Count Macronutrients Not Calories
It seems that today, you hear and read about counting macronutrients instead of counting calories everywhere. Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, health magazines, and even on celebrity talk shows! What is this all about? What exactly are macronutrients anyway?
We all know what they are, we just didn’t know that what they are called. Macronutrients are the three essential nutrients that the body needs on a daily basis for survival and optimal health. They are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Yes, it is that simple! Macronutrients provide our bodies with the nutrients necessary to build muscle, provide energy, and make enzymes and hormones.
What we need to understand, is the vital role that macronutrients play. Once we understand this, it becomes clear why fad diets that heavily restrict one of these vital macronutrients may not be the healthiest way to lose weight. Counting macronutrients for a healthy balanced diet can lay a solid foundation for a lifetime of eating well and feeling great. This is not a trendy fad!
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What Are the Three Macronutrients and What Role Do They Play?
Carbohydrates + Protein + Fats = Total Calories needed daily.
Carbohydrates are one of the most important macronutrients for our bodies. They are found in whole grain, vegetables, fruits, and even in milk. Carbohydrates are where our bodies get their fuel reserves from. Carbohydrates that we get from food is broken down into glucose and is then converted to energy token us functioning throughout the day. The key to eating carbohydrates is not just how many, but what type. Chocolate chip cookies have carbohydrates in them, but are not as healthy as eating a cup of whole-milk Greek yogurt with berries on top! Choose your carbohydrates wisely.
Protein is considered to be the building block of all of our muscle, skeletal, and cellular tissues. Protein also makes vital enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. Protein is made of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA), and the body needs all of these essential amino acids to survive.The primary source of all essential amino acids can be found in animal protein. There are several excellent sources of plant-based proteins as well, you just need to plan your meals a bit more carefully.
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Yes, we need fats to survive! They are one of the three necessary macronutrients needed on a daily basis. We need fats for energy, to help stay warm, to help absorb certain vitamins, and for healthy cellular tissue.
However, all fats are not created equally and it is important to choose foods that are high in essential fatty acids, Omega-3’s, and Omega-6’s. Good fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Foods that supply these healthy fats are olive oil, canola oil, nuts, seeds, salmon, mackerel, and other fish oils. Avoid at all costs trans fats, and minimize saturated fats. Here is a good resource to understand why we need essential fatty acids.
How Many of These Macronutrients Do We Need On a Daily Basis?
According to Amy Goodson RD, CSSD, LD, a good rule of thumb could be:
- If you exercise for an hour or less daily: 30% protein, 30% fat, 40% carbs
- If you exercise for one to two hours daily: 30% protein, 25% fat, 45% carbs
- If you exercise for more than two hours daily: Consider seeing a certified sports dietitian.
Unless you are a math whiz and understand how to calculate what percentage you need daily for your particular body, exercise levels, and health goals, counting macronutrients can be a lot of work. For one thing, you have to read labels and understand that these percentages must be converted from grams.
- Carbohydrates:4 calories per gram
- Protein: 4 calories per gram
- Fat:9 calories per gram
In general, foods have a bit of all of the macronutrients in them, for example – a cup of plain, low-fat Greek yogurt packs 20 grams of protein but also has 8 grams of carbs and 4 grams of fat. It can be challenging to calculate that into percentages!
The easiest and most successful way to get the proper percentages of macronutrients into your body is by investing in an app that does all of the calculating for you! There are online calculators as well, but a simple app is the easiest way to go, it will make eating balanced macronutrients so much easier and fun.
The bottom line is, that you need all three of this essential macronutrients in your diet. Greatly restricting any of these nutrients may be harmful to your health. If you are embarking on a weight loss journey, or just want to eat well, and provide all the nutrients that your body needs for optimal health, then eat good carbohydrates, quality protein, and healthy fats. Investing in a good weight loss and cleansing system that has all of the three macronutrients in them, such as Isagenix 9-day or 30-day cleansing system, is a smart way to lose weight. The Isagenix program is scientifically formulated for healthy weight loss and nutritional support.
Once you understand the role of each of these nutrients, then you can always just eyeball your plate as well. Amy Goodson, R.D.suggests that your plate should be about a quarter of lean protein, a quarter of whole grains or starchy vegetables, and then load up the rest of the plate with non-starchy vegetables (which are still carbs) add a little bit of healthy fat, and you are on the road to eating a healthy diet.