Your body needs plenty of nutrients in order to function well. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the three macronutrients that fuel your body with energy and if they’re not balanced you can experience several health issues. Every macronutrient plays a different role in your body’s functioning, affecting several processes such as metabolic function, body composition, cellular structure and function, ability to digest and absorb nutrients, immune system health and hormonal production. This is why you need to balance the intake of each of the three nutrients. Calculating macronutrients is also one of the best strategies for losing weight and maintain a healthy diet. If you decide you need to shed some pounds it’s much more important to focus on the quality of the calories rather than on the quantity, in order to make sure you do not regain the lost weight faster than you’ve lost it. To learn more about macronutrients, we’ve prepared you a handy review.

Carbohydrates

Our bodies fuel through carbohydrates. The body converts carbohydrate much more easily into energy that it can use immediately than it can convert protein or fat into fuel. Carbohydrates are essential nutrients for your brain, muscles, and body’s cells function. When we eat foods rich in carbohydrates, our body converts the food into sugars i.e. glucose that enter the bloodstream. Glucose can later either stay in the body’s cells and be stored for later use, or the sugars are used immediately for energy. There are two types of carbohydrates: complex and simple. Simple carbohydrates are further divided into monosaccharides and disaccharides and they are made up of either one or two sugar units. The body can quickly break down simple carbohydrates, and they have a quick and fleeting impact on blood sugar levels. Foods rich in simple carbs are milk, fruit juice, soda, sweetened tea, candy, syrups, honey, and table sugar. If you’ve noticed your energy or blood sugar levels to rise quickly then suddenly drop after eating dairy, candy or having fruit juice, it’s just the body’s way of reacting to simple carbs.

Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, are further subdivided into polysaccharides and oligosaccharides. They are made up of long strings of sugar units, which means they won’t break down in the body that easily, but it’ll take them longer to do so and for your body to use them as energy. Unlike simple carbohydrates, complex carbs won’t have such a quick impact on blood glucose levels. Aside from fueling your body with energy, complex carbohydrates, assist the body in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and good digestive function. Pasta, starchy vegetables, rice, bread, cereals, whole grains, beans, peas and other legumes are some of the examples of complex carbohydrates., gender, body composition goals, activity levels, intake level of other macronutrients, current metabolic condition levels, and food culture and preferences are some of the most important factors that will affect your daily intake of carbs. Furthermore, if you train hard or are generally extremely active during the day, you’ll need more carbs in order to help your body recover and optimize. People who lead a sedentary lifestyle, on the other hand, do not need to have cups of rice per day because sitting around, typing or playing video games doesn’t burn many calories. Some of the best sources of carbs are whole grains, fruits, vegetables, root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, beans and legumes. Fast acting and lower fibre carbs such as dextrose can be very beneficial for athletes and their post-workout period.

Protein

Protein is one of the crucial nutrients for the proper functioning of the brain, nervous system, the quality of hair, the look of the skin and it provides the body with building blocks (amino acids) for muscle structure. It also transports the oxygen and other important nutrients through the body. If there’s a lack of carbohydrates in the body, protein can also be used as energy, thanks to the process called gluconeogenesis where the body reverse-process proteins. Your body can create nine amino acids on its own, but in order to function properly, it needs all 11 amino acids. That’s why you should consume complete proteins in abundance in order to satisfy the daily intake of amino acids. Complete proteins such as eggs, milk, seafood products, meat and poultry are rich in all of the amino acids the body needs. Incomplete proteins do not contain all amino acids, which is why they should be consumed together in order to reach the required amount of amino acids every day. Some of the examples of incomplete proteins are nuts, seeds, and the majority of grains. It’s recommended that 10 to 30 per cent of your daily calories come from protein. However, the specific amount of proteins each person needs depends on age, gender, and activity level.

Also, if you’re trying to reach certain fitness or wellness goals, consuming more protein will be of great use. Protein is especially important to be consumed in abundance if you’re trying to lose weight because it won’t cause muscle mass to decrease. The more protein you eat the better you’ll build lean muscle mass. However, protein supplements are also known to contribute to building lean muscle and improving performance at the gym. One of the best supplements for improving performance, strength and mass is creatine monohydrate that also protects against neurological disease. Considering that creatine is found naturally in muscle cells, it’s no wonder that it’s so good at helping your muscles produce energy during high-intensity workouts and heavy lifting. When it comes to the recommended daily intake of proteins, if you’re a sedentary healthy adult and you’re not spending a lot of time training, you’ll need approximately .8 grams of protein per kg of your body mass. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs. (90 kg), you’ll need around 72 g of protein per day. Keep in mind that protein is crucial in the repair and rebuilding of your hormones and tissues as well as in maintaining a healthy immune system. Therefore, if you’ve started doing intense exercises such as strength training, or if you’ve been injured or sick, or maybe even trying to shed some holiday weight, the best thing you can do about your diet is to increase your protein intake.

