Macronutrients: Are energy providing chemical substances consumed by organisms. Does this bring you right back to biology class or what?!
Why should I care about macronutrients you might ask? Well if you learn how to track them and how much of each you consume it can help you LOSE WEIGHT! Hope that got your attention.
This isn't just another calorie counting yo-yo diet, this is the start of a meal plan, a long term solution because it can literally change your life. If you choose the right ratios for yourself or have a professional do it for you. Weight Loss "specialist’s" sell you a product or service and promises to have you "Lose 10 pounds in a two Weeks!" And you know what, they are right it will... But what they DON'T tell you is that right after those two weeks your body will put that weight right back on (Hence yo-yo dieting). Many people, including myself have tried dieting at some point in their life and failed. 90% of people do and those "specialist’s" have the next program or the extreme version of what you already did, and it too will work for a time until the weight starts coming back on again afterwards.
Kind of a vicious cycle huh?
Macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Fats, & Proteins
I know there is a lot of science in here but stay with me and it will all make sense in the end. There are three macronutrients in nutrition and they are Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins.
According to the USDA Carbohydrates should account for 45% - 65% of your calorie intake.
Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that we need in the largest quantity
Carbohydrates are easily used by the body for energy. (This includes Exercise!)
Every cell in the human body can use glucose for energy. (Simple Sugar)
Carbs are mostly found in starchy foods, veggies, & fruit. There are in other foods but in lesser amounts.
Moral of the story Carbs aren't "BAD" for you. You just need the right amount and you could say there are some that are better than others. Ex. Sweet Potato vs. White Potato
Protein is right around 10% - 35% of your calories.
Energy when carbohydrate is not available
Preserving lean muscle mass
Most Americans get enough Protein in their meals from a well balanced diet. If you are vegan or on some other nutrition plan that is similar tracking these is of the uttermost importance. Most vegans have trouble getting enough protein into their diets and have to rely on getting their 9 essential Amino Acids from sources other than meat. Alas Amino Acids are complicated and could take up their own blog post for another time. Ok lets stop ranting and get back on track!
Lastly Fat should be right between 20% - 35% of your intake
Normal growth and development
Energy (fat is the most concentrated source of energy)
Absorbing certain vitamins ( Vitamins A, D, E, K, and Carotenoids)
Maintaining cell membranes
Providing taste, consistency, and stability to foods
Eating fat has gotten a rap in the last couple of decades because it supposedly increase weight gain. I promise you without consuming fat in your diet you wouldn't be reading this right now, or alive for that matter. There are tons of vitamins that fat helps with the absorption. Now that doesn't give you clearance to go ahead to order a pound of bacon, but maybe a little cheese wouldn't be a bad thing on those eggs.
Ok so now that we now what percentage ranges we need to have you have to realize that, everyone is a little different and not one thing will work for everyone(Especially if you have food allergies!) For example you might need more protein in your diet if you are a trainer who is constantly moving and handing clients weights throughout the day, or if you are an endurance athlete you would need waaaay more Carbohydrates.
That being said I know I could be eating cottage cheese do to its high level of protein but I can't stand the taste... or the consistency.... Gross!
But fear not! There are literally thousands of ways to make this happen to achieve your macronutrients. One thing that I absolutely love to use is My Fitness Pal. It lets you plug in everything that you eat and records everything day to day. It also lets you customize your daily nutrition goals to what is right for you. Or you can ask a Health Professional to figure out what is the best percentages for you. If you have some questions for me feel free to hit me up on anything below and I will be happy to answer them.
So for me personally to reach my macros this morning I'll skip the cottage cheese for a few eggs. This way I can still get the same macronutrients for my protein intake that I need and not want to gag on it, and if you throw a little pesto on that and it will be gone faster than a toupee in a hurricane!