Macronutrients are the nutrients that are needed in large quantities for the proper functioning of the body. They are also the major source of the calories that are needed for energy. Tracking your macronutrients is one of the best ways to track how much energy you are consuming because every micronutrient has its caloric value.
One of the reasons why it is better to track your ‘macros’ than to just check calories is that tracking ‘macros’ gives you the opportunity to measure the ratios of your fats, carbs and proteins you are consuming.
- Proteins: Used by the body for building and repairing tissues, it is responsible for muscle mass and very vital for the maintenance of a lean body. It also contributes to satiety as it requires the most energy for its digestion. One gram of protein gives 4 calories of energy and examples includes eggs, meat, fish, and cheese.
- Carbohydrates: You cannot do without this for a long time. It is the main fuel for energy for the body and is one of the most abundant in man’s food. It is found in almost every part of the body as simple sugar molecules or in the stored form as glycogen in the cells of the brain, heart, skeletal muscles and even in the nerve cells. It is vital in blood pressure control, digestion and nerve conduction too. You get about 4 calories of energy form every gram of carbs and examples include oats, pasta, breads, whole grains and cereals.
- Fats: This is required by the body in moderate amounts and is vital for brain activity, hormonal functions and mineral absorption. One gram of fat provides 9 calories of energy and examples include butter, avocado, oils, fatty meat and fishes.
A good knowledge of macros helps you to choose the best combination of foods and influence how they help you achieve your nutritional goals. You lose weight when you take in less calories than you burn and you gain weight when you take in more calories than you burn. Learn how to read and interpret nutritional labels and use this knowledge to improve your diet and fitness goals.