What Are Macronutrients?

What are Macronutrients?

You may have heard the term “macronutrients” thrown around. This term may sound really fancy, but it’s actually very simple. Macronutrients are the main component of the human diet. A short definition for macronutrients would be “primary energy sources.” Every diet consists of these three things and balancing them in the right proportions is the key to a healthy diet. There are three macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fats.

What Are CarbohydratesWhat Are Carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are actually a type of sugar. They are, without a doubt, the most important energy source in the human diet. Different types of carbohydrates include:

  • Monosaccharides: Glucose, fructose, galactose
  • Disaccharides: Sucrose, Lactose
  • Oligosaccharides: Melitose
  • Polysaccharides: Glycogen, amylopectin, insulin

When the body takes in carbohydrates, the energy is stored as either glucose or glycogen.

These two substances are very similar, except that glycogen is used by the muscles and the liver while glucose is used by the brain. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, carbs should account for about half of the average adults’ caloric intake. In general, complex carbohydrates are a better choice, because they don’t cause blood sugar spikes as simple carbohydrates tend to do. Complex carbs also tend to give an increased feeling of fullness and a higher dose of fiber. As if that weren’t enough reason to prefer them, complex carbs are also better for the health of the intestine and help to lower cholesterol levels.

Good Sources Of Complex Carbs:

  • Vegetables (most of them)
  • Legumes (beans, peanuts, peas, etc.)
  • Fruits (most of them)
  • Potatoes (regular and sweet)
  • Cereals and whole grains
  • Brown rice

List Of Simple Carbohydrates

  • Sucrose (table sugar)
  • Fructose (fruit sugar)
  • Lactose (found in milk)
  • Maltose (found in beer)

While on the subject of carbohydrates, it should be noted that many carb-rich foods are also good sources of probiotics and prebiotics. These are helpful gut bacteria which help to maintain good health of the stomach and intestines.

Sources Of Probiotics:

  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Cheese

Sources Of Prebiotics:

  • Legumes
  • Artichokes
  • Oats

What Is ProteinWhat Is Protein?

Proteins are chains of amino acids. What are amino acids? Amino acids are some of the fundamental building blocks of human biology. Most people know that the human body is up to 60% water. However, many people do not know that proteins are the second most common component of human tissue. Amino acids are important from a dietary perspective because your body needs certain amino acids to function correctly, and your body cannot produce all of them. Therefore, the remainder has to come from the environment. Thankfully, these simple organic compounds are found in many natural sources, so it isn’t too hard to get what you need unless your diet is seriously lacking in diversity.

List Of Essential Amino Acids:

  • Valine
  • Leucine
  • Isoleucine
  • Histidine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Tryptophan
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine

Protein performs a huge variety of functions in the human body. First of all, it is used as a raw material to produce skin, hair, muscle, and connective tissue. Second of all, proteins function as hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. The list of ways in which the body uses protein would take all day to read. Experts say that about 60% of your body’s protein reserves are stored in the muscles. These protein stores do not serve as direct energy, as fat does, but they function like building blocks that produce many different biological structures.

As a general rule, you should consume .36 grams of protein for every pound of your body weight every single day. For those seeking maximum muscle growth, the dosage can be increased to one gram per pound.

List Of Good Protein Sources:

  • All Meat
  • Fish/seafood
  • Eggs
  • Legumes
  • Grain products
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Nuts

What Are FatsWhat Are Fats?

As we mentioned earlier, fats are the body’s pure stored energy. If your body is a machine, then your fat is the reserve fuel tank. Fats, also called lipids, can come in solid forms like butter or shortening or in liquid forms like vegetable oil and olive oil. More importantly, all fats can be classified into one of three categories.

1.Saturated Fats:

  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Coconut Butter
  1. Unsaturated Fats:
  • Olive oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Coldwater fish
  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  1. Trans Fats:
  • Baked goods
  • Fried foods
  • Margarine (not all)

One of the great things about polyunsaturated fats is the fact that they generally contain high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. These are incredibly beneficial compounds and are believed to be responsible for the near-total lack of heart disease in native Inuit populations. It is a good idea to concentrate these substances in your diet.

Apart from their role in energy storage and transport, fat also plays a role in delivering certain vitamins to the body, including vitamins A, D, E, and K. Cholesterol is an example of a fat that the body does actually need to some degree, but a high-cholesterol diet would be a bad idea because too much will greatly increase your risk of heart problems. Fats should make up about 35% of your daily caloric intake. Of this 35%, no more than 10% should be saturated fats.

The bottom line is that all three of the macronutrients provide the body with vital tools to do everything that it needs to do. While the human body can actually survive with little to no carbohydrate or little to no protein, a balance between the three is the best choice. If you have enjoyed this article, please feel free to follow us on Facebooks to receive updates, news, more great information from our team of experts.

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