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Foods as fuel

Carbohydrates

Function: Carbs are a main energy source for the body. The carbohydrates group is composed of sugars, starches and fibres. Sugars and starches are particularly good as energy fuels and fibres aid bowel function.

Carbohydrates come in 3 sources:

Complex: cereals, bread, potatoes, oats, pulses, noodles and maize.

Natural/Simple: fruit and vegetables.

Refined simple carbs: biscuits, cakes, pastries, chocolate, honey, jams, white and brown cane sugar, pizza, soft drinks, sweets and snack bars to name but a few!

Ideally, we should be looking to source our daily intakes from complex and natural carbohydrates. Consuming a vast and constant amount of refined, simple carbohydrates leads to weight gain and health issues and deficiency.

Common effects of deficiency: Carbohydrates are our body's main energy source. A deficiency has a very detrimental effect on the body. It can leave us feeling very tired and lethargic, sluggish and bloated. Carbs can also have an effect on how the macronutrients are used in the body. Government guidelines suggest 5-8 potions a day.

Protein

Function: Protein is the secondary energy source used in the body after carbohydrates. It aids growth and repair, builds us up and replaces the tissues in the body. The muscles, organs and hormones are mostly made up of protein. Essential for health and repair, protein makes antibodies and hemoglobin (responsible for delivering oxygen to the blood cells).

Good sources of protein: meat, fish, pulses, eggs and beans.

Common effect of deficiency: a deficiency in protein can lead to a deficiency in Iron and B vitamins, leading to a weakened immune system and weakness in the body as a whole. Protein deficiency can also lead to long term effects on the nervous system. Government guidelines suggest 2-3 portions daily.