Fats

Fats are the third macronutrient your body needs to function properly. Even though many people stop eating fats altogether when start dieting, it’s not the main source of weight gain. On the contrary, fat is essential for body functions. If at any moment your body goes through starvation or caloric deprivation, fats will provide it with enough energy to survive. Fat also plays a significant role in protecting your vital organs, proper cell function, and insulation. However, there’s a fine line between fat that is necessary for a healthy body and the one that contributes to obesity. Having in mind that fat provides 9 calories per gram to your body, which is more energy than carbs or proteins do since they provide 4 calories per gram, it’s crucial that fats are consumed in moderation.

If you start eating too much fat, even with proper and regular physical activity, you are likely to end up with weight gain. In addition, different types of fat can be a part of your daily diet. Dietary fats might be saturated, which means that they come mostly from meat and dairy sources. At room temperature, such fats are solid and can be shelf stable for a long time. Butter, lard, fatty meats, cheese, full-fat dairy products, are some sources of saturated fats. On the other hand, if dietary fats are unsaturated, they can further be subdivided into monounsaturated or polyunsaturated. Unsaturated fats are highly beneficial for the body because they come from plant sources. These types of fats are generally liquid even when refrigerated and have a shorter shelf life. Nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, brazil nuts, seeds, avocado, safflower, pecans, cashews, plant-based oils, such as olive oil and fatty seafood such as salmon and tuna, are some of the examples of sources of unsaturated fats. You can find polyunsaturated fats in chia seeds, cod liver oil, fish, flaxseeds, grapeseed oil, hemp seeds, pine nuts, and walnuts. Replacing saturated fats with poly or monounsaturated fats decrease the risk of various diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease. Aside from saturated and unsaturated fats, there’s also trans fat. This type of fat is slowly eliminated from the foods because of the way it is produced. Namely, trans fat starts as a polyunsaturated fat and is hydrogenated to have the same features as shelf stable fats. Processed baked foods such as crackers, cookies, and cakes are filled with saturated fats.

How you should balance macros

When you think about a healthy diet, your first thoughts go to the number of calories you’re taking. However, that’s not the right approach, because it’s much more important where the number of calories is coming from, rather than a simple amount you’re having. That’s why it’s essential that you start tracking your macros instead of calories. An unwanted amount of body fat can easily be eliminated while the lean muscle is preserved if you only balance your macros right. If you focus only on calories, chances are you will be losing fat, but your body won’t get a sufficient amount of macronutrients which can cause several problems.

A lack of fats in your diet could cause hormone issues, while the lack of carbs will lead to sluggish workouts. lethargy, foggy brain, and moodiness. Cutting back on proteins too much will prevent muscle growth because your body will use them as energy. Your daily diet should be a balance of all the three macronutrients. Building each meal around a healthy mix of proteins, carbs, and healthy fats is the easiest way to keep your weight on track. Everyone’s body may respond differently to various ratios of macros, so when you start balancing your nutrients, try to keep each range within its boundaries. Also, don’t forget to include enough of proteins, carbs and fats to reach your goal. For example, you can use a divided plate and plan your meals according to it. Approximately one-quarter of the plate should have fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. A small portion may contain fats.

If you want to track your macros, you can use a smartphone app. All you’ll need to do is input each food you have for the day, giving you updated charts and graphics in return. This way you’ll see how well you’re performing each day and if you’re having a balanced amount of all the macros. If you’re more of an old-fashioned approach kind of person, a simple pen and paper will suffice as well. You can also plan meals in advance by following the macro balance your body requires. Alternatively, you can look up some online resources or apps that will provide you with some numbers that you should write down and carry with you, so you’ll always know how many nutrients and what type of macros you’ve had throughout the day.

Final thoughts

Macronutrients are essential for the body’s proper functioning. Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the three main macros without which your body wouldn’t be able to perform well. This is precisely why you should make sure that your diet consists of a well-balanced amount of each of the macros in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Lacking even one of the main macros will cause certain problems with your body, which is why you should always try your best to have a sufficient amount of proteins, carbs and fats.

Even if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t think that by cutting back on one macro you’ll be able to reach your goal. Even if you do, it won’t last for long, because your body will recognize the deficiency and compensate for it in another way, causing a range of other problems for you. Therefore, if you’re training hard or maybe trying to lose weight, don’t count the calories but be sure to control your macros and by balancing the number of carbs, fats and proteins you eat, try to reach your goal