What Are Macronutrients?

I don't want to get too technical on you here or take things to a different level than you are used to from me, but definitely find the relevance and importance to dissecting your food, aka fuel, into it's proper nutrient corner. As you go about your diet plan, there’s one thing that you’re likely paying a high amount (or perhaps, obsess) of attention to – your total calorie consumption.

When it comes to reaching your bodyweight goals, whether this happens to be with losing weight, building muscle, or simply maintaining your weight and boosting your performance, your quality of caloric intake outweights the sole amount of calories you consume.  

After looking at the calorie intake you’re using however, let's focus on the "types of calories" you are taking in, otherwise knows as, our macronutrients.  Let’s take a closer look at what these are so that you can see the complete picture as you plan your diet program. proteincarbfat

What Are Macronutrients?  Good question!  

Macronutrients are the three main types of calories that you take in through the diet including proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fats. Each and every food that you eat on your diet plan is going to be made up of these three macronutrients, just in different combinations. Some foods contain far more protein than others while others are primarily carb-only.  Likewise, if you drizzle some olive oil onto your salad, you’re putting on pure dietary fat. 

Why Are Macronutrients Important?  Details, please!  Each macronutrient is going to have a different primary role in the body, so in order for you to function at your best, you need to be taking in all three. Proteins are going to supply the building blocks of which your muscle tissue is made up of, so after a hard workout, this is a particularly important nutrient to be taking in.

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel and consuming these will help to keep your energy levels high and your metabolism running strong.  Carbohydrates foods, when selected carefully are also very high in vitamins and antioxidants, so are a must-have in your diet plan.

Dietary fats, on the other hand, are a long term source of fuel and will help to provide the fat soluble vitamins that your body needs for optimal function. Each nutrient is important and will play a different role in your overall diet plan.  Failing to take in any of these would have negative consequences on the way that you feel.

How Much Of Each Macronutrient Should You Consume?  Yet, ANOTHER good question!

The answer to this question does vary slightly depending on your particular goals, what your current body composition is, and how your body responds best to different foods. Protein needs are relatively set at about one gram per half-pound of body weight.  You can take in a little more or less of this nutrient, but should stick right around this mark.

Carbohydrate and fat requirements are far more variable, with minimum recommendations for optimal wellness being set at around 100 grams of carbs and no less than 15-20% of your total calorie intake from fat. Having proper balance will best control hunger, keep your energy levels high, and provide proper nourishment to the body.

Now, keep in mind with the above said, EVERY BODY is different and may require different % of macronutrients.  Some may not need one gram of protein per pound of body weight, others may need more or less.  Same with carbohydrates, some may require more than others.  What should remain pretty uniform, is the amount of healthy fats we consume.  They should stay relatively low, in perspective to your protein to carbohydrate ratio.

My biggest take home message here – is that although understanding the importance of a balance diet plan with the appropriate macronutrients, what's more critical, is the source of which these nutrients come from.  Just because a protein bar says it has "30 grams of pure protein", doesn't necessarily mean that's the right type of protein you should fuel your body.  This could be a whole other blog topic – but my message is to consider the source and keep it clean and as close to its original source, as you can.  

Your body will thank you for it!

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