This guest post is written by Adrien Paczosa, RD, LD, CEDRD. She is the owner of iLiveWell Nutrition Therapy, a group of Registered Dietitians on a mission to empower clients with knowledge and spread the word of food, balance and fun!!
Gas is fuel for cars, a pen is for writing, TV is for entertaining, but what about food? What is a carbohydrate and what does it do? After eating something, do you ever wonder what it actually does in your body? I am a huge fan of empowering my clients to fully understand what food is and how it works.
There are 3 major players in every food you ingest. They are carbohydrates, proteinand fat. Every food from fish to chips & queso (my favorite) is made of the 3 players.
Let’s start with the big powerhouse, carbohydrates!!! Carbohydrate is an umbrella word for that which houses grains, starches, fruits, and vegetables. The main function of carbohydrates is energy. They are used to give our body its basic fuel. When we eat carbs, they get transported to the parts of the body that need fast powerful fuel – our muscles and the brain. Our brain can ONLY run on carbs, otherwise known as glucose, and we store carbs in our muscles as glucose too.
Next up is protein. Protein’s main function in the body is the internal band-aid. It’s used to heal any damage that has occurred during the day or to heal any part of the body that needs repair. Protein can come from many different types of food including meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds.
The last of the major players in food, and my personal favorite, is fat. Fat got the bad name. All too often, negative associations come to mind when we hear the word fat, but I challenge you to think of taste and happiness when you hear fat, because fat’s roll is truly amazing! Our brain is made up of 85% fat, all of our hormones and neurotransmitters (what make us happy) travel through fat, and all of our nerve cells are wrapped in fat for better connections and responses; meaning increased memory and problem solving. Eating fat can even help to NOT make you fat! Foods that are in this powerhouse are nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and oils.
All food has a function and purpose in the body. When we start to label food as good, bad, right or wrong, that is when all the confusion can creep in. Remember food is fuel!!