Nutrition, part 1: Introduction, Overview of Nutrients
by Cathy Parkes July 16, 2021 Updated: December 29, 2021 6 min read
Welcome to the Nutrition Essentials for Nursing video and article series. This series follows along with our Nutrition Essentials for Nursing Flashcards which are intended to help RN and PN nursing students study for nursing school exams, including the ATI, HESI, and NCLEX.
Nutrition plays a key role in patient wellness, and patient teaching regarding nutrition is a key part of EVERY nurse’s job. These flashcards will help you understand the basics of nutrition, along with key nutritional and lifestyle considerations for common health disorders.
When you see this Cool Chicken, that indicates one of Cathy's silly mnemonics to help you remember. The Cool Chicken hints in these articles are just a taste of what's available across our Level Up RN Flashcards for nursing students!
Nutrition topics in this playlist
These are the topics (so far!) that we will cover in the Nutrition Essentials for Nursing playlist. These are also topics you should study for your exams!
- Introduction, Overview of Nutrients (this video)
- Macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Lipids, Protein
- Water Soluble Vitamins: B-complex vitamins, vitamin C
- Fat Soluble Vitamins: Vitamins A, D, E, K
- ...to be continued!
All nutrients in our diet can be divided into macronutrients and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are made up of carbohydrates, lipids and proteins.
Carbohydrates should make up between 45 - 65% of calories per day. Each gram of carbohydrates contains 4 kilocalories of energy.
Lipids (fats) should make up between 20 - 35% of calories per day. Each gram of fat contains 9 kilocalories of energy.
Protein should make up between 10 - 35% of calories per day. Each gram of protein contains 4 kilocalories of energy.
What are kilocalories?
When talking about diet and nutrition, kilocalories and calories are used interchangeably. Technically there are "small calories" (calories) and "large calories" (kilocalories), and a small calorie is 1/1000th of a large calorie. But hardly anyone besides chemistry researchers measure in small calories, so therefore the calories that we all talk about and see on nutrition labels, are kilocalories, and we just call them calories!
Micronutrients can be broken down into vitamins and minerals.
Vitamins can be broken down into water-soluble vitamins and fat-soluble vitamins
Water-soluble vitamins include B-complex vitamins (vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12) and vitamin C. Water-soluble vitamins require regular replacement in the body.
Fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the liver and fatty tissue for a long time, which can cause an increased risk of toxicity when consumed in excess.
To remember the fat-soluble vitamins, think of A fat DEcK of cards.
Minerals in our diet can be grouped into major minerals, which are electrolytes, and trace minerals.
Major minerals are our electrolytes, which help our body be able to perform major functions, like our heart beating. Major minerals include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
Trace minerals are important too, but we require them in smaller amounts. Trace minerals include copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, selenium and zinc.
Hi, I'm Cathy with Level Up RN, and this is the first video in our Nutrition Essentials video playlist. So in this playlist I'll be going over the key facts and concepts you need to know to be successful on your nursing exams and on the NCLEX.
And as I go through this video playlist, I will be following along with our Nutrition Essentials for Nursing flashcards. You don't need to have our flashcards to get value out of this video series. However, there's a lot of information that you'll need to learn, and the most effective way to have that information sink in is through repetition. And that is where flashcards really shine. So whether you make your own or purchase ours, be sure to review the information multiple times because that repetition will really help it to sink in.
So this video playlist can be used by both PN and students as well as RN students. So there's a lot of overlap between these two programs. And the thing to remember, if you are a practical nurse student, is your scope of practice. That's really the key difference.
So one thing I'm going to do differently in this video playlist is at the end of each video, I'm just going to throw out a couple of kind of quiz questions to check your knowledge, make sure you've been listening.
So be sure to watch my videos till the end so that you can see if you can answer those questions effectively.
So they're not going to be nursing-style questions like select all that apply or complicated case studies. They're going to be just kind of quick little knowledge checks.
So I hope you like it and let me know in the comments if that is a good idea and if you're getting value out of that.
Okay. So let's kick things off with an overview of our nutrients.
Nutrients can be classified as macronutrients and micronutrients. Within our macronutrients, we have carbohydrates, lipids, and protein. And within our micronutrients, we have vitamins and minerals.
So let's first do a quick overview of our macronutrients. So carbohydrates should make up between 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories, and each gram provides 4 kilocalories of energy.
With lipids, lipids should make up between 20 to 35 percent of our daily calories, and each gram provides 9 kilocalories of energy.
And then with protein, protein should make up between 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories, and each gram of protein provides 4 kilocalories of energy.
Alright. Moving on to our micronutrients. Like I said before, we have vitamins and minerals. So let's talk about vitamins first.
Vitamins are further divided into water soluble vitamins as well as fat soluble vitamins.
So our water soluble vitamins include B-complex vitamins and vitamin C.
Our fat soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. So the way I remember my fat soluble vitamins is I think of a fat deck of cards. So kind of like one of our decks. So if you think of a fat deck of cards, the fat part of that will help you remember that these are fat soluble.
And then when you think of adek, A-D-E-K, that will help you remember which vitamins are fat soluble.
An important thing to remember when it comes to water versus fat soluble vitamins is that water soluble vitamins require regular replenishment in the body.
So the chance of having toxicity related to a water soluble vitamin is very low.
However, with fat soluble vitamins, these vitamins are stored in the body for a long period of time. They're stored in the liver and in the fatty tissue. So if you take in too much of a fat soluble vitamin, you can absolutely have toxicity.
Okay. So those are vitamins. Let's do a quick overview of our minerals. So within minerals, we have major minerals as well as trace minerals.
So our major minerals are also going to be our electrolytes. And electrolytes are so important to know in nursing school. So you're going to learn about them here in this video series. You're also going to learn about them in Fundamentals as well as Medical-Surgical nursing. So learning your electrolytes is definitely going to be very important.
So these major minerals or electrolytes include calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium.
Then we have our trace minerals. And trace minerals can include copper, fluoride. Iodine, iron, selenium, and zinc.
And we're going to go into a little more detail about some of those trace minerals in an upcoming video.
Alright, you guys ready for your knowledge check? See if you've been listening closely? First question, how many kilocalories of energy is provided by on 1 gram of a carbohydrate, a lipid, and a protein? So looking for three different numbers there. I'll give you a second.
Alright, answer is 4, 9, and 4. So each gram of carbohydrate provides 4 kilocalories, lipids it's 9 kilocalories, and with protein it's 4 kilocalories.
Alright, next question. This should be an easy one. Which vitamins are fat soluble? If you answered vitamins, A, D, E, and K, you're right.
So thank you so much for listening. We're going to get into more details about our macronutrients in the next video. Take care!
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