Know Your Macros!
You’ve possibly heard the term ‘macros’ before, especially if you’re into health and fitness. Well knowing the role of each macro, also known as macronutrient, will play a part in your decision making when it comes to making dietary changes.
We require macronutrients in larger quantities than micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals which we need in smaller amounts. Macronutrients contain calories which are comprised of the following:
Protein, 4 calories per gram
Fats, 9 calories per gram
Carbohydrates, 4 calories per gram
To obtain good health and performance, it’s important we consume the right quantities of the above; therefore removing a group is not recommended. Go zero or low carb for too long and watch your performance and mood suffer. Likewise go low fat for too long and your hormones will be all over the place.
Protein is responsible for growth and repair of tissue in the body, it translates to primary or first in Greek and is often referred to as the bodies ‘building blocks’.
If you exercise regularly, it’d help to have sufficient protein intake as you’re putting your body under strain, and breaking down muscle tissue. The protein you consume in your diet will help you rebuild this tissue, and become stronger over time.
Of all the macronutrients, protein ranks the highest in terms of satiety, meaning it will keep you feeling full for longer.
For fat loss, one of the benefits of protein is its high thermogenic effect, so your body will work harder and burn calories when digesting protein. This combined with high satiety would help you consume less food overall throughout the day.
Carbohydrates are the preferred energy source for the brain and central nervous system, and for the majority of people carbohydrates will form the bulk of their diets. Fruits and vegetables are fairly low in carbohydrates per gram, and offer many benefits including nutrients and fibre.
Sugary snacks offer little nutritional benefits, and can be detrimental towards body composition if eaten in large amounts, keep these to a minimum and look to fuel yourselves with the right foods to maintain energy levels throughout the day.
Fats are essential to many bodily functions such as, hormone regulation, and the transportation of fat soluble vitamins.
However, it’s vital to consider portion control when it comes to fats, as they’re the most calorie dense group with 9 calories per gram.
Take a handful of cashew nuts for example, say 20 grams, this could easily give you around 120 calories. Now this obviously isn’t a problem if you’re trying to gain weight, but can be detrimental if fat loss is your primary goal.
Fats can be broken down into the following groups, and it’d be a good idea to get a combination of all 3 into your diet:
To Wrap Up…
You should hopefully have an idea of the role each macronutrient plays, and why I would advise against removing any group. For long term sustainable results, it’s important you know how to include all of these in your diet, whilst altering the quantities to suit your chosen goal.
Master the basics, then consistently repeat. This will have the biggest influence on your results!
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