Table of contents
1 Healthy and balanced
2 The calorific value: from kilocalories and kilojoules
The basal metabolic rate The power metabolic rate The total metabolic rate
3 Macronutrients
Protein Fats Carbohydrates Dietary fiber
4 Micronutrients
Vitamins minerals
5 Water
6 The general principles of a healthy diet

Healthy and balanced

Healthy eating is in vogue and that's a good thing. After all, our balanced diet plays a major role in our well-being and who wants to feel bad. There are therefore countless sources on the Internet, all of which claim to be the only way. However, there is no one true way.

This nutrition guide is intended to help clarify the most important terms so that you can get an overview for yourself. Have you ever asked yourself: "What are calories anyway?" "Is fat in food the same as fat in the body?" and "Which nutrients do I really need?"

Then read on if you want to learn the basics of healthy eating.

The calorific value: from kilocalories and kilojoules

Even though we are constantly told how important vitamins, proteins and minerals are, the primary purpose of food intake is to provide energy. Because without energy from food, you feel listless and everything is difficult.

In common parlance, the energy contained in food is expressed in calories. In reality, however, these are kilocalories, which is why the nutritional value tables for foods also show kcal.

1 calorie is the energy required to heat 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius. One kilocalorie is therefore 1 kilogram of water. However, this unit is imprecise due to different definitions.

For a more precise definition, the energy content of a food is given in joules or kilojoules. This is the international unit of energy. One joule corresponds to 0.239 cal and one calorie corresponds to 4.184 J. 

In many nutritional tables, in addition to the energy content per 100 g, there is also a percentage figure. This refers to a daily energy requirement of 2000 kcal 1.

However, each person's daily energy requirement is different. It depends, among other things, on height, age, activity and gender. Below is an explanation of how it is normally calculated.

The basal metabolic rate

The basal metabolic rate is the energy required by the body to carry out the most important bodily functions. These include, for example, breathing, regulating body temperature and digestion. Even if you were to lie in bed all day, you would need energy for these processes.

It is often referred to in the literature as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). The basal metabolic rate is approximately 4 kJ (1 kcal) per hour and kilogram of body weight.2

The power metabolic rate

This includes all the energy consumed through daily activities. For example, work or sporting activities. The more active you are, the more energy your body needs.

In English it is called Active Metabolic Rate, abbreviated to AMR. The PAL (Physical Activity Level) value, which reflects the physical activity level, is required to calculate the power metabolic rate. You can read more about PAL here.

The total metabolic rate

The total turnover can then be calculated by adding the basic and performance turnover together. However, the exact calculation of the basal metabolic rate and energy expenditure is somewhat more complicated, which is why the use of a online calorie calculator is recommended.

The total metabolic rate can be used to determine how much food is needed each day. In order to maintain your weight, you need to cover your calorie requirements. If you want to lose weight, you should consume fewer calories than you need, and vice versa if you want to gain weight.

As a rule of thumb, 1 kg of body fat corresponds to approximately 9000 kcal3. If the goal is a weight loss of 10 kg, then this is theoretically achieved after six months with a reduced energy intake of 500 kcal per day.

Macronutrients

Macronutrients are nutrients that must be supplied to the body in large quantities as energy sources. These include fats, proteins, carbohydrates and fiber.

Protein

There is probably no other nutrient that is the subject of so many myths as proteins, also known colloquially as egg whites. Especially when it comes to the daily requirement, there are many different statements. So what is true?

The fact is, proteins are very important for the body. They serve as the basic building blocks of our cells and act as enzymes. They are also needed for the immune system's defense against infections and transport water-insoluble nutrients in the blood.4

The energy content is 4 kcal per gram of protein. The building blocks that make up proteins are called amino acids, of which a total of 20 are required by the body to build protein. However, only nine are essential for the body as it cannot produce them itself.

A distinction is often made between complete and incomplete protein sources. This means that incomplete protein sources do not provide the 9 essential amino acids.

However, a closer look at the protein content of various foods reveals that almost all foods always have a complete amino acid profile with all 9 essential amino acids.6,7

Proteins play a key role in muscle building. This is precisely the sticking point that repeatedly leads to different statements about protein requirements

How much protein do I need?

