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Macronutrients and what does that even mean!

I mentioned before that I’m not a nutritionist, just an enthusiast for good health and well-being and on my quest to help my own family get a little bit healthier, I’ve happened upon some realisations that I thought I’d share in this ‘one healthy journey’ blog in my website.  So if you think I’ve left out something important, or incorrect and you are an expert in that area, please comment below to let me know.  If I’ve helped explain anything that has in turn helped you on your own quest to feel a little healthier, please also let me know, that would really make my day!
So, it’s a day for busting some jargon!  We see these UNREAL looking insta famous guys and girls throwing words out like macro counting and ‘Yada yada what’s that now?’ And I just thought for those normal people out there, a little bit more like me who aren’t ‘down with the macros’ and lead busy days filled with work, potty training and regular family life, that other people might also be intrigued as to what they’re actually talking about, ie what are macros and micros – And why count them!
Basically there are 2 categories of nutrients. Macronutrients are those nutrients that the body needs in large amounts. They provide the body with energy and calories. Micronutrients are required in smaller amounts. We’ll look at macros in this post in a very simple way…
Macro nutrients are split into 7 categories: Protein, carbs and fat being the main three, then dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins and water. So when you’re ‘counting your macros’, your counting the grams of proteins, carbs or fat you’re consuming.
Let’s take a closer look:
Carbs are a vital source of energy, your body digests them quickly and turns them into sugar / blood glucose which you store as glycogen.
Protein is used to build and repair but also makes up the enzymes that power chemical reactions in the body. When you eat protein, it makes you feel fuller for longer (calorie for calorie) as it slows the release of glucose into your blood stream helping you avoid blood sugar spikes.
Fat makes up cell membranes, promotes brain health and increases the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A,D, E and K
(Some diets are based around this like the keto diet)

What are the benefits of counting your macros?

You may lose weight by eliminating excess calories from your diet.
You may gain muscle more easily if you’re strength training as you can make sure you’re getting enough protein.
You may pay more attention to what you’re eating which usually improves your food choices.
By getting the ideal combination of carbs, protein and fats, your body will function optimally.
Counting your macros. Firstly, you could use the foreverfituk.co.uk website to work out your base and active calorie total; Then decide your ideal macro nutrient breakdown.  Here’s a suggestion:
Carbs 45-65% of total calories
Fats 20-35% of total calories
Proteins 10-35% of total calories
You then tweak these percentages based on your objective, ie someone wanting to lose excess body fat might choose a meal plan based on 35% carbs, 30% fat and 35% protein.  Someone who enjoys running might need a higher carb intake, while someone on the keto diet might need more fat but fewer carbs.
Next, how to track them! You can get out some digital scales or make life easy here by using an app! Here are three to choose from:
  • My fitness pal
  • Lose It! Or
  • My Macros +
You simply tell it what food you are eating and it tells you how many calories there are in it and keeps track. Bear in mind there are free and premium versions of this app but you can still use them for this purpose for free.
One step in the right direction could be to download one of the free apps above and see how easy or difficult it might be to track what you’re eating normally before making any changes!