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What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients are nutrients the body requires in large amounts. There are 3 main macronutrients: Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. Each one of these macronutrients has a special job in our body.

Protein

Carbohydrates

Fats

A Little Background on Protein

Protein is a word thrown out a lot. You hear too much protein harmful, too little protein is harmful, so what is just right? Before we do that, let's understand what protein is and what does.

A Little Background on Carbs

Carbs are probably the most villianzied macronutrient. Since the advent of the Atkins diet, low carb diets have been on the rage. Before we judge carbs, let's understand what they are and why its important.

A Little Background on Fat

Fat has also been a villianzied macronutrient. Since the USDA put out the Food Pyramid in 1992, it advocated a diet low in fat as it linked fat to heart disease. Recent science has disproved the efficiecy of the 1992 pyramid many times.

What is protein?

Protein is a molecule that is most commonly known to make our muscles. They give our muscles density and volume. But protein does much more. Proteins and amino acids (the building blocks of protein) produce other molecules in our body - like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies. Without protein our body can not function properly.

What are carbs?

Carbs are the sugars, starches, and fibers found in fruits, grains, vegetables, and milk products. Carbs are the number one way our body gets energy. Beyond energy, carbs play an important neurological role. Certain neurotransmitters depend on carbs. Our body does not function properly without carbs.

What is fat?

Fats are molecules typically found in the animal bodies, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Oils are primarlily made of fat in liquid form. Fat plays an important role in energy, hormones production, cell integrity, transport, and for our nervous system. Fat is incredibly importnant.

How Much Protein do you need?

The basic and most general recommendation for protein intake is .4 gram per pound of body weight. This is for the a healthy, but minimially active adult. For example, a 150lb adult would need to consume 60g of protein. There is a HUGE BUT here. The big BUT is this is to avoid protein defeciency. This means it is the minimal amount needed to maintain muscle mass and so your body won't break down.

For people who workout regulary, protein needs increase to somewhere between 7-1g/lb of bodyweight. So back to our hypotheical 150lb adult would need to consume somewhere between 105g to 150g of protein per day.

Wait, another BUT here. These are again are basic levels of protein so our body functions properly. This number changes dramtically from person to person. Different protein numbers may be needed to support immune function, metabolism, satiety, weight management, and performance.

The bottom line is: You need very little protein to survive, but depending on your goals, your protein number will be very different from the baseline number.

How Much Carbs do you need?

The basic and most general recommendation for protein intake at least 130 grams per day (25 grams of fiber) as a general baseline for adults. This is for the a healthy, but minimially active adult. The amount of carbs that should be consumed depends on body size and activity levels.

The larger and more active the individual, the more carbohydrates that will be needed.

What kind of Carbs are there?

There are two kinds of carbs: Simple and Complex. They are named after their structure on a microscopic level. Simple carbs are smaller and consist of only one or two sugar groups linked together. On the other hand, complex carbs are larger and made up or three or more sugar groups linked together.

How Much Fat do you need?

The basic and most general recommendation for fat intake at least 45 grams per day as a general baseline for adults. This is for the a healthy, but minimially active adult. The amount of fat that should be consumed depends on body size and activity levels.

The larger and more active the individual, the more fat that will be needed.

What kind of fats are there?

Saturated fats are found primarily in animal sources like meat, egg yolks, yogurt, cheese, butter, milk. This type of fat is often solid at room temperature.

Unsaturated fats include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which are typically found in plant food sources and are usually liquid at room temperature. Common food sources include olive and canola oil, avocados, fish, almonds, soybeans and flaxseed.

Trans fat has recently been added to the nutrition labels of most products. Trans fatty acids are created (naturally or man-made) when an unsaturated fat is made into a solid. Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods that may contain trans fat.

How do I figure out how much protein I am eating?

The easiest way to do this is to track your food. Years ago, this was a nightmare. You would have to write down everything you ate and then calculate everything at the end of the day. Today, apps dominate our world and there are plently of food tracking applications. We recommend using an app called MyFitnessPal. It is the largest database and the easiest to use. To get started, you can use our How to Start Tracking Your Food Guide. You can access the guide here:


How To Start Tracking Your Food Guide

How do I figure out how much carbs I am eating?

The easiest way to do this is to track your food. Years ago, this was a nightmare. You would have to write down everything you ate and then calculate everything at the end of the day. Today, apps dominate our world and there are plently of food tracking applications. We recommend using an app called MyFitnessPal. It is the largest database and the easiest to use. To get started, you can use our How to Start Tracking Your Food Guide. You can access the guide here:


How To Start Tracking Your Food Guide

How do I figure out how much fat I am eating?

The easiest way to do this is to track your food. Years ago, this was a nightmare. You would have to write down everything you ate and then calculate everything at the end of the day. Today, apps dominate our world and there are plently of food tracking applications. We recommend using an app called MyFitnessPal. It is the largest database and the easiest to use. To get started, you can use our How to Start Tracking Your Food Guide. You can access the guide here:


How To Start Tracking Your Food Guide

Why is important to get enough protein?

