What Are Macronutrients?
If you’re interested in fitness or are on a fitness journey, you’ve probably heard of Macros. “Macros” is short for macronutrients, which are nutritional compounds that your body needs in significant quantities in order to function. Each macronutrient has a different function and impacts your body in different ways. Let’s break down each one.
Proteins are the building blocks of every cell in the body. They make up tissues, hormones, enzymes, and so much more. Getting enough protein in the diet is crucial to maintaining lean mass, especially when being physically active and trying to lose body fat. Because protein is used in so many things throughout the body, we naturally start to break down muscle mass to use that protein for other systems in the body when we are underfed. This is why it is very important to be eating a protein source at every meal when trying to reach our goals.
Fats are used in the body to support brain, nerve, heart, joint and hormone health. For a long time fats got a bad rap, but they are gradually regaining the limelight. “Healthy fats” are those considered to be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats. These can be found in fatty fish, avocado, nuts, seeds, organic dairy, cooking oils, and more. While fats are healthy and very necessary, they need to be eaten in healthy portion sizes as they do increase caloric intake more easily than any of the other macronutrients.
Carbohydrates are the number one fuel source for the body. Our brains, muscles, and GI tract all prefer to use carbohydrates for fuel. While low-carb diets are very popular right now, and do seem to work for some people, carbohydrates will forever and always be the preferred source of fuel for the body. Carbohydrates also play a key role in muscle growth, and if your goal is to increase muscle mass it is important to make sure you are also eating enough carbohydrates. The macronutrient calculator in the Fit Body app does this for you!
Alcohol – The macro everyone forgets!!
Alcohol is the macronutrient that everyone forgets! Alcohol is a type of ethanol made from fermented fruit, grains, potatoes, etc. Our bodies prioritize alcohol metabolism over anything else, as our bodies recognize that it is a toxin that needs to be eliminated ASAP. Because of this, increased alcohol consumption slows down fat metabolism and promotes the storage of other macronutrients as fat. Along with this, the extra sugar that we typically consume with alcohol (mixers, sweeteners, etc) also take the back-seat to alcohol metabolism and are more easily stored as fat.
Macronutrients play an important role in achieving physical results, but also in your body’s overall health! If you have more questions about macronutrients, leave them in the comments below!