Much Ado About Macronutrients

What are macros? Clearly, if you don’t know the answer to this, you haven’t gotten a copy of the Strategic Nutrition Guide yet. You don’t know how much you are missing out on. But anyway, macros refer to the three primary sources of fuel which your body can use to get energy – namely carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Do they matter? Yes, they do. If given an option, your body will choose carbohydrates, as fat and proteins perform many other functions. But all of them can yield energy anyway. As an aside, so can alcohol. So today’s article, legally borrowed from other sources, describes each of these macros in some detail. Perhaps after that you can grab the Strategic Nutrition Guide, which will do you a world of good.

“Carbohydrates are normally found in most foods, except meat products. Recently, some diets have recommended stripping out all carbohydrates from what you eat. Many companies have bought into this and among other things, have introduced low-carb breads. Limiting bad carbohydrates such as sugar from your diet is good, but going further and refusing to eat fruits and whole grains can potentially deprive you of cancer fighting foods.

Carbohydrates can be broken down into two main categories; simple and complex. Sodas, candy and even fruits contain simple sugars while whole grains, fruits and cereals contain complex carbs. The main difference between the two groups is their chemical structures. Simple sugars are made up of a few sugar molecules while complex carbs are made up of hundreds and even thousands of these molecules put together. In your body, the end product of both is glucose.

Another difference between the two is the time needed to digest. If you consume 100 calories of simple sugars, your body can digest it a lot faster than if you eat the same amount of calories that are made of complex carbs. This is because simple sugars are closer to the end product than complex carbs which need more time to digest. Therefore, if you eat a meal full of simple sugars, you will be hungrier sooner than if you ate the meal made of complex carbs. Making a habit of drinking soda and eating candy can add up to a lot of calories at the end of the day.

With the low carbohydrate craze, many people have turned their attention to fats. They eat more of it and think it’s fine. Depending on what kind of fat you are consuming and how much of it you take in, fats can be beneficial or detrimental to your health.

There are three main types of fat. They are saturated, unsaturated and trans fats. Saturated fats come mainly from animal sources such as meat and dairy. At room temperature, saturated fats are solid. Unsaturated fats come mainly from plant sources such as olives and nuts and contain no cholesterol. They are liquid (oil) at room temperature. Unsaturated fats are broken down further in monounsaturated (one double bond) and polyunsaturated (more than one double bond).

You might be asking yourself what a fat is saturated or unsaturated with. A fat molecule (without getting into too much chemistry) is made up of carbon atoms that have hydrogen atoms attached to them. In saturated fats, all carbon atoms have a single bond to another carbon atom and are also bonded to hydrogen atoms. In unsaturated fats, not all carbons are saturated with hydrogen so double bonds form between carbons. Depending on what carbon the double bond is formed determines the fat’s properties.

Trans fat is man-made fat. It is made by taking an unsaturated fat and putting hydrogen through it in a process called hydrogenation. Trans fat is very bad for your health. Whole saturated fat increases LDL (bad) cholesterol and very slightly increases HDL (good) cholesterol, trans fat increases LDL cholesterol and decreases HDL cholesterol.

Proteins are made of amino acids that are folded together. There are essential amino acids – those that our body cannot make, and non-essential amino acids – those that our body can make. Proteins that are made up of all the essential amino acids are said to be complete while those that lack one or more essential amino acid are incomplete. Complete proteins come from sources such as meat, eggs, cheese, dairy and soy. Incomplete proteins come mainly from vegetable sources with the one exception being soy.

The ideal source should be complete proteins. For most people that isn’t a problem. If you are worried about fat intake, try lean cuts of beef, chicken and turkey. For vegetarians whose main source comes from incomplete proteins, getting a variety of vegetables and whole grains throughout the day will ensure that all essential amino acids are consumed. Also, using soy protein (which is the only complete vegetable source of protein) is very beneficial.”

There we go. How did you find it? Clear as mud? I found it quite good, but of course, I felt it was too much information for one article. Once again, do yourself a favour by learning about it in more detail from the Strategic Nutrition Guide. You can, and should, also get this as part of the Granite Fitness Masterclass, which is more comprehensive anyway.

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