Nutrition Lesson #2

What is Nutrition?

It is the science that links foods to health and disease. It includes the ingestion, digestion, absorption, transportation and excretion of that food.

First there is food, and then there are nutrients. Food provides energy through calories. Nutrients are the substances obtained from the food we eat that are vital for growth and maintenance of a healthy body. There are 6 sources of these nutrients. They are carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water.

I am going to go over each of these on a different day here, and I will always link to the back posts so those of you that are new can catch up.

Last week we talked about Carbohydrates. You can read that post here.

Today we are going to go over Lipids, so let’s jump on good things to know about them:

  • They have 9 calories per gram
  • They are classified into two groups: saturated, which are called fats, and unsaturated, which are called oils.
  • Some fats are good and essential for a healthy body (these are called EFAs or Essential Fatty Acids)
  • Lipids are essential for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K)


Just like carbs, are made up of carbon and hydrogen. The ratios are a little different and oxygen doesn’t get to come to this party!! 😉 All lipids are made up of fatty acids. They are the building blocks. Let’s take a closer look and try to understand some of the simpler fats:

Saturated Fats

Why is it called saturated? The molecular bonds that make up its structure are saturated with hydrogen. Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease. Saturated fats remain solid at room temperature. However, some saturated fats can be tricky! Take steak, for example. The ring of saturated fat around the outside of the steak remains solid and hard at room temperature. The fat on a chicken breast is also considered saturated fat, but at room temperature, it is only semi solid. But look at whole milk- the saturated fat is suspended in the liquid so you can’t even see it!

Sources: Animals products including whole milk, cream, ice cream, whole milk cheese, butter, lard, meat and organic meats.

Unsaturated Fats

As you can probably guess, it is called unsaturated because the molecular bonds are less saturated with hydrogen. Unsaturated fats remain liquid at room temperature. Two classifications of unsaturated fats are mono unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Mono just means there is one double bond in the chain of molecules and poly means that there are two or more double bonds in the chain. Both of these classifications mean that there is even less hydrogen saturation, and so that particular fat is better for you.

Sources: Canola oil, olive oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and some nuts.

Omega 3 and 6

Omegas are EFA’s are essential for the body as they form vital parts of the body’s structure, perform important roles in immunity, are essential for vision and help form cell membranes. Since we are made up of cells, each cell HAS to have a membrane. It’s a good idea to make sure you are getting them! They also help produce hormones like compounds. Our bodies cannot make them so we have to make sure that we include them in our diets. Omegas also decrease blood clotting and inflammatory processes in the body. So they lower the risk of a heart attack. It is recommended that you eat 4 oz. of fish twice a week or 2-4 tablespoons of plant oil per day to get the omegas your body needs.

Sources:fatty fish like salmon, halibut, tuna, sardines, anchovies and mackerel, flax seeds and flax seed oil, walnuts and walnut oil.

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