Now you may be asking yourself what in the world are macronutrients, right? Simply put, they’re the main nutrients that make up the foods we eat which are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Another way of looking at it is macronutrients make up calories. The body cannot produce macronutrients on its own. Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself why you should care about them? Well, here’s where you need to pay attention. First off, most of us tend to think a calorie is a calorie is a calorie and all calories were created equal…
First off, no they weren’t. Take it from somebody who’s learned this the hard way folks! A 1500 calorie diet balanced between carbohydrates, protein, and fat is a better-balanced diet than one that consists of soda, cake, cookies, etc. It all comes down to whether your body uses the nutrients for energy or stores it as fat. Spoiler alert: the latter option contributes to weight gain!
You cannot out work a bad diet!!!!
What are carbohydrates?
Simply put, carbs (as I like to call them) are the sugars, starches and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables and milk products. They often get a bad rap in diets because people associate them with weight gain. There are two types of carbs, simple and complex. Without getting all science-y (I know this isn’t a real word but let’s pretend for the purposes of this article it is, okay?) The difference between the two forms is the chemical structure and how quickly the sugar is absorbed and digested. Simple carbs such as candy and soda are digested and absorbed more quickly and easily than complex carbs such as beans and potatoes.
What are fats?
Fats, like carbs, often get blamed for weight gain. They are an essential part of our diet and nutrition and we can’t live without it. The body uses fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins. Fat also supplies energy to our body, cushions organs, insulates us, and is used to build cell membranes. There are three main types of fats which are saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Again, without getting too science-y (remember we agreed this was a word for the purposes of this conversation?), the difference lies in bond structure. Specifically, saturated fats contain double bonds and are generally solid at room temperature (examples: butter, cheese) while unsaturated fats contain single bonds and are liquid at room temperature (examples: olive oil, sunflower oil).
What are proteins?
Proteins are a large class of biological molecules consisting of chains of amino acids called polypeptides. A single polypeptide can make a protein, although many proteins consists of multiple polypeptide subunits. It is yet another nutrient essential to building muscle mass and by extension has a role in metabolism. It is commonly found in animal products, though it’s also present in other sources, such as nuts and legumes.
Got all that?
I hope this overview has ignited an interest in learning more and possibly even learning how to track them to meet your health and fitness goals. While I’m accustomed to tracking my calories, the research I did for this article intrigued me enough that I’m now planning to shift my focus to macronutrients to see if that aids in increasing my lean body mass and decreasing my body fat.
Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing the results of this ‘study’ in an article later.
Until then, always remember…