All you need to know about macronutrients is that they provide calories or energy to maintain body functions and carry out the activities of daily life.
Your body needs these nutrients in larger amounts in order to function properly as macro means large.
In addition, all of these nutrients provide your body with energy measured in the form of calories or kcals.
There are three types of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
- Carbohydrates contain 4 kcal per gram.
- Proteins contain 4 kcal per gram.
- Fats contain 9 kcal per gram.
Along with energy, all of these macronutrients have specific roles in your body that allows you to function properly.
The basics that you need to know about macronutrients are,
Carbohydrates – or carbs – are the body’s primary fuel. They provide energy for your muscles and the central nervous system during movement and exercise.
All carbohydrates are eventually broken down into glucose, which is the main energy source for your body.
In fact, specific organs, such as your brain, need glucose in order to function properly. Your body can make glucose out of necessity from proteins using gluconeogenesis.
Beyond being your main energy source, there are carbohydrates that help synthesize specific amino acids (protein building blocks) and allow for consistent bowel movements.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by your GI tract.
Therefore, this nutrient does not give you energy, but it does help rid your body of waste and keeps your intestinal tract healthy.
Carbohydrates are not all created equally. Some are considered simple carbohydrates and others are complex.
Protein allows your body to grow, build and repair tissues, and protect lean body mass (your muscle mass).
Protein is composed of amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein.
There are 2 types of amino acids: non-essential and essential.
Non-essential amino acids are not required to be consumed through the diet as your body can actually make these.
Essential amino acids are required through your diet. Essential amino acids can either be used on their own or in some cases they are transformed into a non-essential amino acid.
Protein rich foods include meat, poultry, fish, egg, milk, cheese, or other types of animal by-product foods. These protein sources contain all of your essential amino acids.
This does not mean you have to eat animal foods to be healthy.
You can get the proper amino acids from eating a variety of plant protein sources such as beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy as well as lower amounts in grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Fat allows you to store energy, cushion organs, make certain hormones, absorb fat soluble vitamins, and helps with cell membrane integrity.
There are three types of fat: trans fat, saturated fat, and unsaturated fat.
Fat gets a bad reputation because it is the highest in kcals and certain types of fat are not good for us, but if you can focus on the type of fat and amount of fat, it is instrumental to a healthy diet.
Also Read: Amazing Health Benefits of Eggs