Carbohydrates, Proteins & Fat

Nutrition provides body with energy, builds muscle, bone and organs, and a lack of attention to the aforementioned areas is what sets apart healthy  individuals from unhealthy individuals.

Of the 6 main nutrients, – i.e. carbohydrates, proteins, fat, water, vitamins and minerals the discussion in this article focusses on the 3 major nutrients of carbohydrates, protein, and fat, as follows:

1) Carbohydrates:

  • Provide stored energy (Glycogen and Fat)
  • Instant energy source and 1 gram provides 4 calories
  • Protein sparing (prevents protein used as source of energy)
  • Aid in fat burning
  • Should ideally be 55% of your daily food intake

Examples of carbohydrates usage in common activity include the following activities:

  • Walking = least amount less than 50%
  • Medium Jog = around 50%
  • Running = More than 50 %

Note: physically active population should take in an adequate amount of carbohydrates depending on sports and energy requirements per each individual and each respective physical activity.

Common Food Items:

Food Total Calories
Apple 84
Orange Juice 112
Corn Flakes 104
Potato Baked 224
White bread (1 slice) 65
Banana 121
Carbonated drink (1 can) 164

(NOTE: There could be slight variances in calories for individual food items, depending on brand, so make sure to check all food labels before purchase)

2) Proteins:

  • Build and maintain muscle, bones and organs
  • Provide 4 calories per gram
  • Transport nutrition to proper body tissues
  • Are responsible Hormone production
  • Maintain blood volume and sweat rate when you exercise
  • Should be 15% of your daily total calorie intake

Note: It is advisable to have no more than 1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body weight (this topic will be covered in an upcoming article).

Common Food Items:

Food Total Calories
Tuna (3 oz. canned) 129
Chicken breast roasted 185
Crab meat (1 cup/8 oz.) 123
Salmon (3 oz. canned) 113
Cheddar Cheese (1 oz.) 109
Shrimp (3 oz.) 97

3) Fat:

  • Insulates your body in extreme temperature
  • Provides 9 calories per gram
  • Carries essential nutrient (Ex: Vitamin K, D, A, E)
  • Cushions against concussive forces
  • Should be 25% of daily total calories (mainly from healthy fat).

Commonly used classification:

  • Triglycerides = Common from dietary fats and oils
  • Saturated Fat = Increase cholesterol found in meat and diary products
  • Low density Lipoprotein (LDL) = Major carrier of cholesterol and lipids in blood
  • High density Lipoprotein (HDL) = Carry lipids away from storage and to liver for metabolism (Removal of cholesterol)

Common Food Items:

Food Total Calories
Butter (1 tbsp.) 99
Coconut (Raw  – 1 cup) 303
Avocado (1 whole) 371
Olive Oil (1 tbsp.) 126
Feta Cheese 74
Doughnut Plain 216
Chicken Breast (fried) 354
Whole Milk 148

Always remember also to EAT ACCORDING TO YOUR ACTIVITY LEVEL.  By eating more food and consuming more calories, than you burn, will result in you gaining fat and make you unhealthy.  Also, eating less food and consuming less calories than your body requires for your level of physical activity, will cause you to lose your lean muscle and make you unhealthy.

Ranil Harshana
Fitness Consultant & Performance Coach
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