A Simple Guide To Macronutrients

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are simply the only sources of calories that we can ingest. These macronutrients include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and alcohol. A lot of people think that all calories are the same but nothing could be further from the truth. Getting the best types of each macronutrient and the correct ratio of macronutrients will help you improve your health and fitness level greatly.

Avoid simple sugars from foods such as soda, fruit juice (a little OJ is ok in the morning), white bread, white rice, cookies, candy, cakes, etc. This is nearly impossible but you should try to opt for more complex carbs when you can such as whole wheat/grain products, veggies, oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potatoes, Kashi, Total, etc. Subtract the grams of sugar from the grams of total carbohydrates to determine the amount of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs are excellent sources of fiber as well as other important nutrients and provide slow release, long lasting energy.

Adequate protein intake will help muscle recovery, increase the metabolism, decreasing appetite, and it isn't stored as easily as fat. Foods that are good for this while being low in fat include skim milk, whey/soy/casein protein powder, eggs (especially egg whites), nuts, seeds, chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish (wild Alaskan salmon is the best!), protein bars, beef jerky, fat free cottage cheese, and fat free yogurt, etc.

Avoid saturated fats (red meat, fried foods, butter, desserts), especially trans fats which cause even more artery clogs and heart disease than regular saturated fats (foods are required to display trans fat content now from 2006 legislation so most foods have removed it from their foods, in New York their mayor banned it in restaurants!). Unsaturated fats, fat that comes mostly from plant sources and is liquid at room temperature, are fine for you and can actually be beneficial to heart health, cholesterol levels, and normal body maintenance. Omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for overall health. Good sources of fat include eggs, vegetable oils, nuts, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, almond butter (very good but expensive), salmon, mackerel, and flaxseeds

While alcohol is technically a macronutrient, it should be an extremely small percentage of our caloric intake. Each gram of alcohol provides 7 calories of energy. Unfortunately, alcohol has almost no beneficial nutrient content and has many detrimental side effects on the body. Red wine does have some of the highly-touted antioxidant resveratrol but in my opinion it is not worth the damage from the alcohol. You would have to drink so much red wine to get a significant amount of this antioxidant that all of the empty calories and liver stress would overshadow any minimal benefits.

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