The German Nutrition Society recommends a daily requirement of 0.8 g protein/kg body weight for a normal adult.8 This corresponds to approx. 60 g for a body weight of 75 kg.

Amateur athletes who want to build muscle have a higher protein requirement. Here the recommendations of international organizations are 1.1 g - 1.4 g / kg body weight9. That would be between 90 and 105 g of protein at 75 kg body weight.

For athletes and professional sportspeople, the figures are even higher, but there is no clear scientific consensus. Recommendations range from 1.6 g / kg body weight to 2.2 g.10, 11 At 75 kg body weight, this would be 120 - 165 g of protein. 

You can be sure that our Saturo drinks provide you with enough protein for one meal.

Fats

Fats are necessary for the body because they are part of cell membranes and provide the body with energy. The body also needs the fatty acids they contain. Fat is also important for supplying the body with the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.

Fat is the macronutrient with the highest energy content of 9 kcal per gram. This is why excessive fat consumption quickly leads to weight gain.

The fatty acids in fat are divided into saturated, unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The degree of saturation indicates how many double bonds are present between the carbon atoms of the molecule. If there are no double bonds, it is referred to as a saturated fatty acid.

Only polyunsaturated fatty acids are essential for us. These include omega-6 and omega-3, which support the body in inflammatory processes and in building cell membranes, for example. As the body cannot produce them itself, they must be obtained from food.

As these two fatty acids act as antagonists in many respects, you should ensure an adequate ratio of the two in your diet. Recommendations range from 1:3 to 1:6 (omega 3:omega 6).12

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are considered the most important sources of energy in the body. They have an energy content of 4 kcal per gram and are therefore on a par with proteins. However, 50% or more of the energy content of our diet should come from carbohydrates.13, 14

In principle, carbohydrates are always a series of sugar molecules and are therefore also called saccharides. A distinction is generally made between mono-, di- and polysaccharides. In order for the body to be able to use carbohydrates, they must first be broken down into simple sugars in the intestine.

Simple sugars (monosaccharides)

The best-known representatives here are glucose (dextrose) and fructose (fruit sugar). They are quickly absorbed by the body and are available as energy in a very short time, but also raise blood sugar levels quickly. They have a sweet taste.

Dual sugars (disaccharides)

These include maltose (malt sugar) and lactose (milk sugar). They also taste sweet. However, the body needs a little longer until they are available as energy. As a result, the increase in blood sugar is somewhat slower.

Multiple sugars (polysaccharides)

The most important polysaccharide is starch. It is rather tasteless in itself and due to the longer chain length, the body needs longer to break it down. For this reason, polysaccharides cause blood sugar levels to rise slowly.

Dietary fiber

Dietary fibers are indigestible food components that play an important role in digestion. They are assigned an energy content of 2 kcal per gram.

They are divided into water-soluble and water-insoluble dietary fibers. Water-insoluble fiber absorbs little water, but is not broken down by the bacteria in the intestine, which greatly increases the volume of stool.

Water-soluble fiber, on the other hand, binds a lot of water and is broken down by the bacteria in the large intestine. This makes the stool softer, but still increases in volume.

Some water-soluble fibers also act as prebiotics. This means that they serve as food for the intestinal bacteria and thus stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine.

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are essential for the body, but they are needed in smaller quantities than macronutrients and do not provide the body with energy. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. 

Vitamins

The body needs vitamins from food as it cannot produce them itself. The only exception is vitamin D, which can be synthesized through the skin. They play a major role in many bodily functions, such as the immune system or energy production. 

Vitamins are often very susceptible to certain preparation methods. For example, too high temperatures can destroy the vitamin C in food. They are divided into water-soluble and fat-soluble vitamins.

Water-soluble vitamins

  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B2
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • biotin
  • Folic acid
  • vitamin C

They can always be easily absorbed by the body and any excess is simply excreted via the kidneys. 

Fat-soluble vitamins

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K

Their absorption in the intestine is improved when they are ingested with fatty foods. An excess of them is not simply excreted by the body. They are much more likely to accumulate, which is why caution is advised when supplementing with these vitamins.

Minerals

Just like vitamins, the body cannot produce minerals itself. However, unlike vitamins, minerals are less susceptible to being destroyed by preparation. Minerals are needed, for example, for bone formation or blood formation.

