amino acid, plays a crucial role in muscle protein synthesis. Proteins with high leucine content, such as whey protein, soy protein, and animal-based sources like chicken and beef, are particularly effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
  3. Fast-Digesting Proteins: After a workout, quickly digested proteins can rapidly supply amino acids to muscles, aiding in recovery and muscle growth. Whey protein is known for its fast digestion and absorption, making it a popular choice post-exercise.
  4. Casein Protein: This protein is slower to digest compared to whey. It forms a gel-like substance in the stomach, leading to a slower release of amino acids into the bloodstream. Some individuals prefer consuming casein before bed to provide a steady supply of amino acids during sleep, which can support muscle recovery and growth overnight.
  5. Plant-Based Proteins: While animal-based proteins are often associated with muscle gain, plant-based sources like pea protein, rice protein, hemp protein, and combinations of various plant sources can also provide a good amino acid profile for muscle synthesis. These proteins may need to be combined to ensure a complete amino acid profile.
  6. Protein Timing and Distribution: Distributing protein intake across meals throughout the day, rather than consuming large amounts in one sitting, can support better muscle protein synthesis. Aim to include protein in each meal and consider a protein-rich snack after workouts.
  7. Overall Protein Intake: Meeting your daily protein needs is crucial for muscle growth. The recommended intake varies based on factors like activity level, age, and goals, but a general guideline is around 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day for individuals engaged in resistance training.

Protein is king. They are essential to maintain healthy muscles on your body. Not only does 1 gram of protein contain half the calories of 1 gram of fat; protein is also absorbed more slowly in your body, you feel fuller longer. It’s like a triple winner. You get muscles and Amino acids, consume half the calories and you are satiated. What’s not to love here. We will talk more about you can break down your protein intake to maximize muscle gain. I can understand that not everyone is trying to build muscles, but you still need you daily dose of protein to maintain a healthy balance, control your weight to list few benefits.

What can help you process protein more efficiently?

Consuming protein alone is not enough, again balance is key guys, you need to find balance so that the protein can be processed through the body, otherwise you can cause more damage to your organs, yourself than you’d think. We want our workouts and efforts to count.

Several factors can aid the body in processing protein more efficiently:

  1. Adequate Hydration: Water is crucial for proper digestion and absorption of nutrients, including proteins. Staying hydrated helps optimize the body’s digestive processes, making it easier to break down and utilize proteins.
  2. Balanced Diet: Ensuring a well-rounded diet that includes a variety of nutrients, not just protein, supports efficient protein metabolism. Adequate intake of vitamins, minerals, and other macronutrients helps the body effectively utilize protein.
  3. Spread Protein Intake Throughout the Day: Consuming protein consistently across meals can aid in efficient utilization. Aim for a balanced distribution of protein intake rather than having one large protein-heavy meal.
  4. Exercise and Physical Activity: Regular physical activity, particularly resistance training or strength exercises, helps build and maintain muscle mass. When combined with adequate protein intake, exercise supports efficient protein utilization for muscle repair and growth.
  5. Quality Protein Sources: Choose high-quality protein sources that contain all essential amino acids. Examples include lean meats, poultry, fish, dairy, eggs, legumes, and soy products.
  6. Digestive Enzymes: Some individuals might benefit from digestive enzyme supplements that assist in breaking down proteins, especially if they have digestive issues that hinder proper protein digestion.
  7. Protein Timing: Consuming protein after exercise or during recovery periods can support muscle repair and growth. This timing can optimize the body’s use of protein for tissue maintenance and building.
  8. Optimal Gut Health: A healthy gut microbiome is essential for efficient nutrient absorption, including proteins. Consuming probiotics and fiber-rich foods can support gut health and, in turn, protein metabolism.
  9. Avoid Excessive Intake: Consuming excessively high amounts of protein may not necessarily be more beneficial and can strain the kidneys. Moderation and balance in protein intake are key for efficient utilization.

Individual factors such as age, health conditions, and activity levels can influence how the body processes protein. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can provide personalized recommendations for optimizing protein intake and utilization based on specific needs.

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