Macronutrients, or Macros, are the nutritional components that make up the foods we eat.
Macros contain the essential nutrients that our body needs to survive, along with providing us with energy to function normally throughout the day.
There are 3 different types of Macros. Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats. Everything we eat falls into one or more of these categories.
Each different type of Macro accounts for a portion of the calorie content in food that we eat. Carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram, protein is 4 calories per gram, and fats are 9 calories per gram.
Many of the popular low carb diets tend to be higher in fats, and as you can see in the numbers above, fats have more than twice the calories of carbs per gram.
While there are differing opinions on the optimal macro balance, the numbers required for a body to function properly depend on a few different factors.
Age, height, weight, activity level,m and, most importantly, your goals are required whenever calculating your Macros.
Macronutrients play an important role in nutrition, and despite a lot of the diets advertised today, all 3 nutrients are required to keep your body healthy.
Protein is arguably the most important Macro out of the 3 types.
It not only helps build and repair muscles. But it also is the most abundant molecule in the entire body aside from water.
Protein molecules are the major structural components that make up all cells in the body. It takes 20 different amino acids to make 1 protein molecule. Nine of those 20 amino acids are not produced in the body, and, therefore, must be obtained by the food we eat.
The amount of protein required varies from person to person depending on age, sex, and physical activity. Those who are very physically active may need more.
Protein can come from many different sources like chicken, beef, or fish. If eating meat is not an option, protein can also be found in beans, cheese, some vegetables, and eggs. Supplements are another great way to implement more protein in your diet.
Carbohydrates are the macros that gives the body its fuel. Carbs are essentially the sugar that comes from the food that we eat.
The body breaks down these sugars and converts them to energy. Additionally, carbohydrates also aid in digestion.
There are two different types of carbohydrates: simple and complex.
Simple Carbohydrates consist of table sugar, candy, soda, or any product that has added sugar. These simple carbs are easily digested but “produce a spike in blood glucose, providing the body with a short-lasting source of energy”.
Complex Carbs raise blood glucose levels as well, but they produce longer lasting energy. Whole grains like oats, brown rice, sweet potatoes, and beans are good examples of complex carbs. When it comes to nutritional value, complex carbohydrates tend to be the better option.
Fat is extremely vital to proper nutrition. Like protein, fat serves both structural and metabolic functions in the body.
It serves as a cushion to protect the internal organs from shock. Fat is also essential in absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, and plays a role in maintaining body temperature & promoting healthy cell functions.
Omega-3’s are an important fat the body needs. The body is not able to make this fatty acid on it’s own, and therefore it must be obtained from our diet.
Excellent sources of Omega-3 fatty acids are salmon, mackerel, cod liver oil, flax seeds, and chia seeds. If you struggle to incorporate these foods into your diet, you may need to consider adding an Omega-,3 supplement.
Conclusion on Macros
Macronutrients are important when it comes to health and nutrition because they help the body function properly. If your macros are out of balance, you may have nutritional deficiencies and be more susceptible to sickness and illnesses.
Precision Nutrition provides a better version of the USDA’s My Plate, and you can download this free guide to help build both your anytime meals and your post-workout meals.
Before you make any lifestyle or dietary changes, please consult a doctor or medical professional before hand.