**This post is one of several in an excerpt series from the book, Health in a Heartbeat by Dan Rudd & Sally Edwards**
The Three Positive Nutrients: Fat, Carbohydrates, and Protein
Fat is a wonderful source of highly concentrated energy. Fat and oils are dense in calories. In one gram you get nine calories of energy compared with 4 calories in one gram of carbohydrates or protein. Fat is light. It floats in water while muscle sinks. There is a certain healthy amount of body fat that we need to maintain the power of our immune system, to support metabolic processes, provide for endurance capacity and make us healthier. Too much fat is negative. Too much body fat leads to heart disease, diabetes and cancers. Fat slows the amount of time it takes to digest food. Fat adds flavor and appeal to foods which reduces hunger and increases satasfaction. Here are some averages about fat in the American diet: The average person stores enough fat (110,000 kcals of triglycerides) to run a thousand miles at a pace of 8 miles per hour. Americans get 35%-50% of their calories from fats. Most health experts recommend a maximum of 30%. The American diet is simply too high in fat calories.
Carbohydrates are wonderful. The primary function of carbohydrates in the body is to provide the energy source for muscles to work or contract. However, if there is an excess of carbohydrates they are sent to the fat cells and stored as fat deposits. Carbohydrates are involved in other body functions such as energizing the brain and blood stream. They also play an important role in burning fats because without them, fats do not break down completely. Carbohydrates are economically good calories because one gram of carbohydrate is worth only 4 kcal of energy, half that of a gram of fat. The human body stores carbohydrate fuel, enough to run about 18 miles at one time. Some people believe that eating carbohydrates is fattening, but the reverse is true – they are high energy with low caloric costs.
Protein is wonderful. It is essential for sustaining life. Known as the building blocks of our diet, proteins are linked amino acids. There are high quality or complete proteins that contain 9 of the 20 amino acids and low quality or incomplete proteins. Most foods contain proteins. Those with the greatest percentage of protein are those from animal sources such as eggs and milk. Plants are sources of proteins as well. Proteins are important for maintaining muscles, bone, skin, and hair. They are also important for the body to function well in creating hemoglobin, regulating fluid levels, and maintaining hormone production. Too much protein is negative and is stored as fat or carbohydrates, not as muscle mass. Most Americans consume more protein than needed.
More to come ..
Keep your eyes peeled as we continue to release excerpts throughout upcoming weeks. If you fall in love with these tips from our excerpt series, make sure to stop in and grab a copy of Health in a Heartbeat, available on Amazon today.