Macronutrients, or “macros” for short, is a term that’s flung around all the time nowadays. And mostly by people who have very little idea of what it means. Some of the more astute will be able to tell you that the macronutrients are protein, carbohydrates and fats but knowledge much more beyond that is limited. Well hopefully by the end of this you’ll know a little bit more about them. Here’s your crash course on macronutrients!
So the big 3 macros are protein, carbohydrates and fats. Your body requires these in large quantities (in relation to other nutrients) in order to function and thrive. Hence the “macro” as opposed to “micro”. There are other nutrients which can be included into the macros group but these aren’t what people are referring to when they mention macros.
Protein is the first nutrient we’ll discuss. Protein is often referred to as the “building block” of the human body. Our body will use protein to repair damaged tissue and it’ll also help strengthen the immune system. Once it enters the body, it gets broken down into amino acids and this is how it’s used in the body. As a fuel source, it’s pretty poor and our body will only use it as a last resort under starvation circumstances. Sources of protein include meat, fish, milk, chickpeas, lentils and others. There are 4 calories in 1 gram of protein.
Next on the list is carbohydrates. Once digested, carbohydrates are broken down into glycogen and this is usually the preferred energy source of the body. Glycogen is stored in the muscles (as ATP. Don’t stress about this. Not important) and also in the liver. If your bodies glycogen stores are full, any excess carbohydrates consumed can be stored as body fat. A lot of processed foods contain high amounts of carbs. Things like breads and pastas but you can also get a decent amount of carbs from things like rice, potatoes and butternut. There are about 4 calories in 1 gram of carbohydrates.
Last on the list is fat. More often than not demonised but is actually hugely important. Once digested, fat takes the form of fatty acids. Fat is vitally important for a lot of processes that are happening in the body and can also be used as an energy source under the correct conditions. There are a host of different vitamins which can only be transported in the body with fat. This is why it’s so important. Excess fatty acids are stored in adipose tissue (body fat). Fat contains 9 calories per gram.
Macronutrients crash course completed. Basic but hopefully you picked up some nuggets in there.