Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for a body functioning and muscle activity. Carbohydrates are needed for the control of protein and fat metabolism. The three main types of carbohydrates are sugars, starches and fibers. Carbs that are bad for you include table sugars, brown sugar and processed foods with added sugar for improved taste. Some of theses processed foods include sugar sweetened drinks, grain based desserts, fruit flavored drinks, dairy desserts, candy, ready to eat cereals and yeast breads. What these do to your body is raise your blood sugar and if your body has enough carbs they can be turned into fat. Men aged 50 or younger should get 38 grams of fiber a day. Women 50 and under should get 25 grams of fiber a day. Carbs make up 55-60% of our diet.
Fats are the most concentrated form of energy from the foods we eat. Carbohydrates and proteins will change to stored fat when they are not used. Fats are a secondary source of energy when carbohydrate sources are used up. They also act as carriers for some vitamins. The good fats are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated. They reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood. These fats come from nuts, seeds and avocados. However bad fats can cause high cholesterol. Some examples of bad fats are meat, poultry and eggs, butter, cream and other dairy products. They are known as saturated fats. 30% of your daily calorie intake should be from fats. 20% from the polyunsaturated and 10% from saturated.
Protein is the main building material for blood, skin, hair, nails, organs and muscles. Protein is used as a fuel source only when carbohydrate and fat supplies are not enough. Protein is also necessary for making hormones. Excessive protein will be changed by the liver and stored as fat. 10-15% of our diet should be made up of protein.
In general, the body cannot make vitamins, so they must be supplied by the diet. They have no energy value but are important to almost all metabolic reactions. Vitamins help in the development of body structures. They help convert fat and carbohydrates into energy. There are two types of vitamins, fat soluble and water soluble. Fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E, and K. These can be stored in the body and too much can lead to toxic/poisonous levels. Water soluble vitamins include C, B complex and bioflavanoids. Since people do not eat perfectly every day, many experts advise people to take a multivitamin supplement to fill in the gaps that we miss.
Minerals occur in the environment and are absorbed up the food chain into plants and animals. All minerals important to human functioning can not be made by the body and have to be supplied by the human diet. They help with metabolism, biological reactions, water balance, hormone production, and bone development.
About 70% to 80% of the human body is water. Water helps gives structure and form to the body, it allows an environment necessary for cell metabolism, and provides a way for the body to maintain temperature. All of the water outside the body cells is called extracellular fluid. The majority of extracellular fluid is contained in the blood plasma. Water inside the cells is called intracellular fluid and composes most of the body's total water weight.