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Macronutrients in Health and Disease

Carbohydrate, protein, and fat are essential for health maintenance, growth, reproduction, immunity, and healing. Deficits or excesses of any of these nutrients may compromise these processes, resulting in a variety of poor health outcomes that vary, depending on the life stage of the affected individual.

In decades past, research on nutrition and disease frequently focused on the problems caused by diets that provided inadequate intakes of protein, calories, or micronutrients. Concerns that such deficient diets could lead to poor growth and development, or might result in weight loss in the hospitalized elderly, were appropriate. Currently however, an excess of macronutrients is a far greater threat to health and well being in developed countries and in many developing nations as well. Obesity has become a major driving force behind common chronic diseases.

This chapter focuses on the basics of macronutrients: their roles, sources, and requirements.

 

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Macronutrients in Health and Disease: Fats >>