What are Macros?
Good Morning beautiful beasts. Hope everyone is off to a great start. I wanted to talk to you about Macro Nutrients, otherwise known as macros.
This term has been thrown around a lot in social media ever since flexible dieting became popular in the fitness industry. I know most of us know that macros are protein, fats and carbs. However, do you really know what they are or are they just numbers your nutrition coach gave you and you know you have to hit those goals daily?
The 3 main macronutrients are Protein, Carbs and Fats and they are an essential requirement in order for the human body to function properly. Of course you can manipulate the macros in order to fulfill your goals.
Protein: One of the main macronutrients. It has 4 calories per gram. Our DNA gives it instructions on how to make it and it is the only one of the 3 macronutrients to have carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. It is made of Amino Acids which are the building blocks of protein. However, it is mainly known for muscle building but this is not its only function.
- Cell growth Repair
- Create enzymes
- Fluid & Electrolyte Balance
- PH Balance
- Immune Health
- Used as energy when carb intake is low ( this is no bueno because we lose muscles)
How much protein should you consume? The average is 0.8 grams per lb of body weight.
- 0.50-0.70> for sedentary individuals. (minimum requirement)
- 0.80-1.00> for average healthy adult. (minimum to gain muscle)
- 1.00-1.2> for females looking to get toned & lose fat
- 1.00-1.5> for males wanting to maintain muscles and drop fat
Carbs: are the body’s main sources of energy. They are called carbohydrates because then contain carbon, hydrogen & nitrogen. They provide fuel for the central nervous system and energy for working muscles. They also prevent protein from being used as energy source and enable fat metabolism. They also aid in brain function. Now I know carbs get the bad rep because they’re said to “make you fat”, however this is not the case. (I wrote another post on this here.)
There are two types of carbs:
a. Simple carbs: carbs that are digested and absorbed more quickly and easily than complex carbs. They contain just 1 or 2 sugars. Normally found in candy, soda and syrups. These are the ones that have no vitamins or minerals and can lead to weight gain if eaten in excess.
b. Complex carbs: have three or more sugars. They are often referred to as starchy foods and include beans, peas, lentils, peanuts, potatoes, corn, parsnips, whole-grain breads and cereal.
All carbohydrates function as relatively quick energy sources, simple carbs cause bursts of energy much more quickly than complex carbs because of the quicker rate at which they are digested and absorbed. Simple carbs can lead to spikes in blood sugar levels and sugar highs, while complex carbs provide more sustained energy.
Fats: a combination of saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Fatty acids are absolutely critical to young children's brain development (which is why breast milk is full of them). Fats play a crucial role in our diets because they help with:
- Blood clotting & controlling inflammation
- Healthy hair & skin
- Help body absorb certain vitamins and move them along our body
There are 3 types of fats: Saturated (found in milk & meats), Unsaturated (found in fish & vegetable oil) and Trans Fat (used to make fried & processed foods).
How much fat should you consume?
- 0.25-0.30> (minimum requirement)
- 0.30-0.40> lose body fat. (moderate requirement)
- 0.40- 0.45> long term lifestyle (realistic requirement)
I hope this helps you and puts a little perspective into why you need to eat these macros. It is also imperative to have a little bit of knowledge and not just take whatever a nutrition coach or fitness coach gives you and run with it. It’s your body so you should be informed. Ask questions and research. That’s what I do & still do!