Food (noun): “Substance taken into body to maintain life and growth; nutriment” (Ref 1).

In a world where food has become huge business ... an emotional crutch ... one of the greatest pleasures in life ... something to be feared ... an addiction ... and many more things, we seem to have forgotten why we eat. We eat because we need food. We don't need just any food – we need food that provides the nutrients that we need to survive and thrive. Food contains macronutrients and micronutrients and those are the basics that we need to obtain from food. Part 1, of this three-part series “covering the basics”, looks at macronutrients.


Water is the first thing that food is. Meat is approximately 70% water and fruits and vegetables are over 90% water. Real food is mostly water. Fake food is mostly flour, sugar and plant oils. We’re not going to talk about fake food anymore.

There are three “macronutrients” – carbohydrate, fat and protein. The Greek word macro means large, and these are nutrients that we (allegedly) need in large quantities. Whether we need carbohydrate at all, let alone in large quantities, is a matter of debate, which I will address shortly. I will argue that our need for carbohydrate is not large, if there is a need at all, and that the critical macronutrients for the human body are protein and fat. However, the micronutrients provided by carbohydrate can be valuable and certainly enjoyable.

The first thing to know about macronutrients is that most foods have more than one. There are two interesting exceptions. Oils (sunflower oil, coconut oil, olive oil etc) are 100% fat. They have no protein or carbohydrate. Sucrose – what we know as ‘table’ sugar – is 100% carbohydrate. It has no fat or protein. Every other food contains protein. Lettuce, bread, apples, steak, milk – all of these and every food other than sucrose and oils, contains protein.

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