TRAINER TIP: MACRONUTRIENTS
What are macronutrients? Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. There are 3 main macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat. The only other substance that provides calories is alcohol, but it is not considered a macronutrient because it is not necessary to live. Each of these “macros” has a calorie/gram ratio. For instance, for each gram of carbohydrates there are 4 calories. For each gram of protein there are 4 calories. For each gram of fat there is 9 calories. For each gram of alcohol there is 7 calories.
So, when you are reading the back of a food label, you can determine how many calories come from carbs, protein, and fat. Let’s look at the label below as an example:
This product has 280 calories for 1 serving.
and 24 grams of protein. (Most of the time, the
nutrition facts will tell you how many calories come
from fat, and most companies round up) But let’s go ahead
and calculate it out:
Fat = 14 grams x 9 calories/gram = 126 calories
Carbohydrates = 13 grams x 4 calories/gram = 52 calories
Protein = 24 grams x 4 calories/gram = 96 calories
This is helpful to understand because when you are logging your food intake, you can keep track of what kinds of food you are eating, rather than just quantities. Our bodies need a balance of all 3 macronutrients. It is important to get a good balance of each, daily. Understanding macros is the next step in helping you reach your goals. When making decisions in the kitchen, in the pantry, or out and about. Think about what nutrients are filling up your calories. Chances are if you are filling your calories with mostly carbohydrates, then you might be feeling hungry and deprived. Try creating a balanced diet with carbs, protein, and fat.
Remember: complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats are best for creating a balanced diet. The myfitnesspal app has a great tool for looking at your daily macros. Find the pie chart and look back at the past few days and see what percentage is the highest in your diet. You might be surprised at what you find. You can alter your daily goal percentages in the settings of myfitnesspal. Try setting your goal to 40% carboydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat. Hit that goal every day for 2 weeks, and you may notice some significant changes in your progress!
Article written by Get You In Shape Personal Trainer Tarah Dickenson.