Proteins and amino acids are essentially to our body functioning at its cellular level. Protein helps replace worn out cells, transports various substances through the body, and helps growth and repair. Protein is also important to hormone regulation that control how our body uses fat.

Why is important to get enough carbs?

Carbs are important for the obvious reason of energy. As we discussed above, there are also mental benefits to carbs as our brain requires carbs to create certain neurotransmitters.

Why is important to get enough fat?

Fat play 6 important roles in our body:

  1. It provides energy
  2. It helps manufacture and balance hormones
  3. It forms our cell membranes
  4. It forms our brains and nervous systems
  5. It helps transport the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K
  6. It provides two essential fatty acids that the body can’t make: linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid), and linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid).

Can eating too much protein harm your kidneys?

This is total myth.

What about the glycemic index for carbs?

The glycemic index refers to how fast our body breaks down carbohydrates. Obviously, simple carbs will break down easier because they are composed of less sugar groups. Complex carbs will take longer to break down and therefore you won't get a huge burst of energy.

What is transfat all about?

Basically, trans fats are created by taking an unsaturated fat (soft or liquid at room temperature) and bubbling hydrogen ions through it. This is done to improve the mouth feel and increase the shelf life of a food. Although that sounds like a bad thing, not all trans fat configurations are harmful to health. Some do occur naturally, such as the hydrogenation of unsaturated fat that happens in the rumen of cows and sheep. (CLA is an example of a trans fat that may be beneficial to health.) It’s just the man-made ones that we should probably steer clear of.

Some Super Sciency Stuff about Protein
(Don't read unless you want your head to explode)

Proteins are made of amino acids. These amino acids are joined together by chemical bonds and then folded in different ways to create three dimensional structures that are important to functioning.

These are the four structures amino acids can express themselves:

There are two main categories of Amino Acids: Essential & Non-Essential

Essential Amino Acids are amino acids our body can NOT make and we have to eat. Non Essential aminos are amino acids are body can make for itself.

There is another category called conditionally essential amino acids. These are ones our body can usually make, but not always in the quantity needed.


Essential Amino Acids Conditionally Essential Amino Acids Nonessential Amino Acids
  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine
  • Arginine
  • Cysteine
  • Glutamine
  • Tyrosine
  • Alanine
  • Asparagine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Proline
  • Serine

Some Super Sciency Stuff about Carbs
(Don't read unless you want your head to explode)

Carbs are made of sugars known as saccrides. One sugar is know as a Monosaccride. Two sugars are known as a disaccride. Three sugars are known as a trisaccride. Four or more sugars together are known as a Polysaccrides.

Monosaccrides Di & Tri-saccharides Polysacchardies
  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Galactose
  • Mannose
  • Ribose
  • Sucrose
  • Maltose
  • Lactose
  • Trehalose
  • Starch
  • Dextrins
  • Glycogen
  • Inulin
  • Raffinose
  • Cellulose
  • Pectin

Here is what these molecules look like:

Some Super Sciency Stuff about Fat
(Don't read unless you want your head to explode)

Fats are organic molecules made up of carbon and hydrogen elements joined together in long groups called hydrocarbons. The arrangement of these hydrocarbon chains, and their interaction with each other, determines fat type.

The simplest unit of fat is the fatty acid. Fatty acids are composed of simple hydrocarbon chains with special chemical groups at each end: a methyl group on one end and a carboxylic acid group at the other. There are two general types of fatty acids, based on the level of saturation (the number of hydrogens associated with each carbon along the hydrocarbon chain): saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids can be broken down into monounsaturated fatty acids (in which only one carbon is unsaturated) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (in which more than one carbon is unsaturated). The often-discussed omega-3 and omega-6 fats are both polyunsaturated fatty acids; the specific locations of unsaturated carbons along the fatty acid chain give them their name and different functions. Fatty acids can be joined together to form what are called triglycerides. As the name implies, three fatty acids join together with a glycerol molecule to make up a triglyceride. Triglycerides are the major form of fat in the diet, and the major storage form of fat found in the body.

The simplest unit of fat is the fatty acid. Fatty acids are composed of simple hydrocarbon chains with special chemical groups at each end: a methyl group on one end and a carboxylic acid group at the other. There are two general types of fatty acids, based on the level of saturation (the number of hydrogens associated with each carbon along the hydrocarbon chain): saturated fatty acids and unsaturated fatty acids. Unsaturated fatty acids can be broken down into monounsaturated fatty acids (in which only one carbon is unsaturated) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (in which more than one carbon is unsaturated). The often-discussed omega-3 and omega-6 fats are both polyunsaturated fatty acids; the specific locations of unsaturated carbons along the fatty acid chain give them their name and different functions. Fatty acids can be joined together to form what are called triglycerides. As the name implies, three fatty acids join together with a glycerol molecule to make up a triglyceride. Triglycerides are the major form of fat in the diet, and the major storage form of fat found in the body.