Protein, fat, and carbohydrates are the three building blocks of our diet. Together, they form the major macronutrients. But what exactly are they?
Macronutrients are just that – nutrients that we need to consume in larger quantities to sustain life and keep us healthy (and happy!).
Every day, you consume macronutrients in various quantities. Together, they help you regulate your hormones, excrete toxins, provide your brain with energy, and much more. But, we know that each macronutrient has its own properties and purpose.
Let’s dive in to each of the macronutrients and why they’re important!
What is protein?
Protein has many different functions in the body. These can include making happy hormones (neurotransmitters) to building lean body muscle. It is essential for building lean muscle mass – which is what helps us reach our ideal body composition.
Examples of protein include chicken, beef, seafood, and eggs. While getting enough protein in the diet is imperative, so is the quality! Make sure you purchase high-quality protein sources that are organic, grass-fed, and pasture-raised.
What is fat?
Fat gets a bad reputation, especially if you consider the low-fat diet phase of the 1990s. Luckily, we know more about the importance of fat in the diet and can help dispel myths regarding this macronutrient.
Fat plays a key role in gut health, brain performance, and hormone regulation – just to a name a few of its many purposes.
Did you know that some vitamins, such as vitamins D, A, K, and E all require fat to be digested in our body? This is why it is important to be mindful of low-fat or fat-free items. Low fat items are not always better for us, as we need adequate amounts of healthy fats!
Healthy fat sources include those high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are anti-inflammatory fats that can help your body in a multitude of ways. Consider incorporating olives, avocados, nuts and seeds, and fatty fish into your diet.
What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are the final macronutrient. They are the main source of quick energy within the body, and they’re necessary to help our brains function best. While we need carbohydrates for energy and brain health, most Americans are over-consuming this macronutrient.
Transitioning to whole grain carbohydrates is key for success. Plus, consider incorporating other sources of carbohydrate like berries, rice, and starchy vegetables, into your diet.
Plus, remember that carbohydrates, in excess, can raise your blood sugar. Because of this, it is important to ALWAYS pair a carbohydrate with a protein and fat source. This prevents feelings of jitteriness, exhaustion, abdominal pain, and even headaches. A great example is eating an apple with a small handful of nuts and seeds, rather than on its own.
How can you track your macronutrients?
Tracking your macronutrients can be a useful tool in understanding your diet better. However, when it comes to amounts of macronutrients, this varies fro person to person. Some factors to take into consideration include one’s fitness routine, daily activity level, personal goals, and various other health factors of conditions.
Macronutrients can be both an art and science that often takes detective work and trial and error to find a balance. However, you can streamline some of this by working directly with a nutrition coach who can help customize your macronutrient ranges to meet your needs.
At Rachel Scheer Nutrition, all of our coaches are experts in determining your nutrition needs both at the macro and micronutrient levels. Do you want personalized macronutrient coaching, extensive functional medicine testing, and nutrition support? Apply to work with our team here so we can get you dialed in for success.
Rachel Scheer is a Certified Nutritionist who received her degree from Baylor University in Nutrition Science and Dietetics. Rachel has her own private nutrition and counseling practice located in McKinney, Texas. Rachel has helped clients with a wide range of nutritional needs enhance their athletic performance, improve their physical and mental health, and make positive lifelong eating and exercise behavior changes.