11 Feb What Are Macronutrients and Why Should You Care?
What Are Macronutrients and Why Should You Care?
I have been staring at this computer screen for over an hour now and have been trying to will myself to just start writing the article “What are Macronutrients and Why Should You Care?”. I had set myself a task at the start of this week, the first week of my holiday, to write 7 articles in 7 days.
I had woken up at 5am, like I had done for every other day this week, however for some reason today was just not my day. I didn’t feel like bouncing out of bed and I didn’t feel like getting up to do my monthly reports (for my other business) and I definitely didn’t feel like writing another article. I think if I hadn’t made the promise to you all to write 7 articles in 7 days, I would have most likely just given today a miss, and instead enjoyed this gorgeous weather we are experiencing in Melbourne at the moment.
However, I made a promise and a promise I shall keep. It is my sincere hope that my want to be out in the sun doesn’t come across in my writing, as I believe the topic to this article is a VERY important one that you need to understand. It will also go a long way to aid you in enjoying a Happy, Healthy and Long Life
The confusion around Macronutrients or Macros as we in the bizz will call them, has lead to the demonisation of certain macros in various “fad” diets that are buzzing around the Internet these days.
Whether it is a devote Paleo saying all grains and carbohydrates are bad for you or the sugar industry telling us that fat is the root to all our health issues. You can’t be human these days and not have come across these various remarks at some point in the past 10 – 15 years. This article is not about my condemnation of these “fad” diets, as I will have plenty of time to do that in future articles. More so, this article is here to talk about the three individual macros and to discus with you what they are and why they all play a vital role in our health and well being. So let’s dive into the conversation and let me tell you what they are and how including all of them in your life will have you living a Happy, Healthy and Long life.
Protein is the building blocks for us to keep or build lean muscle mass. Getting in adequate protein is paramount because your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals and it’s an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. If you were a personal client of mine, I would have you write down a daily diary of your food in order for me to see what you are eating and how much protein, carbohydrates and fats you were consuming. Time and time again I have found that people are only reaching around 50% of the amount of protein they should be getting in each and every day for optimal health.
For those playing at home, the amount you should be eating every day equates to around .5 to 1g per pound of body weight. That means if you are the average female and weigh 175lbs (80kg) then you should be getting in anywhere from 85g to 175g of protein, EVERYDAY!
To give you an understanding of how much that is, lets look at how much protein there is in the humble chicken breast.
A 100g piece of raw lean meat contains around 24g of protein. Little side note; please make sure you cook your chicken breast before eating it. This may seem logical, however, I did have a personal client of mine call me to ask if they needed to eat it raw as they saw it on their meal plan as 200g of raw lean meat.
Yep I get all kinds!
If we now use our mathematical skills to work out what that would equate to, you can see that to get you to your minimum daily quota, you would need to consume at least 360g of chicken breast per day. Now, before you throw your hands up and tell me you could never eat that much, understand that protein is found in a wide variety of foods from dairy, eggs, meats and many vegetarian options as well. With a well thought out plan, there is no reason why you can’t be hitting your protein quota and be on track to your weight loss or weight gain goals.
Most of us have no problem eating enough carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are purely used for energy, so if you’re a very inactive person, you don’t need a lot of carbs because your body won’t use it as energy and instead store it as fat. Carbohydrates come in a whole host of things—breads, pastas, vegetables, fruits, chocolate and of course your favourite gin and tonic—and our body uses them as a fuel source.
When you consume carbohydrates, your pancreas releases insulin and your body converts that glucose into energy. Whatever glucose isn’t used up as energy is stored as fat. Look at carbohydrates as your petrol tank, whatever energy you need, that’s where it’s coming from. For some reason, which is still unclear to me, the world has become scared of carbohydrates and you tend to hear a lot of people blaming carbohydrates as the reason to why they are over weight or have digestion issues. Now, there are a small and I mean a VERY small proportion of the population that may have issues with certain grains and carbohydrates. I would suggest going to your GP or accredited dietitian to determine if you do have an allergy or intolerance, which would give you a reason to steer clear of them. However, most people are just eating far to many carbohydrates and in turn far to many calories and then blaming the bread/pasta/cake for the reason they are gaining weight. It is not the bread that was the issue, its the fact the person ate half a loaf of bread with their favourite spread slathered all over it. This then meant they had a massive surplus in calories for the day and in turn aided in their weight gain.
Carbohydrates are an essential part of anyone’s diet and to omit them is to be doing your body a disservice.
Somewhere in the 80’s some studies were conducted (funded by the sugar industry I might add) to investigate the relationship between fat and cardiovascular disease. It was determined that a diet high in fat was responsible for the rising occurrences in cardiovascular disease and so the invention of “No or Low Fat” food was born. Why did I mention the sugar industry above? Well the ingredient that was replaced into all of these low and no fat foods was sugar. It was assumed that because the food had no fat in it that you could eat these products as much as you liked and there would be no harm in it. You would especially have no issues with cardiovascular disease as the product had next to no fat. You still have heavy weights in the sugar industry sticking to their story that their products have no relationship to the growing obesity epidemic sweeping through the developed and underdeveloped world. In my opinion, just like the tobacco industry, these companies will have to face the music at some point and will be made to pay for their negligence. Now, sorry for my tangent in thought there, it just boils my blood that these companies can continue to fill our foods with sugar and sit back and wipe their hands clean of any wrong doing when they don’t inform the population that eating their products could cause harm to their health.
Sorry again, back to fats!
Fats are energy rich, containing nine calories per gram – more than twice the amount in carbohydrates and protein. Stored throughout the body, as well as the liver and muscles, fat serves as a large energy reserve that can be tapped into at rest or during low-intensity exercise. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins and without adequate fat, these vitamins couldn’t be absorbed, transported, or used in the body, resulting in various deficiencies. So, a diet that includes fat is essential to good health and leaving them out of your diet could cause a vast array of issues.
Foods High In Fat Include;
- Fatty Meats and Fish
- Nuts and Seeds
The article I will be writing tomorrow will detail how you should calculate all of these macros and ensure you are getting enough of them day to day depending on what your goals are.
If you take away one message from this article, make it this….
Every macro is important to your overall health and you would do well to have a diet rich in all of them. Leaving out one, for fear or doing your body harm, is pure nonsense. More often than not this message is coming from an industry trying to sell you a product or from people that have an agenda to push the benefits of their product. In many cases it has nothing to do with your health but everything to do with making that individual or company lots of money.
It would mean the world to me if you could share this post as you never know who you might be helping in doing so.
Have a wonderful day!