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Macronutrients

Protein, carbohydrate and fat are known as macro nutrients macro is from the Greek makros meaning big or long. Micro nutrients, which include vitamins, minerals and trace elements are also important dietary components. A third category is non-nutritive components, which include fiber, water, additives, a multitude of chemicals in plants and animals, some of which have yet to be identified.

Nearly all foods contain a combination of two or three of the macro nutrients. The exceptions are foods like butter, oil, lard and shortening which are 100 percent fat, honey and sugar which are 100 percent carbohydrate.

Following the basic principles of moderation, variety and balance, the ideal diet provides all the nutrients needed for life. With adequate amounts of protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamins and minerals, you will have nourishment for growth and replacement of bone, muscles and other tissues. You will have enough energy for daily living and plenty left over for exercise.

Most of us eat at least twice as much protein as we need. Generally, a high-protein diet is recommended only in special circumstances as for example when someone is recovering from illness, severe burns or other accidents.

Proteins are made up of amino acids. When dietary protein from plant or animal sources is converted to body protein, amino acids provide basic components of cells and tissues, serve as catalysts for biochemical reactions and bolster the immune system.

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