They are divided into bulk and trace elements. This depends on how high the daily requirement of the respective nutrient is.

Bulk elements

  • Calcium
  • magnesium
  • chlorine
  • potassium
  • phosphorus
  • Sodium
  • Sulphur

They are required by the body in relatively high quantities, in the three- to four-digit milligram range. The daily requirement for calcium is 900 - 1000 mg15and 300 - 400 mg for magnesium.16

Trace elements

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • iodine
  • manganese
  • selenium
  • chromium
  • Copper
  • Molybdenum
  • Cobalt
  • silicon

The daily requirement for trace elements can be covered by a dose in the two-digit milligram or even microgram range. The daily recommendation for iron is 10 - 15 mg17and for iodine only 180 - 200 µg.18

You are now well informed about the importance of micronutrients for a balanced diet. But we all know how challenging it can be to get all the essential vitamins and minerals every day. With Saturo Drinks ensure you have a complete and convenient nutrient supply - perfect for your balanced nutritional routine. Don't underestimate the effects of a deficient supply and take control of your nutritional intake!

Water

Water is essential for life, and life without it is unimaginable. It is said that humans can go three weeks without food, but only three days without water. And yet many nutrition guides only ever talk about food.

Yet water is the most important "nutrient". Although it is not a nutrient in the true sense of the word, it is essential for almost all bodily functions. Some of the functions for which the body needs water are

  • Maintaining body temperature
  • Burning body fat
  • Digestive aids
  • Lubricates joints and embeds organs
  • Nutrient transport
  • Toxin excretion

The daily water requirement of an adult is around 1.5 liters19. This should be consumed throughout the day to protect the body from dehydration. All those who feel little thirst should pay particular attention to keeping to this.

Under certain circumstances, however, the body has an increased need for water. For example, in extreme heat, extreme cold or illnesses such as fever, vomiting or diarrhea. Strenuous work or sport can also increase the need for fluids. 

An additional 0.5 - 1 liter of water per hour may then be necessary. In healthy people, too much water is excreted via the kidneys and does not cause any damage.

Not a water drinker? Unsweetened fruit and herbal teas, flavored water or diluted juice spritzers (1:3) are also suitable to compensate for the body's water loss.

The general principles of a healthy diet

  • Your body can only get all the vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) it needs from a varied diet.
  • The daily requirement of protein for a normal adult is 0.8 g protein/kg body weight and for amateur athletes between 90 and 105 g at 75 kg.
  • There is no one right way to eat. But there is the right one for you.
  • Drink at least 1.5 liters of water or unsweetened drinks every day to keep your body hydrated

FAQ - Frequently asked questions about the basics of nutrition

How much salt does the body need?

In chemical terms, table salt is sodium chloride, but the body needs sodium and chlorine. The guideline value for daily intake is 1500 mg for sodium and 2300 mg for chloride. As table salt is usually 40 % sodium and 60 % chloride, the guideline values correspond to just under 4 g of table salt or just under a level teaspoon.

However, fruit and vegetables also contain sodium, which is why an additional intake is not usually necessary.

Is fat in food the same as fat in the body?

No, the processes are not that simple. Excess fat in the body is due to an excessively high energy content in food. However, fat is the nutrient with the highest energy content per gram. This means that even small amounts of fatty foods contain a lot of calories and the daily energy requirement can easily be exceeded.

What are phytochemicals?

Secondary plant substances are substances that occur in plants and are not essential for the body. However, they have an influence on a variety of metabolic processes, for example through an anti-inflammatory effect. Some well-known secondary plant substances are chlorophyll (green leafy vegetables), phytoestrogens (soy) and carotenoids (carrots, tomatoes).

What role do enzymes play in our body?

Enzymes are proteins that are involved in metabolic processes. They act as catalysts and thereby reduce the activation energy required for a chemical process. You can always recognize the name of an enzyme by the suffix -ase.

What are probiotics?

The text has already mentioned prebiotics, which are nutrients for the bacteria in the gut. Probiotics, on the other hand, are the helpful bacteria themselves. Yoghurt cultures are probiotic, as are the bacteria in raw sauerkraut. The name is derived from pro (for) and bio (life).

Collapsible content

Sources

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