By Ciaran Russell
Calories come from food and drink that is ingested and absorbed in the body. When in a calorie deficit, weight loss will occur and when in a calorie surplus, weight gain will occur. That’s the basic principal of energy balance, also known as calorie balance. When it comes to health and nutrition, there’s more to it than just calories.Food can be separated into two categories; macronutrients and micronutrients.Macronutrients are the big food groups such as carbohydrates, protein and fat, while micronutrients are made up of vitamins and minerals. Fibre can sometimes also be referred to a macronutrient because of its importance in the diet and gut health. Protein is essential for the maintenance and repair of muscle tissue and cells within the body. The recommended daily allowance of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight but this can usually be increased depending on type of activity undertaken or someone’s age. For example people that lift weights regularly are recommended to take 1.6g – 2.2g per kg of bodyweight whereas the aging population are recommended to take 1g – 1.2g per kg of bodyweight. Carbohydrates are sometimes shunned by some people in the bid to lose weight but by cutting out carbs people are reducing a very good energy source that is essential for normal bodily functions. The recommended daily allowance of carbohydrates is 50% of daily calorie intake. Carbohydrates can be classed as simple sugars, such as; fruit juices, syrups, jams and sweets, or complex carbohydrates including; potatoes, rice, pasta, fruit & veg.Carbohydrates are stored in the body in the form of glycogen in the muscles, liver and circulating in the blood. This is the main source of energy within your body and it is unnecessary to restrict carbohydrates when fat loss is a goal. Fibre comes mainly from carbohydrate sources such as, wholegrains, nuts,seeds, beans pulses and vegetables with the skin on. Fibre supports feelings of fullness, contributes to lower risk of cardiovascular disease, supports weight loss and maintenance, reduces risk of bowel cancer and supports healthy digestion. The recommended daily intake of fibre is 30g per day.Finally Fat has had a bad rap for a long time but unnecessarily so because fat is a good source of energy, has fat soluble vitamins and provides essential fatty acids which the body can’t produce itself. It is recommended that fat makes up no more than 35% of daily calories. Fat is made up of trans fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fat.It’s important to note the recommended daily allowances mentioned are usually generalised and can change from person to person due to a number of different factors.