What are Macronutrients?
The word “macronutrient” is a fancy term for nutrients that we as humans need consume to survive. There are 3 essential macronutrients; carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Different foods have difference mixtures of all three macronutrients. Counting macros instead of counting calories allows for a more balanced diet as you are focusing on getting energy from all 3 sources versus just trying to hit a number. Let’s breakdown what each of these essential macronutrients are and where to find them.
Carbohydrates A.K.A. “Carbs”
Carbs are your bodies main energy source. They provide 4 calories per gram. We need carbohydrates for brain function, muscle recovery and growth, digestion, basically all of the functions to keep us alive. Carbohydrates are found in many plant based foods and processed foods. When you think of carbs, think foods that are traditionally thought of as a sugar or starch source, be it natural or processed.
Examples of carbohydrates are: fruit, vegetables (especially potatoes, corn, squash), legumes, grains (rice, pasta, breads, quinoa), dairy (milk, yogurt), and processed sources like cereals, juices, candy, and granola bars.
Understanding the role of carbohydrates in your diet is essential when it comes to performance and body composition.
Fat is another main energy source. It is the most concentrated energy source, providing 9 calories per gram. Fats are used for many important bodily functions such as energy use and storage, satiety, insulation, and fat-soluble vitamin absorption (Vitamins A, D, E, and K).
Fat sources include oils, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut, butter and margerines, and marbling in meats (found in red meats).
The type of fat and timing of intake can influence your hunger levels, workout, and overall health.
Protein has many important roles in the body. It provides 4 calories per gram. Protein breaks down into amino acids in the body and are used for many functions such as development of lean muscle mass, skeletal mass, structural component of all cells in the body, and energy use.
Food sources of protein include red meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, soy (tofu, tempeh), legumes, and protein powders.
Protein plays a very important role around developing lean muscle mass, and can be maximized with guidance around optimal intake.
Understanding what macronutrients are is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to maximizing your nutrition for your own personal health goals. Each person is different. Each person will have to eat a different amount of food depending on what their goals are. This amount of food will also change depending on where they're at in their journey
Since we know you already have a world full of questions about these things, we have people who can help you with that. Working with a coach can help you understand your body's individual needs of each macro and can also help you form your own custom diet plan that works specifically for you. Work with us and let us help you get to your goals.