What's a Macro?
There are all kinds of buzzwords within the health and wellness community: HIIT, self care, BCAAs, wearables, breath work, etc. the list goes on and on. But, possibly the biggest, buzziest buzzword today is “macro,” short for macronutrients.
But what really is a macronutrient anyway?
There are three macronutrients that the body uses as fuel. Those nutrients, are protein, fat and carbohydrates. Each of these macronutrients make up the foods that we eat in order to sustain life and give us energy.
How do macros help me achieve my goals?
Protein is a building block for your muscles. If you are trying to build muscles, getting enough protein is essential to achieving your goals. Protein also keeps you fuller for longer. Carbohydrates are the go-to source of energy for your body. For a short burst of energy (like when sprinting), choose carbohydrates that can be burned off quickly easily, known as simple carbohydrates, such as pasta, white rice, cereal, white bread and sugars. For more sustained energy (like exercising for endurance), choose carbohydrates that are high in fiber such as green vegetables, quinoa, brown rice and whole grains. Carbohydrates are a great way to provide your body with energy, however, carbs not used by your body may be stored as fat. Lastly, fats help you absorb micronutrients such as vitamins. The body needs fat in order to survive (note: eating fat alone does not make you fat.) Fat helps you store energy to use later on. It also promotes healthy skin and hair. As with all of the Macronutrients, eating too much, can result in weight gain.
How can you use Macronutrients to help you better understand what you are eating?
Each Macronutrient carries a caloric value. Protein and carbohydrates are each 4 calories per gram, while fat is 9 calories per gram. So foods with higher fat content have a higher amount of calories. Again, fat is not something to fear, but it is something to be aware of, as is the case with all macronutrients. The proven way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. So using this knowledge about the calorie density of a macronutrient can hopefully help you make smarter choices about what to eat. Below is a helpful list of foods that are a good source of each macro.
Sources of Protein: chicken, beef, fish, tofu, tempeh, edamame, seitan, lentils, chickpeas, beans...
Sources of Carbohydrates: Simple carbohydrates - white bread, pasta, white rice, fruit, sugar, corn... Complex carbohydrates - whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, green vegetables, sweet potatoes...
Sources of Fat: avocados, nuts and seeds, oils, eggs, cheese...
Simply put, macros are just another tool to help you make good choices! See you back here next week on The LaunchPad.