Carbohydrates, fat and protein comprise the group which we gain our energy from. Most foods contain a mixture of these three nutrients but are usually classified by the predominant nutrient. The energy gained by these nutrients are used by the body as heat, to build and maintain its structures, to move or perform a function or to be stored as fat. I will discuss each of these nutrients briefly to clarify their importance. The caloric value for each of these nutrients are:
- 1 gm carbohydrate = 4 calorie
- 1 gm fat = 9 calories
- 1 gm protein = 4 calories
Carbohydrates are used by the body as an energy source. Carbohydrates are also the most abused and misunderstood nutrient that we consume. Your body uses glycogen as fuel for muscles to burn. Glycogen is produced by the body in two ways. The first is from the body’s natural process of breaking down carbohydrates consumed, and the second is from metabolizing fat stores when available glycogen reserves are low, which is not desirable for long periods of time. “Carbo-Loading” is a term many are familiar with. Primarily, carbo-loading is a technique used by trained athletes to increase their store of available glycogen for long endurance sports. When the body’s glycogen stores are not depleted by exercise the remaining energy produced from consumed carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat deposits. This is the main reason that so many people are overweight today.
Fat is a required nutrient of the body to perform very necessary functions. Dietary fats help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, triglycerides are the major energy fuel of the liver and skeletal muscles. Phospholipids are integral components of maintaining nerve structures (which are essential for brain function) and all cellular membranes.
Proteins are important nutrients because they are the structural material of the body, some examples are skin, muscle and connective tissues. Dietary proteins furnish the essential amino acids required for protein synthesis in the body. Great examples of good proteins include, eggs, fish and meats – they are considered complete proteins because they meet all the body’s amino acid requirements for tissue maintenance and growth.
At La Jolla Sports Club, there is always a trained nutritionist on staff. La Jolla Sports Club has a nutritionist on staff that has a B.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition. Make an appointment today to set up an initial assessment. Meal plans will be provided based on current nutrient deficits and personal needs. Constant contact and follow-ups will be provided to help all clients stay on track. Other services are provided as well such as trips to the grocery store, educational seminars, and weekly consultations.