This blog post was written by Jessi Thome a student majoring in dietetics at the University of Minnesota. Since I am known as the “Energy Igniter” I asked her to write about the science of energy.
The idea of eating energy seems a little off. Energy! Don’t you get that from sunlight? There are a lot of questions of exactly what energy is and how you can consume it. So let’s get a better understanding of the science of energy.
Since I am a student at U, we go into a lot of detail. So instead of me just telling you energy is good, now I am explaining why.
- Nutrition is a science that studies the interactions between living organisms & food.
- Food provides nutrients and energy.
- Nutrients are chemical substances in foods that provide energy & structure and help regulate body processes.
People are drawn to processed and convenient foods that are easily obtainable but do not necessarily provide nutrients. Instead, these foods contain high levels of calories, sodium and fat. These foods can lead you to feeling fatigued and bloated. We need to start eating more whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seafood, and dairy products for the long lasting energy that we crave so much on a day to day basis.
Energy-yielding nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins and fats these foods fall under the category called macronutrients. Macronutrients are needed in the body in large amounts each day to provide us with enough energy.
Carbohydrates include sugars and starches, they provide 4 calories per gram. (Side note: fiber also is a carb however it does not provide energy). Lipids are commonly called “fats” or “oils” they are a concentrated form of energy. They contain 9 calories /gram, and although lipids contain energy they still can be high in saturated fatty acids so be careful to not overconsume certain lipids. Proteins are required for growth, maintenance and repair of the body, they also supply energy. Foods such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy products, legumes and grains can provide protein. Proteins provide 4 calories per gram.
We talk a lot about energy and the importance of it; however make sure to do so in moderation. Energy is used to maintain body functions and fuel physical work. Happy Science! Choose your energy wisely!