What is a Macronutrient and Why is it Important?

For as long as any of us can recall the way to lose weight was strictly through watching your caloric intake. If you want to lose two stone, read the calories on the box. While calorie counting works for losing weight, not all calories are created equal. Have you ever noticed that some foods leave you hungry after you consume them, but others with the same caloric content fill you up?

You have probably noticed that just a few grams of sweets have as many calories as a kilogram of healthy foods? These concepts are at the heart of what a macronutrient (macro) is and why if you are health conscious, you should know about them. In order to fully understand, a closer look is required.


What is a Calorie?


In order to understand what macros are, you first need to know about calories. A calorie is a measurement of a unit of energy required to raise one gram of water to 1 °C. A calorie is a unit of heat, hence the old saying about burning off calories. 


A New Way of Looking at Calories


Macros take a different approach on counting calories, they account for what the calories are made up of in their equation and break it down into three distinct groups, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Here are the caloric measurements of each macronutrient group and why it does.


One Gram of Carbohydrates = Four Calories

Sometimes thought of as being unhealthy, carbohydrates are essential when derived from a healthy food source. Carbohydrates keep your brain and muscle tissue going.

Believe it or not, carbohydrates are the group of macros that you should consume the most of on a daily basis. Carbs should make up 50% to 55% of your daily macronutrient intake because it gives us the energy to make it through the day. If you exceed the number of carbs needed to function, your body will store the added calories as excess fatty tissue, so try not to exceed the daily requirement.


One Gram of Protein = Four Calories

Protein is vital because when in the stomach, it is broken down in the into amino acids known as the building blocks of life. Protein is used for things such as to repairing various tissues such as muscle, bone and skin. Protein is also used in making essential hormones and enzymes that are used in the immune system.  Carbs are the macro group you will typically consume the least of in a day; 15% of your daily food intake should be protein.


One Gram of Fat = Nine Calories

Fat is necessary for the body to function properly. Healthy fats support the absorption of vitamins, provide your body with essential fatty acids; it cannot create on its own and gives food both flavour and texture. Some fats are clearly bad such as saturated fat found in things like meat, cream, and butter. Another type of fat which can be quite harmful is trans-fat found in processed and pre-packaged foods, fast food.  Not all fats are bad healthier plant-based unsaturated fats are good for you.


So, as you can see, Macronutrients are a much more effective way to chose what your daily food intake should be.

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