Carbohydrate Fat and Protein The Energy Providing Macronutrients

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lou have heard the saying "You are what you eat". Although this statement has not been proven, we do know that what you eat makes a difference in how you perform, how long you survive, and the quality of your life. The macronutrients, or energy-providing nutrients, are extremely important in this respect. Also, without energy you would starve, and your ability to perform would be greatly reduced. Our three main sources of energy are:

♦ Carbohydrate or CHO

These fuels are called macro because they are eaten in "large quantities" unlike the mi-cronutrients we will discuss later. This chapter will provide basic information about these macronutrients.

Macronutrients Major Elements

The Navy SEAL Nutrition Guide


Carbohydrates, commonly abbreviated CHO, are foods we want to become very familiar with since they are the preferred foods for endurance activities, competitive athletic events, and healthy living. In fact, CHOs are the basic source of energy for humans. Luckily, CHO are also foods you are encouraged to eat, not foods you are urged to restrict, such as fat

Definition, Composition, and Classification

Carbohydrates are composed of three elements: carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They exist in many forms,, but the two major types of CHOs are simple and complex.

  • Simple CHOs have one (mono) or two (disaccharides) sugar molecules hooked together.
  • Types of simple CHOs include glucose (dextrose)/ table sugar (sucrose), honey (fructose and glucose), fructose (sugars in fruit), maltose (sugars in malt), lactose (sugar in milk), brown sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, refined sugar products, raw sugar, corn sweeteners, high-fructose com syrup, and molasses.
  • Complex CHOs have three or more simple sugar molecules hooked together; polysaccharides are long strands of simple sugars,
  • Complex CHOs are found in grains, fruits, seeds, potatoes, pasta, macaroni, seaweed, algae, and legumes such as peas and beans, and all other vegetables.
  • The main forms of complex CHOs are starches and fibers; they come from plant materials- Starches are digested by the body whereas dietary fiber cannot be. Fiber will be discussed in Chapter 5.
  • The only CHO stored in animals is "glycogen" which is found in liver and muscles.
  • The amount of glycogen stored in liver and muscle is limited: muscle glycogen stores can be depleted after 3 to 4 hours of heavy exercise and a 24 hour fast could use up liver glycogen stores.

Functions of Carbohydrate in the Body

CHOs are used in the body mainly as:

  • Fuel in the farm of glucose - glucose is the most important source of energy in our body, and it is stored in the liver and muscle as glycogen. The complex CHOs you eat are digested into simple sugars, mostly glucose, and then used by the muscles, brain, heart, and other organs for energy.
  • Building blocks to make chemicals needed by the cells of your body
  • Chemical cement for repairing structures of your body

Carbohydrate in the Diet

CHO foodstuffs are the largest part of the world's food supply. In Mexico the CHO staples are com tortilla and beans; in Brazil - black beans and rice; in India - chick peas (garbanzo), lentils, rice, and whole grain unleavened breads; in Japan - rice, tofu and vegetables; and in the Middle East - humus (chick peas) and tahiru (sesame seeds). In the United States our classic CHOs are bread, potatoes, noodles, and macaroni.

Unfortunately, many people think starches are unhealthy and lead to weight gain-That notion came about because most people add high fat toppings and/or sauces to their starchy foods. For example, many individuals put lots of butter or margarine on their bread, sour cream on their baked potato, cream cheese on bagels and cream sauces on their macaroni or pasta! Look below to see what kinds of foods provide simple and complex CHOs.

Energy From Carbohydrate

One gram of CHO supplies 4 kcal

EXAMPLE; One Fig Newton contains 10 grams of CHO and provides 60 calories. Calories from CHO and percent of calories from CHO are:

4 kcal X 10 grams = 40 kcal from CHO 40/60 = 0.67 = 67% of energy from CHO

Table 2-1. Ideas For Selecting Foods/ Food Combinations

High In Complex CHO

Below are some suggestions for foods to eat at meal and snack times. Fruits are always good - especially since they also provide water which is very important.

