What are macronutrients?

We find macronutrient in everything we eat, but why are they important?

The most important thing you need to understand is that you need a diet that always contains the three macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

How we balance them depends on our goals, whether we want to gain weight, lose weight or maintain our physical form.

Is better if you know what macronutrients are and what they do before you start a diet because they can ruin it. 

What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients divide into Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. They are the elements present in the food around us and indispensable to our body. 

For example, if you want to lose weight, you can go on a low-calorie diet.

If you’re going to put on muscle mass, you increase the volume of food (total daily calories), especially proteins and carbohydrates.

maronutrients - food

image with a plateau with food full of macronutrients

What are PROTEINS?

Proteins can be of plant or animal origin, are vital for growth, repair of muscle tissue, immunity, production of hormones and enzymes. 

Proteins are maintaining muscle mass which stimulates metabolism. They also provide energy when carbohydrates are lacking.

How much protein should I eat? 

Depending on factors such as health status, level of physical socialization, age, body weight, daily protein requirement may vary between 0.75 g / kg and 2-3 g / kg per body.

For example, a bodybuilder, whose muscle growth is evident, has an average consumption of 160g to 240g of protein per day. 

As for regular people, we talk about the following values (daily dose):

  • Woman – 0.8 grams, multiplied by the kilograms she has;
  • Male – 0.9 grams, increased by the kilograms he has;
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers – 1.2 grams, multiplied by the kilograms they have;
  • Kids – from 22 grams, between one year and three ;
  • Teenagers between 16 and 18 years – up to 65 -78 grams;

macronutrients - vegetables

High protein food:

Protein values per hundred grams:

  • Dehydrated mushrooms – 41.7 gr
  • Bean beans – 23 gr
  • Turkey – 30gr
  • Pumpkin seeds – 30gr
  • Cheddar – 25gr
  • Lentil berries – 25 gr
  • Pea berries – 21.5 gr
  • Salmon – 24gr
  • Chicken Breast – 23.1 gr
  • Canned Tuna – 23.6 gr 
  • Peanuts -25.8 gr
  • Nuts – 21.0 gr
  • Black olives – 20 gr
  • Oatmeal – 13.4 gr
  • Eggs 13g
  • Seeds (chia, hemp, in, sesame)
  • Soybeans (beans or tofu)

macronutrients-egg

macronutrients egg

What are CARBOHYDRATES?

Carbohydrates are composed of fibre, starch and sugar; a gram of carbohydrate contains four calories. 

There are two categories: simple carbohydrates (such as those in juices, sweets, flour) and complex ones (rich in fibre and digesting slower than those in whole grains, vegetables, legumes).

Carbohydrates provide the vital energy that keeps us moving every day, supporting the functions of the nervous system, the kidneys and the muscular system, including the heart. 

They are stored in the body and used when we need to. 

Carbohydrates have a vital contribution to the digestive system because they have a large amount of fibre. 

Simple carbohydrates:

Simple carbohydrates contain one or two sugar molecules, so they are a fast source of energy because their digestion time is short.

List of foods high in simple carbohydrates: 

  • Sugar (maltose, glucose, sucrose);
  • Sweets Cookies;
  • Juices;
  • Honey, potatoes, carrots, white bread, corn or white rice are rich in simple carbohydrates, so we recommend them in moderation.

Complex carbohydrates:

Complex carbohydrates contain three or more sugar molecules, so they represent healthy alternatives to simple ones, which are digested slower by the body, having a more constant energy supply and over a more extended period.

List of foods high in complex carbohydrates:

  • Nuts;
  • Vegetables;
  • Whole grains;
  • Brown rice;
  • Sweet potatoes;
  • Oatmeal;
  • Beans;
  • Peas;
  • Raspberries;
  • Apples; 
  • Pears;

macronutrients -carbohydrates

macronutrients -carbohydrates

How many carbs should I eat?

The average carbohydrates for children and adults, men and women, is about 130 grams. 

This value is the minimum intake to prevent the breakdown of fat and protein and the use of energy to fuel the brain and nervous system. 

Healthy and active adults may need double amounts. 45-65% of daily calories must come from carbohydrates, which means that at a 2000 calorie diet, it means about 250 g daily (between 900-1300 calories).

macronutirents - proteins

proteins – macronutrients

What are fats?

