These days everyone is now familiar with the fact that a meal should consist of carbohydrates, fats and proteins, the so called macronutrients.
It is the macronutrients that are an essential part of every new cell in the body and that provide our energy. Which ones are important to you and approximately how many do you need. The amount required to meet the body’s demand is called energy percentage and is partly dependent on demand. As a result, a top athlete, for example, needs a different ratio than a pregnant woman.
How many carbohydrates do we need? About 20–42% Energy of the total caloric intake per day.
If you go back in evolution, you never learn that more than 43% of the calories we ate came from carbohydrates. The main sources were carbohydrates from tubers and forest fruits and very occasionally honey. These natural sources have a low glycemic load, ie glucose absorption is slow and glucose levels remain very stable all the time. Current carbohydrate intake is around 60%–75% of the total caloric intake. These are mostly carbohydrates in the form of sugar, refined grain products and corn syrup; all products that provide a rapid rise in glucose levels. ‘Empty’ products such as biscuits, candy, chocolate, and white flour products put a huge burden on the body at the level of blood sugar, partly because they are “empty” (few nutrients present). Prolonged and frequent use of these empty products causes the sugar dips in the blood, with accompanying characteristics of faintness, shakiness, and loss of concentration. The result is a new need for the intake of a glucose source and so you are on the way to the sugar addiction.
The amount of carbohydrates required as determined by evolution is around 20-42% of the total caloric intake. This makes you wonder to what extent the recommended amount by the health council of 55% is a disease determining factor.
How much protein do we need? The average protein requirement is 20-30 Energy% of the total caloric intake per day. It is sometimes said that proteins determine the quality of your life, they are an indispensable nutrient. Our body is even made up of 17% protein. Proteins are our main building blocks, whereas carbohydrates and fats are more our fuel. You can imagine that it is therefore important to get enough of this.
Proteins are made up of substances called amino acids. During digestion, the amino acids are released from the proteins under the influence of enzymes. These amino acids in the form of proteins are part of the essential nutritional requirement in the human diet. There is hardly any possibility in the body to store proteins or amino acids. The body is therefore dependent on a correct intake of proteins on a daily basis. Good protein sources are egg, fish, meat, and nuts. It is good to vary all sources as much as possible to spread the intake of the different amino acids.
Preference is given to meat from animals that have actually moved or flown, such as (oily) fish (not from a breeding pond), large game, hare, deer and duck. Animal products from animals that have been less exercised, from industry, actually contain a relatively large amount of saturated fats and few proteins. Eating enough protein is important for good health. In addition, it helps you to maintain weight and also to lose weight. Proteins give you a feeling of satiety for a long time, so that you are less likely to get hungry for unhealthy snacks.
What do we need amino acids for?
• Building block of proteins: construction of all organs, blood, muscles, skin, brain, hormones and enzymes.
• Neurotransmitter for nerve impulse transmission
• Detoxifying in the liver
• Detoxifying the brain
• Free radical scavenger: capture the harmful particles of the body that are released during all processes in the body.
• Transport fatty acids across cell membrane.
Factors that increase the protein requirement in general are: pregnancy, breastfeeding, growth, training period (muscle building), illness and recovery after an illness. The average protein requirement is 20-30% energy per day. The recommended amounts are higher for people with a vegetarian diet. As a vegetarian it is difficult to get this amount because less good plant-based organic products are available.
How much fat do we need? The amount of fat in food should be 20-40 energy% of the total caloric intake per day. Eating healthy also includes eating healthy, tasty fats. Fats are an important source of energy and form the energy supply of the body. They protect us on the outside like a kind of shock absorber and are also the insulation layer there, not only on our visible outside, but every cell of the body is surrounded by fat in the cell wall. And certainly not unimportantly, they fulfill a transport function of, among other things, the fat-soluble vitamins ADEK, they could never be absorbed on their own.
The following functions of fats are:
• supplying energy and storage
• Part of a (supple) cell wall;
• transport fat-soluble vitamins and minerals;
• development and function of the brain, nervous system and eyes;
• protection layer and insulation layer of the body and organs;
• production of hormones;
• Important elements of the immune system, initiate an adequate inflammatory response gait in wound healing.
As most people know, there are several types of fatty acids: saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The ratio of these is of great importance for the proper functioning of the body. In the last century in particular, the ratio between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the diet has shifted strongly towards omega-6 fatty acids, due to an increase in the use of vegetable oils and fats, which are rich in omega-6 fatty acids. 6 fatty acids. It may well have shifted from the ratio of 5:1 omega 6: omega 3 in the original diet to about 20-30:1 in the western diet. Looking at evolution millions of years ago, the original ratio was probably 1:1
What certainly wasn’t there before the twentieth century were trans fatty acids. These are by-products that arise during the processing of unsaturated fatty acids. Trans fatty acids are interesting for the industry, they are more stable and have a longer shelf life but are completely foreign to the body and appear to disrupt many body processes.
Saturated fatty acids can be further subdivided into:
- Short Chain Fatty Acids: Butyric Acid
- Medium Turns Fatty Acids: Coconut, Avocado,
- Long-chain acidifying: animal fats (with the exception of fish)
Unsaturated fatty acids can be divided into:
- Monounsaturated Fatty Acids
- Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids
- Trans fats
All these different types of fatty acids are necessary for our body to function optimally. We cannot make all fatty acids ourselves in our body, which means that we have to get them through food. So we know another distribution of:
- Essential Fatty Acids (we should eat these)
- Non-Essential Fatty Acids (these can be produced in the body itself)
Essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
1. Omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid (LA). Our body can make gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and arachidonic acid (AA) from LA. Omega 6 (LA) can be found in, among other things, vegetable fats and oils and in meat.
2. Omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). The body can build eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) from ALA. Omega 3 (ALA) can be found in seafood such as oily fish, krill, or algae.