Most of us know what macronutrients are. In case you did not already know, macronutrients generally come in one of three ways: fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Macronutrients provide energy to our bodies, generally measured in calories. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. Proteins and carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram.
So what are micronutrients? Micronutrients do not provide energy, and they cannot be measured in calories, so tracking them is a bit more complex, and is done for different reasons. Micronutrients are non-caloric nutrients required by our bodies, and include vitamins and minerals. Tracking (or at least being aware of) micronutrients is useful in discussions concerning nutrient density and nutrient profiles of different foods and supplements. When you hear someone talk about eating nutrient-dense foods, they are not talking about macronutrients. They are talking about micronutrients and eating foods that contain lots of vitamins and minerals.
Some micronutrients, such as Vitamin B1, are often associated with carbohydrates, leading some people to believe that carbohydrates are essential. Not true. It is the micronutrient (in this case, Vitamin B1) that is essential, not the carbohydrate that is associated with it.
SOURCES OF VITAMIN B1
We are going to discuss essential vitamins and minerals one by one, in a series of articles. Each micronutrient will be discussed in the context of a ketogenic low-carb way of eating. We will start with Vitamin B1.
Vitamin B1 is also called “thiamine.” It is a vitamin found in food and in dietary supplements. It is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. According to the US National Institutes of Health, adult men should get at least 1.2 mg/day; adult women should get at least 1.1 mg/day; pregnant or breastfeeding women should get at least 1.4 mg/day.
Promoters of the Standard American Diet (SAD) will try to tell you that you must eat carbohydrates, often promoting “heart healthy whole grains” in order to prevent vitamin B1 deficiency. Not true. While is it is true that high-carb sources of vitamin B1 are abundant and easy to find (grains, lentils), there are several other sources of vitamin B1 that are no-carb or low-carb.
- Ground pork, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.75 mg
- Pork chop, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.50 mg
- Sunflower seeds, without shell (1/4 cup): 0.54 mg
- Ham, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.41 mg
- Trout, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.11-0.32 mg
- Salmon, Atlantic, cooked (2.5 oz.): .011-0.26 mg
- Pickerel/walleye, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.23 mg
- Mussels, cooked (2.5 oz.): 0.23 mg
- Nuts (1/4 cup): 0.17-0.24 mg
- Pork bacon, cooked (3 slices): 0.10 mg
Conclusion: there is more Vitamin B1 in 2.5 ounces of ground pork than there is in most grains (the highest amount found in grains was 0.72 mg in 3/4 cup cooked oatmeal). You do not need to eat carbs, drink shakes, or take supplements in order to meet or exceed your body’s daily requirements for Vitamin B1. This can be done by eat real food, and keeping it keto. However, if you do not eat pork , fish, nuts or sunflower seeds on a regular basis, you may need to consider taking a supplement.
Stay tuned for our next article, discussing Vitamin B2, also called Riboflavin.