Food – What You Eat is What You Get
There are different types of food, and they are classified depending on the digestion process that a food undergoes to obtain their nutrients. The three main types are carbohydrates, protein and fat. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy in our body. Protein and fat are the major components of the body’s cells and tissues. In most foods, carbohydrates make up the majority of the material in them. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of carbohydrates.
Proteins are another group of food, which can be classified according to their function. Animal proteins are made up of amino acids, which are in short chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms, and thus cannot be broken down into simple molecules like water and oxygen. Proteins are a complete protein, meaning they are capable of being digested and absorbed by our bodies. Animal proteins are high in fat, sugar and cholesterol, and as such are not advised as a diet.
Fatty acids, or fats, are also a group of food, and they contain only one carbon and hydrogen atom, unlike carbohydrates and proteins, which have two carbon and three hydrogen atoms. Fats are used for energy by our bodies, but too much fat intake can raise cholesterol levels, and increase risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Fats can be part of a healthy diet, but a balanced approach to a diet should include other food groups, which are rich in vitamins and nutrients. For example, the consumption of nuts, seeds and grains is an important part of a healthy diet.
Another group of food is carbohydrates, and these include vegetables, whole grain breads, pasta and cereals, rice, potatoes and some fruits. The three main types of carbohydrates are simple sugars, complex carbohydrates and monosaccharides. Simple sugars occur naturally in fruit and vegetable juice and milk. Complex carbohydrates occur in pasta and cereals, and may be affected by food processing, and monosaccharides occur in table salt. A well balanced diet should provide up to 30% of your daily calories from carbohydrates.
There are also fats and oils. Some fats and oils are good, some are bad, others have more health effects than others. Saturated fats and trans-fats are problematic, as are hydrogenated oils. Good fats include avocado and olive oils, canola oil, raw nuts, seeds and olives, sesame and peanut oils. Bad fats and chemicals are found in deep-fried foods, fast food, chips and other snacks.
Amino acids are food components that provide the building blocks of protein. The human body requires proteins, which are made up of amino acids, to build and maintain tissue. Milk, eggs and fish are among the richest sources of dietary proteins. Some plants produce enzymes that break down proteins and some are even useful for making vitamin supplements, as well as antibiotics and other health products.