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CHO are found in grains, fruits, and vegetables and are the main source of energy in a healthy diet. CHO provide energy to the body in the form of glucose (stored as glycogen), act as building blocks for chemicals made by the body, and are used to repair tissue damage. Unfortunately, many people think CHO are unhealthy and lead to weight gain. That notion came about because many people add high-fat toppings and sauces to their starchy foods.

The two types of CHO are:

  • Simple CHO - have one or two sugar molecules hooked together. Examples include: glucose, table sugar, sugars in fruits, honey, sugar in milk (lactose), maple syrup, and molasses. Simple sugars are added to some processed foods and provide extra kcals.
  • Complex CHO - have three or more simple sugars hooked together and are digested into simple sugars by the body. Examples include: whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes (peas, beans). Both starch (digestible) and dietary fiber (indigestible) are forms of complex CHO. Although, dietary fiber does not provide any kcals, for health reasons it is recommended that adults eat 20-35 grams of fiber a day. This is achieved by eating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (see page 17 and Appendix A).

Energy From CHO

1 gram of CHO supplies 4 kcal. CHO should supply 55-60% of your total daily kcals.

e.g., in a 2,000 kcal diet at least 2,000 x 55 t- 100 = 1,100 kcals should be from CHO. To convert kcals of CHO into grams of CHO, divide the number of kcals by 4; i.e., 1,100 kcals ^ 4 kcals per gram = 275 grams of CHO.

Worksheet 2-1. Calculate Your CHO Requirements


Proteins are found in meat, fish, poultry, dairy foods, beans and grains. Proteins are used by the body to form muscle, hair, nails, and skin, to provide energy, to repair injuries, to carry nutrients throughout the body, and to contract muscle.

Energy from Proteins

1 gram of protein supplies 4 kcal (the same as CHO). v Proteins should supply 10-15% of your total daily kcals.

Your protein needs are determined by your age, body weight, and activity level. Most people eat 100 to 200 g of proteins each day, which is more protein than is actually needed by the body. Many people eat high-protein foods because they think that proteins make them grow "bigger and stronger". Actually, these excess kcals from proteins can be converted to fat and stored. High-protein intakes also increase fluid needs and may be dehydrating if fluid needs are not met (see "Water" on page 14 and Chapter 12).

Table 2-1. Determining Your Protein Factor

Grams of Proteins Per Pound of Body Weight

Your Protein Factor is

Calculate your daily protein requirements in Worksheet 2-2 using your protein factor from Table 2-1.

Worksheet 2-2. Calculate Your Protein Requirements

_x_=_grams of proteins per day.

Body Weight (lbs.) Protein Factor j


Fats are an essential part of your diet, regardless of their bad reputation. Fats provide a major form of stored energy, insulate the body and protect the organs, carry nutrients throughout the body, satisfy hunger, and add taste to foods. However, not all fats are created equal. The three types of fats naturally present in foods are saturated, and mono- and polyunsaturated fats. A fourth type of fat, trans fat, is formed during food processing.

  • Saturated Fats are solid at room temperature and are found primarily in animal foods (red meats, lard, butter, poultry with skin, and whole milk dairy products); tropical oils such as palm, palm kernel and coconut are also high in saturated fat.
  • Monounsaturated Fats are liquid at room temperature and are found in olive oil, canola oil and peanuts.
  • Polyunsaturated Fats are liquid at room temperature and are found in fish, corn, wheat, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils.

Saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fats should each be less than or equal to 10% of your total daily kcals. Therefore, total fat intake should be less than or equal to 30% of your total daily kcal intake.

Trans Fats are created when foods are manufactured. Currently, food labels do not list the trans fat content of a food but if "hydrogenated oils" are listed under ingredients it indicates the presence of trans fats. The more processed foods you eat, the greater your trans fat intake. Trans fats may increase blood cholesterol.

A high-fat diet is associated with many diseases, including heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. On average, people who eat high-fat diets have more body fat than people who eat high-CHO, low-fat diets. On the other hand, a fat-free diet is also very harmful since fat is an essential nutrient.

Energy From Fat

||\ 1 gram of fat supplies 9 kcal, more than twice the energy supplied by CHO.| Ik Fats should supply no more than 30% of your total daily kcals. I

e.g., in a 2,000 kcal diet no more than 2,000 x 30 4 100 = 600 kcals should be from fats. To convert kcals of fat into grams of fat, divide the number of kcals by 9; i.e., 600 kcals 4 9 kcals per gram = 67 grams of fat.

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