The term ‘macros’ or ‘macronutrients’ are thrown around quite a bit in the weight-loss world, and with good reason. Macronutrients are substances that our bodies need in large amounts to function optimally. Macronutrients come in three forms: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. They are essential to quick and safe weight loss. Each macronutrient performs specific and unique functions within our bodies.
All three macronutrients contain the calories our bodies need for energy. We obtain our macronutrients through the food that we eat, so it is essential that you allow for sufficient macronutrients in your meal plan.
Here is everything you need to know about including macronutrients in your diet.
What role do they play?
Protein plays a major role in your body, including supporting cellular function and repairing tissue. It is also essential in the process of building and maintaining muscle mass (CTA LINK: Link to Importance of Muscle blog post). Our bodies break protein down into amino acids that are circulated into our bloodstream and dispersed to all the cells in the body for absorption and use.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel for our bodies. They provide us with energy in the form of glucose. All your cells need glucose to form cellular energy molecules. Interestingly, it is easy for your body to break carbohydrates down into glucose. A problem occurs when you aren’t getting enough glucose in your diet: this system will switch to converting amino acids and fats into glucose – this is not ideal for your body.
When it comes to fat – and here we are talking about healthy fats – your body would not be able to function at all without it. Essential fats are critical to supporting the brain and nervous system as well as promoting healthy hormone production. Fats also help the body absorb vitamins and minerals from the food you eat.
Whilst carbohydrates and fat might scare you, without a healthy intake of all three macronutrients, your body is not able to function properly.
What about calories?
Not all macronutrients are created equal. While 100 grams of salmon and 100 grams of hot wings may have the same macronutrient profile, they are hardly nutritional equivalents. They also differ largely in calories. Jellybeans and sweet potatoes are both about 100% carbohydrates, but there is no comparison when it comes to nutritional and caloric value.
When considering your macronutrients, you will quickly discover that you feel better when you spend most of your macronutrient intake on fruits, vegetables, nuts, healthy fats (CTA LINK: https://www.aleverenorthampton.co.uk/safe-weight-loss/weight-loss-basics-a-guide-to-fat-intake/), whole grains, and lean protein. These options are also a lot more filling than sweets or hot wings.
Figuring out and refining your macronutrient intake should also depend on the number of calories you want to consume every day to lose and maintain your goal weight. A great way to start balancing your macronutrients is to consider that between 10% and 35% of your daily calories should come from protein. You can then distribute your fat and carbohydrates between the remaining calories.
How do I know what to eat?
At Alevere Northampton we know that nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all approach. So, when it comes to what macronutrients you should be eating and the proportion of your diet that they should fulfil, we know it depends on the individual. However, there are some basics we can share with you. Nutritious foods that contain sufficient macronutrients include:
- Fruits and vegetables are a high-carbohydrate, low-protein option.
- Pasta, rice, cereal, bread, and legumes are high-carbohydrate, low-fat options.
- Nuts, seeds, olive oil, and cheese are high-fat, low-carbohydrate options.
- Avocado and coconut milk are high-fat, low-protein options.
- Eggs, meat, and fish are high-protein, low-carbohydrate options.
- Non-fat Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese or cream cheese, chicken breasts, and lean ground beef are high-protein, low-fat options.
In general, we recommend that your macronutrient intake includes 50% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 30% (healthy) fat. However, it is important to note that these portions depend largely on your weight-loss goals and individual caloric and nutritional needs.
Contact us today to find out how you can lose weight fast on our medically-led weight-loss programme.