There are 3 primary macronutrients – protein, fat, and carbohydrates. But only 2 of these are essential to sustaining human life. Can you guess which 2?
If you guessed protein and fat, you are correct. Carbohydrates are not necessary to sustain life. Carbohydrates do provide glucose and energy that the body uses, but the body can also derive its energy from fats and protein.
Essential Fatty Acids
Not all fats are created equally. While many different types of fat have their benefits, only the essential fatty acids (EFAs) are required. This is because the body cannot synthesize them. Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids need to be ingested through your diet, and odds are, the majority of the worlds population get nowhere near the amounts they need to be considered optimal.
Essential Amino Acids
Protein is the other essential macronutrient. Protein is made up of amino acids – the building blocks of life. They are essential to many of the body’s important functions. One of these functions is to provide energy for the brain. Your body cannot manufacture all the different amino acids, therefore, it needs to obtain its essential amino acids from your diet.
In the absence of carbohydrates, the brain needs to find glucose to operate. There’s a reason why people get foggy headed when they haven’t eaten in a while or while they are on a low carb diet. The brain needs glucose to perform its functions. But where does it get glucose if no carbohydrates are ingested? It gets it from protein through a process called gluconeogenesis.
So what happens when you don’t get carbohydrates or protein you ask? The body still needs glucose. Well there is another source of protein the body can use. In the absence of carbs and protein, the body turns to itself for fuel. Protein is the most plentiful substance in our bodies. Muscles are made of protein. Organs, skin, eyes and hair – they are all made up of protein. The body starts breaking down these tissues to fuel itself. It slowly eats away until it reaches the point it can no longer sustain itself.
The moral of the story? The first step to a healthy diet is to first give your body what it needs to survive. Essential fatty acids and protein (specifically the essential amino acids) should be staples in your diet if you want to reach your goals. So eat some healthy meat and grab a handful of nuts. Your body will thank you.MUST READ: The Definitive Guide for How to Lose Weight
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