When trying to build muscle and maintain a healthy diet, it’s easy to get confused when finding the right balance. Eating healthily doesn’t always come as second nature to some, so sometimes we all need a little help understanding it better. Learn more about macronutrients and their importance in your diet.
A Complete Guide To Macronutrients
Most of us are aware of the importance of eating a healthy and well-balanced diet, but sometimes it’s easier said than done, especially for people with busy schedules and those who are always on the go. Even people who are focused on their health, lift weights and exercise regularly, often struggle to eat a well-balanced diet.
Whether you need to eat healthier in general or want to build up muscle mass, your daily diet could be missing some essential nutrients. We’ll discuss the importance of macronutrients and give you all the information you need to know to help you get well-balanced and proper nutrition.
What Are Macronutrients?
You’ve probably heard a lot about macro diets or people who count their macros. Before we get take an in-depth look at these diet plans, it’s important to gain a better understanding of what macros are in the first place. Macros are short for macronutrients, which make up the nutrients that we need the most: protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
If you’ve heard of macronutrients, you’ve probably also heard of micronutrients; they are also nutrients but consist of vitamins and minerals. Most of the foods we eat contain all three of the macros. Food is categorized by the macronutrient which is most prevalent in the food.
Take most meats for example. Meat is often considered a protein because it has more protein than fat or carbs(You may check 50 best low carb food). Bread is best known as a carbohydrate, but some bread contains protein.
Many people have mixed feelings about protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Even though they are essential nutrients. Most people are trying to eat more of one (like protein) and less of another (like carbs or fats). As someone who is working hard to build lean muscle. You may be looking for ways to boost your protein intake without eating too many fats.
While the most talked about macros are protein, carbs, and fat, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) also considers fiber and water(do you know how much water you should drink) as macronutrients.
Protein, Carbs, and Fat: An In-Depth Look Macronutrients
Every macronutrient has a purpose in your diet and finding a balance is key. Let’s take a closer look at the importance of each macronutrient. some healthy examples, and how much you should have each day.
Bodybuilders and other active people know that protein plays an essential role in building muscle. Protein is also integral to:
- Healthy hair and nails
- Building and repairing tissue
- Making enzymes for metabolism
- Hormone production
- Healthy bones, cartilage, skin, and blood
While there’s protein in almost everything we eat, there are some foods that are healthier than others. If building muscle mass is your goal, it’s best to look for foods with a high content of protein. Some examples include lean meats, fish, cottage cheese, beans, quinoa, soy products like tempeh, nuts, and even many high-quality protein powders.
Wondering how much protein is ideal for you? It depends on your level of activity. Sedentary individuals should have about 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. While a competitive athlete may benefit from consuming between 0.54 to 0.82 grams of protein per pound of weight.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine Healthy individuals that want to increase their muscle mass. When working out need to consume 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Since eating too much protein may contribute to health issues. Most health experts recommend not exceeding more than .91 grams of protein per pound of weight.
Carbs often have a bad reputation, and many people try to avoid them to lose weight. Just like other macros, some carbohydrates are better for you than others. And if you’re a health-minded individual, you want to make sure you have a balance of good carbs.
Not only do the right carbs make you feel full for a longer period, but they also provide you with energy. Which is essential when working out and reaching new fitness goals. Carbs also play an important role in fueling your brain.
Some examples of “good” carbohydrates include seeds and nuts, whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits like apples and bananas. The goal is to consume less refined grains and sugars.
Want to know how much carbohydrates you should consume each day and what’s considered good and bad examples? Like other macros, the amount of carbs you need (and benefit from) depend on your daily level of activity.
- Sedentary adults: Carbs should make up 40 to 50 percent of total daily calories
- Frequent exercisers: Carbs should make up about 60 percent of total daily calories
Bodybuilders and other adults who work out intensively can benefit from about 70 percent of carbs as the total daily calories. This breaks down to about 3.5 to 4.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body weight).
Similar to carbs, fats have a bit of bad reputation. For decades, people were eating “fat-free” diets. Today people are starting to realize the importance of consuming good fats. Fat plays a few important roles in your body. Not only does it act as an energy reserve. But it protects vital organs, provides insulation, and helps to transport fat-soluble vitamins.
Eating a well-balanced diet with healthy fats can help prevent certain diseases like cancer and diabetes. And may also help with inflammation.
Regardless of your activity level, fat should make up between 20 and 35 percent of total daily calories. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends 30 percent or less. It’s also recommended to make sure that your total daily calories from saturated fat are less than 10 percent. This includes(butter, cream cheese, coconut oil, and full-fat dairy).
What kind of fat should you eat? Nuts and seeds, fish, and olive, avocado, or flaxseed oils are all excellent options. While dairy and red meat can be beneficial to your health as a protein. It should be enjoyed sparingly as a fat. Another good source of healthy fat is micronutrients.
Counting Calories vs. Counting Macros
Now that you have a better understanding of what macros are and how they work together. To keep you healthy you might want to know more about the popular macro diets. If you’re trying to build more muscle and shed a few pounds. A macro diet may be an ideal and easy option for you.
Keeping track of your macros isn’t difficult when you get the hang of it, but it takes a little bit of practice and organization. You might also be wondering how it differs from counting calories.
When you count calories, you’re just looking at your daily intake for the day and probably. Don’t pay attention to your percentage of macros. Counting macros focus on keeping track of your protein, carb, and fat intake each day.
Interested in keeping track of your macros rather than your calories? Started you need to figure out your daily calorie goal based on your weight, activity level and other factors. The Body Weight Planner is a helpful tool.
It’s important to figure out your macro ratio, to give you a good idea of how much you should consume. Individuals who exercise for less than an hour each day may benefit from 30 percent protein, 30 percent fat, and 40 percent carbs.
One gram of carbohydrate or protein equals about 4 calories while one gram of fat equals about 9 calories. Knowing this information may make it easier to figure out macro and calorie intake.
Adults who work out for more than two hours a day. Who have intensive training sessions would benefit from visiting with a certified sports dietitian. You can talk about your fitness goals and figure out a healthy percentage of each macro consume every day.
People who count macros benefit from using macro counting apps. Through practice and paying more attention to what you eat. You might find it relatively easy to keep track of your macro intake rather than counting calories. You don’t have to count macros but it’s definitely worthwhile learning. About what a macronutrient is and how it benefits your health.
Some Final Thoughts On Macronutrients
Whether you train at the gym every day or you’re just starting to have ripped diet. A well-balanced diet is essential. Many people of all activity levels misunderstand the benefits of eating protein, carbs, and fat. So they often opt to avoid one of the essential macros.
Leaving a macro of diet show fast results in the beginning but it’s not a healthy long-term choice. Eating macros is all about finding the healthiest protein, carbs, and fats. While avoiding the ones that provide no benefits to your overall health.