What Are Macronutrients? The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Eating
If you’ve been in the nutrition and fitness community for any period of time, you’ve likely come across the term “macronutrients,” aka macros. These days, it seems everyone is concerned with calculating their daily intake, counting macros, and keeping track of the type of foods they eat in order to achieve certain health goals. But, what exactly are macronutrients? And what do they have to do with your nutrition?
Essentially, macronutrients are the nutritional compounds of food that your body needs in order to function. Generally speaking, macronutrients are broken down into three groups: carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each of which provides a different calorie amount per gram. To help you get a better idea of how each of these macronutrients lends support to your body, continue reading. For the best meal prep delivery service in Tampa that provides meals that meet your macros straight to your door, choose Whole Body Fuel.
Formed of sugars and starches, carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. Unless you’re on a specialized diet like the ketogenic diet, carbohydrates should make up approximately 45-65 percent of your energy needs. This is because carbohydrates supply your body with glucose, its primary fuel source for brain function, cellular processes, and more.
Generally speaking, there are two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates have 1-2 sugar molecules, are found in sweet items like fruit, and are easy for your body to break down for energy or glucose. Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are foods with a savory taste like starches and grains. They take longer for the body to break down, usually contain fiber, and release glucose just as efficiently as a sweet, simple carbohydrate.
Protein, often considered the building block of the body, is vital for a number of important processes, including tissue production and maintenance, organ function, and muscle building. It’s made up of a combination of twenty different amino acids, 11 of which are created by the body and 9 of which must be obtained through food sources. In general, protein should make up approximately 20-35 percent of your diet. You can meet these amino acid needs by consuming a well-balanced diet with protein-rich foods, such as eggs, poultry, fish, tofu, and lentils.
Despite their damaging reputation in the past few decades, fat should make up anywhere from 10-35 percent of your diet. This is because fat is a great long-term source of energy and plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and hair, insulating the body’s organs, regulating hormones, and maintaining cell function. The only thing to really be concerned about when it comes to fat is to make sure that you’re limiting saturated and trans fat whenever possible.
Trans fat can be found in margarine, shortening, baked goods, and fried foods, while saturated fat is mostly found in animal sources like fatty beef, lamb, pork, and dairy. Instead, you’ll want to focus on great sources of unsaturated fat like avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, olives, and certain oils. This is how you’re going to supply your system with the fatty acids it needs but can’t make itself like omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.
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Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute health advice and is not intended to be a substitute for professional dietary counsel.