Breakfast Cereals Grains Fruits

Oatmeal Wheaties Cornflakes Wheatena Cheerios Raisin Bran Grapcnuts Granóla

Bagel with Jam

Whole Wheat Bread

English Muffin



Wlute Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes




Muffins, bran, blueberry etc

Oranges Banana Cantaloupe Peaches Apples Pineapple Grapefruit Strawberries



Tomato/Tomato Sauce Carrots and Peas Eggplant

Kidney Beans Lentil Stew Chick-peas



Squash Broccoli Cauliflower

Black-eyed Peas Lima Beans Pinto Beans

Sandwiches and Fillings

Other Ideas

French Roll w/ Tuna, Lettuce, Pickles Pita w1 Turkey, Lettuce, Mustard Chicken, Lettuce, Mustard on Rye Bagel with Peanut Butter and Jelly Pita w/ Mashed Beans, Onions Tortilla with Beans, Lettuce Chicken Burrito

Pasta with Turkey and Veggies Rice with Chicken and Veggies Pasta with Tuna, Celery, Onions Fruit Salad Spaghetti and Sauce Chicken Noodle Soup Potato Salad

Low Fat/High CHO High FatfHigh CHO

Any Kind of Fruit

Most Cookies

Raisins „ Dates, Prunes

Most Cakes

Popcorn, Pretzels

Candy Bars

Bagel with Jam

Ice Creams

Pastas Con Rib Eye

Saturated Fals Polyunsaturated: rate

(Animal fits «nil btpiol otta l {Con and Saffiowfr (rib)

Saturated Fals Polyunsaturated: rate

(Animal fits «nil btpiol otta l {Con and Saffiowfr (rib)

Believe it or not, fat is an essential part of your diet, even though you hear everyone say "Don't eat that if s high in fat!". Fat adds taste to foods and satisfies your sense of hunger. However, not all fats are created equal By understanding the different types of dietary fat, how fat works in the body, and using guidelines for daily fat consumption, you can eliminate excess fat from your diet and eat for better health.

Definition, Composition, and Classification

Fat is an essential nutrient for your body, and is usually classified according to its chemical form. There are three major types of fats or fatty acids;

  • Saturated
  • Monouns aturat e d
  • Polyunsaturated

Saturated fats (''fatty adds") which are solid at room temperature, have no room for any additional hydrogen atoms. Saturated fats are found primarily in animal foods—red meats, lard, butter, poultry with skin, and whole milk dairy products. Palm, palm kernel and coconut oils are also highly saturated.

Mono and polyunsaturated fats, which remain liquid at room temperature have room for additional hydrogen atoms. Monounsaturates have room for only one hydrogen and are found in olives, olive oil, avocados, and peanuts. Polyunsaturated fats, which have room for more than one hydrogen, are found primarily in fish, corn, wheat, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils, such as peanut, sunflower, com and safflower oils*

Functions of Fat in the Body

Fats, or fatty acids, serve several important roles in the body. Fat:

  • Is our major form of stored energy; it provides energy during exercise, in cold environments, and when you don't have enough to eat
  • Insulates the body
  • Helps carry other nutrients to places in the body
  • Protects organs
  • Serves a structural role in cells

Despite its bad reputation, fat is very important, and some fats/fatty acids are essential.

A little of all the different types of fats is desirable, but TOO much fat is the primary dietary problem in our country, A high intake of fat is associated with many diseases, including:

The average American consumes 42% of his or her daily calories as fat (40% carbohydrate and 18% protein). Most health experts agree that Americans should decrease their fat intake to no more than 30% of the total daily calories, and saturated fat should provide no more than 10% of the total daily calories. In our country, more than 15% of our calories are from saturated fat. The key to this is knowing which foods are high in fat and which are low. Once you have that information, it is up to you to start changing your dietary behaviors.

How Much Fat Should We Eat?

  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Many forms of cancer
  • Diabetes

Energy From Fat

One gram of FAT supplies 9 kcal

Fat provides more than twice the energy supplied by carbohydrates.

Example 1:

A 1 ounce bag of potato chips contains 10 grams of fat, so the calories from fat are:

9 kcal X10 grains = 90 kcal of energy

Example 2:

One hot dog supplies 17 grams of fat, so calories from fat would be:

9 kcal X 17 grams = 153 kcal of energy

Determining Your Daily Fat Allowance

Everyone talks about grams of fat, but what does that mean on a practical level? How does one translate "grams" of fat to percent fat and how many grams of fat should you allow yourself each day? You know that only 30% of your calories should come from fat, so with that in mind, you will learn how to determine your daily fat allowance. Let's take an example first:

Example: Determining A Fat Allowance

If estimated energy need (EEN)= 3222 calories

Step 1. Multiply EEN by 03 to get calories from fat 3222 X 0,3 - 967 fat calories

Step 2. Divide fat calories by 9 to get grams of fat. 967/9 = 107 grams of FAT per day

Where Did the Numbers Come From?

  • Estimated energy need was provided in the example. You know your EEN from the previous chapter.
  • 0.3 in Step 1 is for calculating 30% of calories from fat,
  • 9 in Step 2 is the number of calories in one gram of fat.
  • 107 is the number of grams of fat that should not be exceeded to ensure that the diet provides no more than 30% of calories from fat.

