Carbs, Proteins, and Lipids: a Powerful Trio!
We often talk about carbs, proteins, and lipids as part of our everyday foods. But do you know the difference between these nutrients, as well as their respective roles?
Carbs: the fuel
Carbohydrates are more commonly called “sugars”. They are to your body what gasoline is to your vehicle, i.e., the fuel used by your brain and muscles. Carbohydrates requirements can vary according to various factors (age, weight, height, level of physical activity), just as the gas mileage of a car will vary according to its engine, its size, and the way you drive it.
Among the most popular carbohydrate we can find:
· Glucose and fructose, which are found in fruits and vegetables, honey, and sweet syrups;
· Lactose, the natural sugar of milk. People who are “lactose intolerant” cannot digest it properly;
· Sucrose is found in many fruits and vegetables, table sugar, molasses, and brown sugar;
· Starch: a carbohydrate found in plants and all starchy foods (grains, legumes, potatoes, etc.);
· Dietary fibre, which are not absorbed by the body, but improve digestion.
Proteins: the body
Proteins are made of long chains of amino acids linked together. They really are the building blocks of your body. They are part of your muscles, but also your nails, hair, and skin. When you get hurt, they rebuild your tissues. Just as the steel structure of your car that protects you against cold and snow, the proteins of your immune system protect you against sickness and infections. Finally, many proteins travel through your bloodstream, playing various roles: oxygen transportation, retention of water in blood vessels, etc.
Lipids: the engine oil
Lipids, also called fats, are essential for the proper functioning of the organism. They also accomplish various tasks, just like engine oil does for your car. Even if we would like to get rid of it at any price, our fat acts as our energy reserve, insulator, and protection against injuries. In addition, lipids play a role in the composition of cells and hormones.
The quality of lipids is also important, because good fats play a role in the development of the nervous and reproductive systems… Hence the importance of favouring fish, molluscs and crustaceans, vegetable oils, as well as nuts and seeds as good fat sources! Would you choose low-quality oil for the engine of your dream car? I doubt it!
By Vanessa Martin