Macronutrients: Why are They Important in Our Diet

Untitled design 21

Macronutrients (macros) are the nutrients that the body needs in large quantities to remain healthy. The three main types of macronutrients are carbohydrates, protein and fats.  Each serve a specific role in keeping your body healthy.

The Job of Each Macronutrient

Fats are necessary for providing energy for the body to function. Fats help with hormone production, absorption of important vitamins, and cell growth.

Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for the brain and the preferred energy source for several body tissues. Carbohydrates are important for in maintaining body temperature, digesting food and keeping the heart beating.

Proteins are important for keeping the muscles, tissues and bones healthy. Protein is essential in the repair, maintenance and development of body tissue.

Macronutrients Role in Dieting

Macronutrients, when eaten in the right ratios will improve your weight, health and overall wellbeing.  The acceptable macronutrients that adults should consume in their diet according to the Institute of Medicine is 45-65% carbohydrates, 10-35% protein and 20-35% fat.  

However, if you’re trying to lose weight and/or build muscle you will need to alter your macronutrient intake.  This would need to be done on an individual basis and not a blanket ratio.  You would need to consider several factors such as your age, gender, fitness goals and body type (ectomorph, mesomorph or Endomorph).  Men and women develop muscle differently due to hormone levels.  Men tend to build muscle faster than women.  Women tend to burn fat for fuel where men are better at using glycogen for energy.  As we age it is harder to build muscle mass, but it is still possible.   

Macronutrient diets can be very healthy however they have a high error rate when first starting.  It is usually best to start by logging your intake to see what calories you require to maintain your current weight.  You would then want to divide out your macros from the total calories.  To do this you could go through a mathematical approach, or you could use a macro calculator that you can find online.  Then begin to tweak your calories and macros based on your fitness goals. Do you want to lose weight, maintain or gain weight?  Do you want to add muscle and/or tone your body?  It is best to give your macro diet a few months to see what results you get before you change them.  The body takes some time to adjust to change.  It will not change overnight.  

Different body types also require different macro ratios.  For example, an ectomorph, is slender and tends to lose fat easily. When trying to gain muscle they need more carbohydrates and moderate protein and lower fats.  A Mesomorph, is more muscular and needs more of a moderate carbohydrate, moderate protein and moderate fat diet to gain muscle.  An Endomorph stores more fat around the hips and midsection, so they need lower carbs, with higher proteins and fats. 

Many diets today focus on macronutrients including Weight Watchers, Paleo, Keto, If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) diet. Be sure to chose healthy chooses of carbs, proteins and fats.  Try to steer clear of processed food or anything from a bag or box AKA fast food.  Again, this is something that you want to start out slow with, you could just begin by swapping out one or two of the unhealthy choices with a healthier choice. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *