Fuel for life
FOOD is one of the most vital things in your life. Without proper nutrition, your body can’t survive. When you eat a balanced diet, your body obtains the fuel and nutrients it needs to perform various bodily functions like building bones and regulating your heartbeat.
For all this clever stuff to work, your body needs fuel to create energy that the body then uses. This fuel energy comes from the food and drink you consume in your diet.
Our food fuel comprises the proteins, carbohydrates and fats (macronutrients) we eat and drink.
Carbohydrates are sugars the body uses for energy. Simple carbohydrates or simple sugars provide the body with quick energy. They are found in fruit, dairy and sugar. Complex carbohydrates, known as fibre and starch, are broken down in your body more slowly. They are found in vegetables, bread, rice and grains.
Proteins are essential for growing and maintaining healthy cells in your body. Protein-rich foods include meats, eggs, some dairy foods, avocado, nuts and beans.
Fats: Your body needs fat to grow and process vitamins. There are many kinds of fats. Polyunsaturated and mono-unsaturated fats are good for your body. These fats include nuts and fish, as well as olive, peanut, safflower and canola oil. Other kinds of fat, including saturated and trans fat, can increase the risk of certain diseases. Saturated and trans fats are found in butter, fried foods, baked goods, fast food, whole milk and meat.
Your body burns the food fuel in an order. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy and the easiest for the body to use. There are different types of carbs. Simple ones get used first, complex ones last.
Next, your body burns protein. If you have not consumed enough protein, your body starts to use the protein stored in muscles.
Finally, when the body is all out of carb and protein energy to use as fuel, it will seek out fat to use. It is more difficult for the body to metabolise fat, which is why fat is used last.
Food is fuel, so make sure you are putting the right things in your body at the right times to maximise energy and keep you feeling healthy.
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