Nutrient: Protein

Description:

  • Protein is mainly used for growth and body repair.
  • When there is an insufficient intake of energy, protein would be broken down and used as body fuel, which may lead to protein-energy malnutrition.
  • One gram of protein provides 4 kcal.

Reference Values*:

  • Contributes 10%-15% of daily energy intake.2

Note:

  • Protein intake of 0.83 g/kg body weight per day would be expected to meet the requirements of most (97.5%) of the healthy adult population.3

Food Sources:

  • Meat
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Legumes

Nutrient: Carbohydrate

Description:

  • Carbohydrate is the major energy source in an average diet, which is also the preferred fuel.
  • One gram of carbohydrate provides 4 kcal.
  • When adequate carbohydrate is provided in the diet, protein would be spared for growth and repair.
  • Carbohydrate can be divided into three main types: monosaccharides, disaccharides and complex carbohydrate (starches and dietary fibres).

Reference Values*:

  • Contributes 55%-75% of daily energy intake.4,2

Note:

  • A lower limit of around 50% total energy was accepted in the 2007 FAO/WHO Scientific Update.4

Food Sources:

Monosaccharides and disaccharides:

  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses

Complex carbohydrate:

  • Cereal, grains and their products (e.g. rice)
  • Starchy vegetables (e.g. potato

Nutrient: Total fat

Description:

  • Fat is technically known as triglycerides, which is a class of lipids
  • Fat is a concentrated energy source, which provides 9 kcal for each gram of fat.
  • Fat carries fat-soluble vitamins, i.e. vitamin A, D, E and K.
  • Fat prevents heat loss in extreme temperatures and protects organs against shock.
  • Fat can be divided intos aturated fat5 and unsaturated fat depending on their chemical structures.
  • Unsaturated fat can be further divided to mono- and poly-unsaturated fats.
  • Excess fat intake has been linked to major health problems, including an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and certain types of cancers.

Reference Values*:

  • Contributes 20%-35% of daily energy intake for adults.5

Note:

  • A range of 15%-30% of total energy has also been recommended for preventing non-communicable diseaseses.2

Food Sources:

Monosaccharides and disaccharides:

  • Sugar
  • Syrup
  • Honey
  • Molasses

Complex carbohydrate:

  • Cereal, grains and their products (e.g. rice)
  • Starchy vegetables (e.g. potato)

Nutrient: Sugars

Description:

Sugars are simple carbohydrates, technically referring to monosaccharides and disaccharides.

Sugars are sources of energy.

Reference Values*:

  • Contributes not more than 10% of daily energy intake derived from free sugars.4,2

Note:

  • Free sugars means all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups and fruit juices.2,4

Food Sources:

  • Honey
  • Syrups
  • Molasses

Remarks

 *   The values listed are for reference only. For individual nutrient requirements or with special needs, please consult dietitians or relevant health professionals.

 1   United Nations University, World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Human energy requirements: Report of a Joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation. Rome: UNU/WHO/FAO; 2004.

 2   World Health Organization. Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases: Report of a Joint WHO/FAO Expert Consultation. Geneva: WHO; 2003.

 3   World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, United Nations University. Protein and amino acid requirements in human nutrition: Report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation. Geneva: WHO; 2007.

 4   Mann J et al. FAO/WHO Scientific update on carbohydrates in human nutrition: Conclusions. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 61(Suppl 1), S132–S137; 2007.

 5     Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition: Report of an expert consultation. Rome: FAO; 2010. 5     Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Fats and fatty acids in human nutrition: Report of an expert consultation. Rome: FAO; 2010.

(To be continued…)

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