Worksheet 2-1. Figure Out Your Fat Allowance

Refer back to your Estimated energy needs (EEN) exercise (Chapter page 6) and write your EEN in the box below.

Estimated Energy Need (EEN) =

Calories from Fat =

STEP 2. Calories from Fat/9 = 19

Grams of Fat per Day =

Now that you know how to do this, just take whatever percent fat you want, multiply it by your energy needs, and then divide by 9.

You can also use the above method to determine the percent of fat in particular foods. If you read a food label and it shows the item provides 270 calories, of wluch 15 grams are fat, then to calculate the percent of calories from fat you would do the following:

Total Calories = 270 Total Fat = 15 grams Calories from Fat = 15 grams X 9 kcal = 135 kcal % Calories from Fat = (135 X 100)/270 = 50%

Worksheet 2-2. Calculating Percent of Calories From Fat

Food Total Calories Grams of Fat Fat Calories % of Calories

Hot Dog



16.6X9 =


149 X 10Ü/J83 = 81.6%

Double Cheese Pizza, 1 slice



19X9 =


171X100/370 = 46.2%

Barbecue Potato Chips



18,4X9 =

= 166

166 X 100/278 = 59,7%

Tootsie Roll



BLT Sandwich w/ Mayo



Worksheet 2-3. Select A "Lower Fat" Alternative

Below is a list of foods that are high in fat. Look at each food item and determine a suitable replacement that you think would be much lower in fat



French Fries with Ketchup

Boiled Potatoes

Chicken Drumstick w/ Skin

Chicken Breast w/o Skin

Beef Hot Dog

Chicken or Turkey Dog

Tuna Packed in Oil

Tuna Packed in Water

Whole Milk

Skim or 1% Milk

Regular Cottage Cheese

Fat Cottage Cheese

Regular Ice Cream

Ice Milk or Italian Ice

Ground Beef

Ground Turkey or Extra Lean Beef

Baked Potato and Sour Cream

Baked Potato with Yogurt

Bagel with Cream Cheese

Whole Milk Yogurt



Cheese Sandwich

Turkey Sandwich with Mayonnaise

Pizza with Double Cheese

Salad with Blue Cheese Dressing

Potato Chips with Dip

Bologna and Cheese Sandwich


Many people like to eat high protein foods because they think protein makes them grow "big and strong". Are they correct? Let's take a look at protein and what it really does.

Definition and Composition

Unlike carbohydrates and fats which contain only carbon, oxygen and hydrogen, protein also contains nitrogen and other elements essential for life. Proteins are made up of several amino acids - small building blocks that are hooked together. Although there are many different amino acids (at least 20), only 9 are called essential amino acids because the body cannot make them; they must be obtained from the diet. That's why we must eat protein - to take in the essential amino acids.

Functions of Protein in the Body

Proteins vary in size, depending on how many amino acids are linked together, and each one performs different functions in the body. Although they can provide energy, they are not a main source of energy like carbohydrates and fat. Some functions of protein are:

  • Form muscle, hair, nails, skin, and other tissues
  • Direct energy production
  • Repair injuries
  • Carry fats, vitamins and minerals to different parts of the body
  • Muscle contraction
  • Serve a structural role for every part of the body

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

Many people eat 150 to 200 g of protein each day which is more protein than is actually needed by the body. Protein needs are determined by age, body weight, and activity leveL Many athletes think that if they eat more protein their muscles will get larger, but this is not true. Excess calories from protein can be converted to fat and stored. Additionally, the liver and the kidneys are put under a lot of strain when processing large quantities of protein.

Table 2-2. How Much Protein Do I Need?

Grams of Protein Per Pound of Body Weight

Activity Level

Protein Factor

Low to Moderate 0.5 grains

Endurance Training 0.6 - 0.8 grams

Strength/Weight Training 0,6 - 0.8 grams


Suppose you weigh 175 pounds and are training to be a SEAL. Then you are "IN TRAINING" for sure - both endurance and strength training. Your protein needs would be 0.6 to 0.8 grams per pound body weight as shown in the figure above.

Protein Needs = 0.8 X175 = 140 grams

Worksheet 2-4. Calculate Your Protein Needs


Body Weight Protein Factor Grams Per Day

Energy from Protein

^One gram of PROTEIN supplies 4 kcal^

Protein supplies about the same energy as carbohydrates. Example 1:

One hard boiled egg contains 6 grams of protein; calories from protein are:

4 kcal X 6 grams = 24 kcal of energy

Example 2:

One small hamburger supplies 24 grams of protein; calories from protein would be:

4 kcal X 24 grams = 96 kcal of energy

Examples Protein Foods

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