Ever wondered what macronutrients are and what you need to eat to get in shape?
In this article we are going to explain what the hell they are and so that you can understand them, get control of your food and build a body you are proud of.
Macronutrients are foods you eat, no matter what it is, anything you chew and swallow is a macronutrient. They are basically calories.
There are three essential macronutrient groups that our bodies need to function daily.
If you think of a food that you like eating, this will either be one, two, or all three macronutrients mixed together. In fact there are many arguments that carbohydrates are non-essential. At CRP we disagree. Especially when it comes to performance. Muscle building and transforming how your body looks, feels and performs.
Macronutrient number one: Protein
In simple terms protein will build muscle. Once consumed the body breaks it down and converts it into amino acids. These are the main building blocks of protein. It is then used to repair any damage that we cause to the body’s muscles. Protein is essential for us to be able build muscle mass. Alongside that it plays an important role in immune function, gene pool and brain cells.
Studies show that increased protein intake can help with satiation. (this is how full you feel between meals). When you are transforming how your body looks, feels, and performs. It is an important factor in controlling your caloric intake.
The best protein to eat is from animal meat because it contains all the essential amino acids. It is also found in vegetarian and vegan sources like nuts, legumes, and dairy.
How much protein do we need? This is a topic that is always under debate, most people need 1g per pound of body weight. If you are exercising 3-5 times a week, you will need a higher amount, 1.2-1.5g per pound. Lean sources of protein are best; you can also consume it through fatter sources of meat and dairy.
Macronutrient number two: Carbohydrates
What is a carbohydrate? Split into two main groups, simple and complex.
When given the option, you need more complex and fibrous carbohydrates. Such as those found in vegetables, oats, whole grains and legumes. Rather than eating too many simple carbohydrates foods such as high sugar foods. Not only will complex carbohydrates provide a steadier supply of energy. It stops dramatic increases in blood glucose levels. Complex carbs provide more nutrients.
Carbohydrate is the most misunderstood macronutrient of the three. Deemed to be the one that makes us fat. Again, let’s put this into simple terms to start with. Carbohydrate is a fuel source for the body. When we consume it the body breaks it down and converts it into glycogen.
Glycogen is then stored in two main places within our body, the liver muscle. There is a small amount stored in other organs but we don’t need to go into that at this stage. The main problem with eating too much carbohydrate is once your muscle and liver have enough. Any excess glycogen in the bloodstream converts to body fat because the body can not use it. This is one of the reasons carbohydrates have a bad name and too often people think it makes them fat. The truth is an excess of any form of calories regardless of the macronutrient can lead to weight gain. Re-enforcing the fact that we MUST be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.
Macronutrient number three: Fat
What is fat? Fat is the second macronutrient that gets a bad reputation. This is because of its high caloric content. It is over twice that of protein and carbohydrates at 9 calories per gram. Combined with the fact it sounds like body fat. This is also a primary fuel source for the body alongside carbohydrates. The body will tap into protein stores once fat and carbohydrate stores are gone.
Fats are split into two subcategories. Saturated and unsaturated, again we can go deeper into this at a later stage but for now that’s all we need to focus on.
The simplest way to determine this is that saturation will be hard at room temperature. Unsaturated will not. Think butter and olive oil, the olive oil is in a liquid form.
Dietary fats are important in your daily nutrition, and the macronutrient people neglect. We need to be consuming this for various functions.
Energy, growth and cell function, healthy skin and nails, and forming hormones to name a few. Increased fat intake leads to higher natural testosterone production important for building muscle. We also become more efficient at burning fat as fuel from an increased level of fats within our diet. The calorie deficit principle must still apply for weight loss.
As a rule, you should limit saturated fats, dairy, butter, and red meat to a couple of times per week. While increasing unsaturated sources like olive oils and wild fish.
To find out more and know exactly what to eat download our free Simple Food Guide below.