Are you exercising and eating right but not seeing the results you want to see? If you are looking to lose weight but don’t want to go the conventional route of tracking calories, you may be interested in tracking your macronutrients instead. Now, you might be asking yourself, what are macronutrients? Macronutrients, also known as macros for short, are nutrients that are supposed to be taken in large quantities. Your three groups of macros are your proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Each macro contains a set amount of calories per gram. These calories provide energy to our body once consumed. Proteins and Carbs contain four calories per gram each. Fats on the other hand include nine calories per gram. These nutrients are often taken in high quantities as they provide energy for your body. Let’s dive into each macro and discuss each one’s purpose in a balanced diet. Remember, always check with your physician before beginning any new exercise or diet routine.
Proteins help build your muscle in addition to repairing your muscle tissue after use. Essential for several physiological processes in your body, Protein is made up of amino acids that help structure your body. Foods that are rich in protein include meats, fish, eggs, and poultry. If you don’t want to eat any animal-based protein, you can still find protein in nuts, beans, seeds, and soy amongst others.
Often vilified due to their presence in many fatty foods, Carbohydrates are a main source of energy for the body. All carbs are broken down into glucose, a source of energy that your body needs to survive. While you can find glucose in proteins and fats, carbs are the easiest for your body to process and breakdown. There are two main types of carbs, simple and complex carbs. Simple carbs are easier for your body to break down and are found in sweeter foods such as sugars, honey, agave, syrups, and fruit. Complex carbs are more of a slow burn, as they take longer for the body to digest. Complex carbs are found in starchy foods and are often loaded with fiber. Pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes are all filled with complex carbs.
Fats help store energy and are critical in your diet. Despite being higher in calories per gram than proteins and carbs, fats can be beneficial if you incorporate the correct amount and types of fats in your diet. There are three main types of fats. Trans fats are found in your baked goods and should be avoided if you are looking to lose weight. Saturated fats are often found in fatty meats such as beef and pork along with dairy products. Eating too much-saturated fats can increase your cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease. Unsaturated fats are often viewed as your healthy fats as they lower the risk of heart diseases. You can find unsaturated fats in avocados, in addition to olive and peanut oil.
Each macro serves a different purpose, so finding the right mixture of macronutrients is completely dependent on your weight loss goals. Using a macronutrient calculator, you can tailor your preferences to your liking. Utilizing each group of nutrients will bring balance to your diet and help you achieve your goals.