By the end of this article (blog) you will be able to understand what macronutrients are and how to use them in your daily life.
Macronutrients or 'Macros' are a group of nutrients that are found in food that give us energy. The three macronutrients are;
No matter what training plan, lifestyle or diet you have, all three are essential in our diets for a healthy, happy life.
So when someone is tracking their macros, what it means is they are counting the grams of protein fats and carbohydrates in their diet.
This will be based on a calculation of their overall caloric intake ( how many calories they are able to have in a day ) and the way they split their macros. There is no one size fits all approach with this, as every persons genetic make up will be slightly different. However there is an acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR)
45–65% of your daily calories from carbs,
20–35% from fats
10–35% from protein.
Every body is slightly different in which percentage works for them and for many it is a case of trial and error.
Though a large percent of us will already have a high carbohydrate diet and this does not mean it is a bad thing. Unless you're on a specific diet such as keto and depending on what types of carbohydrates you are having such as simple or complex.
However it is important that we do not neglect any of our macros as it can lead to many issues.
So it is important you understand the benefits of each macronutrients and what it does to your body on a cellular level.
The body's main source of energy
They help fuel your brain
Help with kidney function
Helps with the heart muscles,
Supports central nervous system.
Provides vitamins minerals and fiber
.Fiber is also a carbohydrate that aids in digestion, helps you feel full, and keeps blood cholesterol levels in check.
A carbohydrate-deficient diet may cause headaches, fatigue, weakness, difficulty concentrating, nausea, constipation, bad breath and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
You want to mainly focus on having complex Carbohydrates as they have longer sugar molecules, which takes longer to break down and supplies a steady flow of energy which reduces a sudden spike in insulin which decrease the risk of becoming insulin resistant.
Complex carbohydrate are things such as whole grains, beans and vegtables
Simple carbohydrates are things such as highly processed foods, fruit juice and foods where sugar or corn syrups, glucose fructose and sucrose have been added.
Growth and maintenance of tissues
Some proteins are hormones, which are chemical messengers that aid communication between your cells, tissues and organs.
Transsports and stores nutrients
Building lean muscle mass
Helps keep you feeling fuller for longer
It is also a critical part of helping create antibodies that help fight off infection and illness.
The guided daily recommend amount of protein is 46grams for women and 56 grams for men. However this is a guideline for the average person, so it is not tailored to the individual. Many factors need to be taken into account such as; age, training intensity, genetic make up the list goes on. which is why working out your macros is a great way to Taylor your diet for your specific needs.
some sources of protein are salmon, tofu , chicken eggs and dairy products. Note that it is always best to get high quality products to ensure high quality protein and trying to stay away from substitutes such as protein bars and other highly processed foods with added protein such as cereal and sticking to the more natural sources where possible.
helps the body absorb vital nutrients
helps give you energy
supports cell growth
keeps cholesterol and blood pressure under control
There are two type of Fats which are saturated and unsaturated
Saturated fats are primarily found in animal products such as beef, pork, chicken and high fatty dairy foods. it can also be found in butter cream cheese and highly processed baked good such as cakes and biscuits. The concern with these fats are that they produce more bad cholesterol which can form plaque in the arteries and increase risk of stroke or cardiovascular disease.
unsaturated fats have many health benefits and can be broken down in to two categories monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.
Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. They differ from saturated fats by having fewer hydrogen atoms bonded to their carbon chains. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid.
Good fats help keep the brain healthy as well as lowering bad cholesterol. The association between healthy fats and healthier brains may be related to inflammation as diets high in saturated fats appear to raise inflammation.
Now you can see the importance of these macronutrient, I will show you How you can work out how many grams of each macro you can fit in to your diet within your caloric needs.
so firstly you will need to work out your calorie intake if you have not done that already here is the link to my article on calorie intake and how to work out how many you should be having.
We also need to know how many calories or in 1 gram of protein fat and carbohydrates.
1gram of carbs = 4 calories
1 gram of protein= 4 calories
1gram of fat = 9 calories
once we have this number we then need to decide what sort of percentage we want to have within our 3 macronutrients whilst still being within the acceptable macronutrient distribution range (AMDR)
So this depends on your goals and eating habits and general preference.
for instance I am in the process of a body recomposition which means I am looking to gain lean muscle mass and lose body fat so I would prefer a diet high in protein to help build muscle mass and keep me feeling full and I would also like a fairly high carbohydrate diet so I have the energy required to train at the intensity I need to gain muscle and lose weight. So for my macros I am looking at
so to work out what this means all I would do is take my calorie intake so lets say it 1300cals.
50% carbs - 0.5 x 1300 = 650 divide by 4 = 162 grams of carbs
25% fat - 0.25x1300 = 325 divided by 9 = 36grams of fat
25% protein - 0.25= 325 divided by 4 = 81grams of protein
so you can play about with the percentages to see which works best for you.
I hope this has been helpful and it should give you a nice solid base into macronutrients
please feel free to comment below and tell me what macros split you are doing at the moment and any other questions you might have.
wishing you all the best on your fitness journey.
Lots of Love X