Energy needs

Energy needs

Macronutrients: Protein

  • Proteins are essential for growth, repair and maintenance of the body.
  • They are made up of amino acids. In total, 20 are required by the body, 9 of which are classified as essential – these cannot be made by the body and need to be obtained from diet.
  • Good sources of proteins include meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, soya products, nuts and pulses.

Macronutrients: Fats

  • Fats provide energy and contribute to the taste and texture of food.
  • They are made up of fatty acids and glycerol.
  • Fatty acids can be classified as saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats.
  • Consuming too much saturated and trans fats can raise blood cholesterol, leading to heart disease.

Macronutrients: Carbohydrates

  • These are the body’s main source of energy.
  • Carbohydrates can be simple (sugars) or complex (starch and fibre).
  • Should make up approximately 50% of daily energy intake.
  • Good sources include bread, rice, pasta, cereals, fruits and vegetables.

Micronutrients: Vitamins

  • Vitamins are important for various functions in the body.
  • Fat-soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K. They are stored in the body’s fat and do not need to be consumed daily.
  • Water-soluble vitamins include C and B-group vitamins. They are not stored in the body and must be consumed daily.

Fibre and Water

  • Fibre or dietary fibre aids in digestion and can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers.
  • Water is vital for most body functions including digestion and absorption of nutrients.

Healthy Eating Guidelines

  • A balanced diet consists of the right balance of macronutrients and micronutrients.
  • Include at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables daily.
  • Cut down on sugars and saturated fats.

Nutritional Needs for Different Ages

  • Growth periods such as infancy and adolescence require more proteins.
  • Adolescent girls and women up to menopause need good iron sources.
  • Older adults need more of vitamins B12 and D.

Diet Related Health Problems

  • A diet high in sugars and fats can lead to obesity.
  • Lack of iron can cause anaemia.
  • High intake of sodium leads to high blood pressure.

Energy Needs

  • Your energy needs depend on age, sex, weight and activity level.
  • BMI (Body Mass Index) and BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) can help calculate energy needs.
  • Activity level needs to be considered as well, as more active individuals need more energy.