Fats have the highest calorific value per gram, nine calories/gram, and even if they have a negative reputation, they are vital to our body. 

Fats aid the body in growth and development, absorption of vitamins in the body, maintaining tissue membranes, providing energy and aiding digestion, being vital for liver functions.

There are three types of fats: saturated (found in meat, animal fat, butter), trans (found in processed foods, margarine, fries, chips) and unsaturated (found in olive oil, avocado, nuts). 

Good fats:

Good fats are unsaturated fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated). They are found predominantly in vegetable oils, in quality spreads margarine, in fatty fish, in nuts and oilseeds.

A significant category of good fats is the essential fats known more as Omega 3 and Omega 6 – although they are necessary for the body, it cannot synthesize them alone.

Omega 6 (a representative is a linoleic acid) lowers bad cholesterol, and Omega 3 (alpha-linolenic acid is a type of omega 3) has a positive influence on cardiovascular health. 

We can find Omega 6 acid in large quantities in sunflower oil and in products that contain this type of oil (salads, prepared foods – mayonnaise, spreadable margarine, etc.).

We can find Omega 3 in significant quantities in fatty fish, nuts, linseed oil, rapeseed oil, and margarine or mayonnaise (which have linseed or rapeseed oil).

Food list with good fats:

  • nuts;
  • vegetable oil;
  • peanut butter and almond butter;
  • avocado;
  • fatty fish;
  • extra virgin olive oil;

macronutrients-fats

fats Avocado and fish photo.

Bad fats:

The fats that we must avoid or include as little as possible in our diet are saturated and trans. They increase blood cholesterol and predispose to cardiovascular disease.

We must know that it is not possible to exclude from the diet saturated fats entirely.

Still, the more fat or a mixture of fats is more natural to spread (spread on bread) at low temperatures or is even liquid (vegetable oils), with so much content of saturated fat is lower.

The mention on the label in the ingredient list of partially hydrogenated fats also indicates the presence of trans fats in that product. 

Trans fats occur naturally in milk. Therefore a large amount is found in dairy fats (butter, cream, etc.). Dairy products also contain saturated fat whose intake should be limited.

Food list with bad fats:

  • high-fat dairy foods;
  • tropical oils;
  • fried foods;
  • vegetable shortening;
  • cookies, cakes, pastries;
  • processed snack foods;

How many fats should I eat?

Fats should make up a maximum of 35% of daily calories.

In consumption of 1800 calories per day, you should not exceed 70 grams of fat (this is the upper limit) and that most of these calories must come from good fats.

Important: if you have chosen a diet that works for you, you should respect it, the portions it contains and the number of proteins, carbs and fats.

 Macronutrients for weight loss:

To determine the caloric requirement according to age, weight, and height, we can apply the Harris-Benedict equation, which estimates the rate of basal metabolism (So total caloric intake at rest). 

G = weight in kilograms, H = height in centimeters, V = age in years

  • RMB (women) = 655 + (9.5 x G kg) + (1.8 x H cm) – (4.7 x V years)
  • RMB (men) = 66 + (13.7 x G kg) + (5 x H cm) – (6.8 x V years) 

If you want to find out what is the rate of metabolism (caloric consumption) according to your daily activity, do the following calculations

  •  Sedentary (without physical effort, office work) – RMB x 1.2 
  • Easy activity (easy physical effort or light workouts 1-3 days per week) – RMB x 1,375
  • Moderate activity (moderate-intensity exercise or 3-5 days of training per week) – RMB x 1.55
  • Intense activity (high-intensity workout or training 6-7 days per week) – RMB x 1,725 
  • Very intense activity (very high-intensity effort, hard physical work or training 6-7 days a week, sometimes two times a day) – RMB x 1.9

 For weight loss, we apply the daily caloric requirement after applying the physical activity factor a caloric deficit that we gradually increase. 

To increase muscle mass, we apply a caloric surplus that we also gradually increase to a limit of maximum 500kcal.

Conclusions:

A healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition are the best weapons in the fight against cardiovascular disease.

Carbohydrates have a vital contribution to the digestive system because they have a large amount of fibre. 

The average carbohydrates for children and adults, men and women, is about 130 grams.

Fats have the highest calorific value per gram, nine calories/gram, and even if they have a negative reputation, they are vital to our body.

Proteins are maintaining muscle mass which stimulates metabolism. They also provide energy when carbohydrates are lacking.

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