Fat, Carbohydrates and Protein Explained



Cardiff personal trainer, explains the difference between different micronutrients and the effect they have on the body. As a personal trainer in Cardiff (a big city), it never surprises me to see how many clients are confused with food.

Many people regard fat as being bad for you. Fat is a vital energy nutrient that you body needs. In terms or weight management you must be very intelligent in the type of fat that you consume. There are three types of fat.

1) Saturated Fat (Bad Fat) – found in crisps, chocolate, cakes, meat fat, egg yolk, dairy products, palm oil, coconut oil. High amounts in takeaways such as Kebab, Chinese, Indian and Burger outlets.

Examples of saturated fat

Unsaturated Fat (Good Fat)

2) Monounsaturated Fat – found in Almond oil, Olive Oil, Rapeseed Oil, Avocado, seeds and Nuts

3) Polyunsaturated Fat – found in Vegetable oils, Fish oils, Sardines, Mackerel

Examples of Unsaturated Fats

Reducing saturated fat intake and getting healthy fat that the body can comfortably break down such as Mackerel, Sardines and Olive Oil is the key to success. So that means, cutting out take-aways and fast food which are horrifyingly high in saturated fat and calories (see below for examples) and reducing the intake of high fatty snacks such as crisps, chocolate and cakes.


Carbohydrates are required by the body because they are the nutrient which can be most efficiently broken down to produce energy. It is the bodies preferred energy source. We consume a variety of carbohydrates within our diet which can be classified into different categories due to their chemical structure. There are three types of carbohydrate.

1) Glucose (Simple Sugar) – A single molecule of carbohydrate so quickly absorbed into the blood stream

2) Sucrose (Simple Sugar) – Two molecules of carbohydrate bound together, slightly delayed absorption into the blood stream.

Examples of simple carbohydrates

3) Polysaccharides (Complex Carbohydrate) – Many molecules of carbohydrate bound together, slowly absorbed into the blood stream

Examples of Complex Carbohydrates

Around 50 – 60% of total energy intake should come from carbohydrate sources, the majority of these should be complex carbohydrates. This is because they will leave you feeling fuller for long periods. Porridge is the perfect breakfast due to its slow release of energy throughout the day.

Simple carbohydrates have their place and are ideal for quick bursts of energy. They are often used at half time by sports teams to replenish glycogen stores.


Correct and adequate protein intake is crucial for anyone involved in vigorous Training. Protein is essential for the growth and repair of skin, hair, nails, bones, tendons, ligaments and muscles. It also serves a crucial role in enzyme production and maintaining a strict acid-base balance. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for the average male and female adult is just 0.83 grams per kilogram (2.2lbs) of bodyweight. In a 70kg (154lb) individual this equates to just 58 grams of protein per day or about two chicken breasts worth.

Some research shows that competitive athletes, particularly those involved in heavy weight training, may require more protein. The recommendation for strength and endurance athletes ranges from 1.2 to a maximum of 2.0 grams per kilogram.

Research has shown that consuming more protein than this serves no benefit and may be harmful in the long term. Good sources of protein include low fat milk, poultry, fish, lean red meat, eggs, nuts, beans and lentils and soy products. Fatty meats like pork and fast food hamburgers as well as most cheeses contain a lot of saturated fats so are not as suitable sources of protein. Recently, the emergence of high protein, low carbohydrate diets have become popular in the weight loss industry.



Source by Sam O’Sullivan