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Powerhouse Of The Body- Macronutrients

by Nutri Makhana on September 05, 2023

In a body, much like in a house, there is always an elder member who rules the body, but in this case, there are three members who rule the body according to their functions. These are the nutrients which are used by the living organisms to survive, grow and reproduce.

When it comes to nutrients there are two types of nutrients that are micronutrients and macronutrients.

What are Macronutrients?

As the name suggests, macro means large and nutrients means substance. They are the dietary nutrients that the body needs for energy  and to sustain its system and structure. Most of the body’s energy and calories come from macronutrients. Carbohydrates, Proteins and fats are known as macronutrients. No diet should exclude these macronutrients as they are the “Powerhouse” of the body.

All the macros have their own benefits and roles in the body. They play an important role in digestion. Some people count macros to reduce their weight. Your ability to feel content  after meals and whether you are getting all the nutrients you require depend on the variety of food you eat.


  • Carbohydrates: 

 It is an organic chemical compound of a very simple structure made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. It is the Primary fuel of the body. Also, it is a best source of energy and working of the organs. Since every organ requires energy they choose carbohydrates for the energy and on the other hand the brain prefers glucose or carbohydrates for the energy. They should be consumed  50-60% in the diet.

Starch is a kind of a carbohydrate which is stored in the plants whereas animals store carbohydrate in the form of glycogen which is stored in the liver and muscles around 300-340 mg unfortunately they can be stored in a limit. From the muscles it gets mobilized as soon as the glucose levels in the body dips down below normal.


    • Simple carbohydrates: The smallest digestible unit will be called monosaccharides. It is the simplest structure of carbohydrate and is also known as simple sugars. They consist of only 1 unit which further can’t be broken down during digestion.
                   For example: Glucose which is present in everything
                                          Fructose is present only in fruits
                                           Lactose and Galactose are present only in Milk.

          Another Simple carbohydrate is Disaccharides which consist of only 2  monosaccharides and they are combined together to make a structure.

              For examples: Sucrose- which is known as table sugar (Glucose+ Fructose)

                                      Lactose- which is the combination of Glucose and Galactose

                                       Maltose- which is a combination of Glucose and Glucose

    • Complex carbohydrate: 3-10 units of monosaccharide makes a structure known as Oligosaccharide. They make a structure of intermediary  products. For example: Dextrin they are found in pulses and legumes. 
    • Another Complex carbohydrate is Polysaccharide has more than 10 units of monosaccharide which has two parts that include:
    • Starch: Complex carbohydrates, they contain a large number of glucose molecules. For eg: potato, pasta etc.
    • Fiber: They are the non- digestible carbohydrates  as they encourage healthy bacterial growth. Two types of fiber are soluble fiber and Insoluble fiber.

  • Functions of Carbohydrates:

      1.  Production of Energy: The production of energy 4 kcal is the preferred source of energy. Brain, heart & Lungs prefer carbohydrates for energy.
      2. Protein Sparing: It is left out for special work when carbohydrates are there in the body. It should be there for complex work not for simple work. This is an important function of carbohydrates.
      3. Fat Metabolism: When carbohydrates are not present in the body. The fats breakdown and then release  glucose which is present in Adipose tissue. Ketone bodies release in the body in a limited amount. Ketone bodies are released when carbohydrates are not present in the body.
      4. Detoxification: Toxins are flushed out and neutralized then. Liver helps you do detoxification and needs lots of carbohydrates to do detoxification.

    • Sources of Carbohydrates: Vegetables, fruits, cereals, Dairy Products


    • Proteins:

     It is an essential nutrient. The daily recommended dietary allowance is 0.8g protein per kilogram per body weight. It provides structure to the tissue  and 20-21% amino acids are released in the body. There is 3-dimensional classification of amino acids which includes:

    • Essential Amino acids: The body doesn't synthesize these amino acids itself. The essential amino acids are: Methionine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Valine, Irolucine, Levieine, Phenylalanine, Lyrine.
    • Non-Essential Amino acids: Body can produce these amino acids itself if the person is healthy. They are : Glutamine , Glutamate, aspartate, Asparagine
    • Conditionally Amino acids: They are not essential for the body but can be taken on when it is necessary. They include: Histidine, Arginine, Cysteine.

