You hear a lot about micronutrients or “macros” these days, especially in the fitness world. “You can eat whatever you want, as long as it fits your macros.”
But what are macros, how do you know you’re getting enough, and can you really eat whatever you want?
Macronutrients are chemicals that provide us with energy in the form of calories. These are proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Water is also considered a macronutrient because it is vital for living but does not give us caloric energy. These four significant nutrients can be calculated in many different ways to achieve different outcomes. Whether it is weight loss, weight gain, or specific health issues, these macronutrients are rationed out based on what your body might need.
Protein’s Role In The Body
There are 4 calories per gram of protein. Proteins are made up of amino acids and are referred to as the “building blocks” of the body. Protein repairs and builds all the tissues in your body, including muscles, producing neurotransmitters, repairing liver cells, etc. Protein also regulates blood sugar and affects your energy. Without adequate protein intake, you might experience weakness, fatigue, anxiety, and depression. You can see why it’s an essential part of your diet.
The Contribution Of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates also contain 4 calories per gram. Carbs are broken down and used as quick energy by the body. If you consume more carbs than your body needs, you store them as fat for later energy use. But of course, most people overeat carbs and hence gain unwanted fat.
The best carbs to consume would be “slow carbs” and in proper amounts, depending on what your activity level requires. These are unprocessed whole foods like starchy vegetables, beans, legumes, and berries. Processed simple carbohydrates such as white wheat and sugar-based products (pasta, pizza, crackers, pretzels, desserts) break down and enter the bloodstream very quickly, causing blood sugar spikes and subsequent crashes, which cause fatigue, foggy thinking, and hormonal disrup