THE BASICS OF FOOD (PART I)
by Marshall Brain
All of these foods are contain seven basic components or essential nutrients: carbohydrates (simple and complex), proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water.
The word “carbohydrate” comes from the fact that glucose is made up of carbon and water.
Carbohydrates provide your body with its basic fuel. The simplest carbohydrate is glucose. Your cells absorb glucose and convert it into energy to drive the cell. There are other simple sugars: fructose, sucrose, lactose, galactose, and maltose.
Glucose, fructose and galactose are monosaccharides. Lactose, sucrose and maltose are disaccharides
Monosaccharides and disaccharides are called simple carbohydrates and are also sugars. They all digest quickly and enter the bloodstream quickly.
There are also complex carbohydrates, commonly known as “starches”. A complex carbohydrate is digested more slowly, so glucose enters the bloodstream at a rate of only 2 calories per minute.
Insulin is incredibly important to the way the body uses the glucose. It helps transfer glucose into cells so that they can oxidize the glucose to produce energy for the body.
A protein is any chain of amino acids. The digestive system breaks all proteins down into their amino acids so that they can enter the bloodstream.
An amino acid is a small molecule that acts as the building block of any cell.
Amino acids provide cells with the building material they need to grow and maintain their structure.
The human body is constructed of 20 different amino acids.
Different amino acids: non-essential (alanine, arginine, asparagines, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, tyrosine); essential (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine).
Protein in our diets comes from both animal and vegetable sources. Most animal sources (meat, milk, eggs) provide what’s called “complete protein”, meaning that they contain all of the essential amino acids. Vegetable sources usually are low on or missing certain essential amino acids.
Carbohydrate, protein, and fat are the main sources of calories in the diet and are called macronutrients.