    •      Nutritional Classification of Proteins:

    •   Complete Proteins: They are those in which you will find amino acids in large amounts. For example: eggs, chicken Albumin lactalbumin 
    • Incomplete Proteins: They are those proteins in which one or more amino acids are missing which are not beneficial for growth. For example: Gelatin
    • Partially Incomplete Proteins: Protein source with combination that completes the requirement of amino acids. For example: Cereal (Lysine), Pulses (Methenamine)

  • Classification Based on Structure:

    • Primary Structure: It is defined as a linear amino acids sequence of polypeptide chains. This structure is also known as Simple structure. For example: Egg Albumin
    • Secondary Structure: It is defined as local spatial conformation of the polypeptide backbone excluding the side chains. They are also known as Curved or Helical structures. For example: Keratin in Hair, Collagen in Skin, Myosin in muscles.
    • Territory Structure: They are defined as a three dimensional arrangement of all the atoms that constitute the protein molecule. They are also known as Coiled structures. For example: Enzymes Or Hormones( Testosterone, Insulin)
    • Quaternary structure: They are those structures which consist of more than one polypeptide chain. They are also known as Supercoiled structures. For example: Iron- Hemoglobin which is the oxygen carrier and made up of proteins.

  • Functions of Proteins:

    • Growth: Proteins are required at the initial stage for the development of cells of the body. Thus, they are required in larger quantities). Cells won’t grow without protein and without being a cell it can’t make an organism.
    • Maintenance: Proteins are required for the maintenance of the body which are required in larger quantities.
    • Repair: To repair one’s body requires the medicine but also the protein for the repairment of the tissues. It is also required for the repairing of muscle tears.
    • Immunity Booster: Proteins play a major role in boosting the immunity as our body consist of white blood cells which are the antigens that specifically represent the antibodies which helps with fighting with the viruses and infections and leads to immunity boosting.
    • Maintains the Hormones Balance- Proteins are the backbone of maintaining the balance of the hormones by keeping the enzymes in proper quantity.

    • Sources of Proteins: Milk, Chicken, Yogurt, chia seeds, Fish, Pulses, Nuts

    • Fats:

     Lipids are compounds that include fats, oils, vaxes and related compounds found in food and the human body. Some common properties of lipids include that they are insoluble in water, they are soluble in organic solvents such as ether and chloroform.

    Fat is a complex organic compound consisting of a mixture of fatty acids and alcohol which is generally glycerol. If a substance is liquid at 20 degree Celsius is called oil and if it is solid or semi- solid then it is called Fat.

  • Classification of Fats:

    • Simple fats: These are the neutral fats and fatty acids. Chemically they are made up of 3 fatty acids and 1 glycerol. The most common type being Triglycerides.
    • Compound Fats: They are chemically made up of simple lipids and non-lipid elements. The most common type are: Phosphorus + Lipid= Phospholipid, Carbohydrate Lipid= Carbolipid, Protein + Lipid= Lipoprotein 

    Sterol: They consist of more complex organic molecules that are naturally in plants, animals and fungi. The most common being present in animals known as cholesterol.

  • Types of Fats:

    • Saturated Fats: They are one of the unhealthy fats which are most oftenly in solid form at room temperature. Foods like butter, cream, coconut oil, and meat have high levels of saturated fats. These fats increase the risk of heart disease and other diseases too.
    • Unsaturated Fats: They are those fats which are liquid at room temperature and are considered the beneficial fats which lowers your cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart diseases. They are of two types Monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA). They are mostly found in nuts and seeds which have omega 3&6 fatty acids. Sources of the Unsaturated fats are : Nuts and seeds, Vegetable Oil, peanut, Olive oil.
    • Trans Fats: When fats are all of its structure there is no problem but when it becomes trans it is harmful. Too much trans fats in your diet is very risky and not useful at all. Artificially Hydrogenated oils are the common type of trans fats, Heating oil multiple times can have trans fats.

    • Sources of Fats are: Nuts and Seeds, Butter, Cream, Cheese, vegetable oil, fish, soymilk, tofu.


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