Carbohydrates: The most common source of energy in human metabolism. Simple carbohydrates include all the members of the sugar family – glucose, fructose, lactose and sucrose. More complex forms are typically found in fruits, vegetables, grains and milk. Choosing plenty of these foods, within the context of a calorie-controlled diet, can promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Proteins: Complex organic 'macromolecules' that perform a variety of essential roles. Some act as metabolic catalysts, accelerating the rate at which foods are absorbed. Others reinforce cell walls or help fortify our immune systems.
Fat: Fats perform various vital roles such as maintenance of body temperature, healthy skin, hair and body cell function. They also provide energy.
Omega 3: A polyunsaturated fat also termed an 'essential' fatty acid, because it is necessary for normal growth in young children and important in adults as a stimulant to blood circulation. It is also a natural defense against blood-clot formation. There is recent evidence suggesting that Omega 3 can also help prevent memory loss. Omega 3 is found in cold water oily fish like salmon or sardines as well as flaxseed, kiwifruit and walnuts.
Saturated fat: Occurs naturally in a variety of forms in foods such as beef, salmon, butter, lard, coconut oil, cheese, cashews and dark chocolate. Diets high in saturated fats have been linked to an elevated risk of heart disease.
Trans fat: A type of fat found in trace amounts in certain animal foods such as beef and mutton. They can also be created by adding hydrogen to plant oils, turning what were liquids at room temperature into semi-solids, like shortening. Trans fats are not an essential part of the human diet and their consumption is clearly linked to heart disease.