By: Alexis and Mike
Before we delve into what macronutrients are and how we can optimize them, we first need to take a step back and think about what is actually happening when we as humans are eating. The best way to think about us eating is just like fueling a machine, similar to putting gas in a car so that it can move. However the human body is infinitely more complicated than a simple car and there are also endless ways that we can “fuel” it. It is for this reason that we need to understand macronutrients so that we can best decide how to feed/fuel ourselves.
There are three main categories of macronutrients in the food that we eat:
Protein (4 calories/gram)
- Protein allows our cells to repair and reproduce; It is essential for tissue repair and our immune system.
Carbohydrates (4 calories/gram)
- Carbohydrates are the main fuel source that gives your body the energy to run. Choose carbs that are full of fiber.
Fat (9 calories/gram)
- Fat is another energy source, and fuels your brain.
We all need three of these macronutrients, but the question is how much. The amount of each of the three macronutrients that you eat is typically called your split. Depending on your lifestyle and your body, the split can vary. Some people are much more active than others and need more carbohydrates in their daily diet. Also, different peoples bodies process the macronutrients differently and may need more or less of one of the three.
Remember: Listen to your body! Make small gradual changes so you can assess what your body needs easily.
Resource: You can calculate your macronutrients split on many online websites. Simply Google Macro Calculator.
What are the best protein, fat, and carb sources? And what should I avoid?
- Raw nuts
- Protein powders
Vegetables that have high quantities of protein:
- Green pepper
Good Fats: Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats
Healthy Fat Sources:
- Coconut oil
- Coconut products
- Olive oil
- Fatty fish
- Nut butters
- Flax Seeds
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown Rice
- Whole-grain bread
Foods to avoid:
- Refined grains like white rice, white bread, and enriched pasta
- Processed foods (like cookies, cakes, and chips)
- White potatoes
- Stick margarine
- High-fat cuts of meat
- Whole-fat dairy products (milk, cream)
- Packaged snack foods
- Fried foods
- Sweetened soft drinks
- Added refined sugar
- Artificial Sweeteners: (saccharin, aspartame, and sucralose)
- Synthetic Dyes (Tartrazine, FD&C Red No. 40, and Blue No. 1)
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Imitation food
- Refined oils (canola, vegetable, soybean, shortening)
- Ingredients you wouldn’t cook with at home, or cannot pronounce