Macro nutrients or better know as macros are simply carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Confusion often starts with what classifies as a carb, a protein and a fat.
Carbohydrates are sugars that our body breaks down and uses for energy. We can further break down carbohydrates into 2 categories, high glycemic and low glycemic. Think of the glycemic index as the higher the number the faster the crash and need for re-fueling. This equates to feeling like you're always tired and needing to eat. I will spare the physiology behind this and save it for a future post. Carbohydrates that help fill the high glycemic categories are any w/ refined, manufactured or added sugar. Essentially, anything you would find in the middle of your local grocery store that is in a box. Key phase to be weary of, "low-fat". Fat is full of flavor, in many cases manufacturers remove the fat but add sugar to keep their product palatable. Again, I won't go into describing in detail of what not to eat, but focus on what to eat. Your daily meals should consist of two types of carbs. Starches and veggies. Starches, which tend to have a higher index than veggies are mostly found below ground i.e: yams, red potatoes ( a few exceptions are grains: oatmeal, quinoa, rice (not enriched) ). Lower index carbs, which we will refer to as veggies are above ground: all types of greens, broccoli, cucumbers, ect. As we discussed in the previous post veggies should double our protein and starch intake. Please understand this is a super simplified list and as always there can and will be exceptions. You can still have your bread and pasta, just in moderation and not every other day. A quick way to tell if the bread you're buying is in the moderate instead of high glycemic category is by looking at the fiber. The goal here is 4 grams per servings. The biggest change you can make to your nutrition is to remove processed, refined carbohydrates and replace them with the stuff that comes from the ground. For years the food pyramid has suggested a large portion of the america diet should come from grains. This is all fine and good except the grains available to the public are highly processed in order to increase their shelf life and keep the bugs away. Processing removes the germ or nutrient part of the grain, which spoils and then adds back in a host of synthesized nutrients. Great for storing on the shelf, terrible for your digestive tract to break down and actually use.
Proteins are the building blocks of the bunch. Meats, fish, beans, nuts, seeds, eggs and some grains ( quinoa, lentils) should make up your daily protein requirements. Full disclosure, my knowledge is largely through the eyes of an omnivore and as such I will be focusing on a meat based protein source for the most part. Whenever possible buying organic meat, wild caught fish will result in more nutrient dense and higher quality protein. The old saying goes " you're what you eat". It has been recently updated to " you're what your food eats". High quality and more natural diets for our fish and chicken leads to higher, more nutrient dense taco's and BBQs! I understand wild caught and pasture raised meat is expensive, especially if you're looking at the typical american serving size. We as a nation consume WAY too much meat. Most people do not need more than 0.5 grams per kilogram of lean body mass per day. High level competitive athletes are among the few that need higher amounts. Palm size or 1/4 of a 9 inch dinner plate is a round about measurement that is easy to remeber.
Fats. If you remember one thing from this post remember this, Good fats DO NOT make you fat. Refined, processed carbohydrates do. Good fats are fats from natural sources that have not been hydrogenated. Hydrogenation leads to free radicals. Free radicals lead to inflammation. Inflammation leads to the # 1 cause of death in the nation, cardiovascular disease. Additionally, they can cause a myriad of metabolic diseases, most notably diabetes 2. Fat keeps us feeling full and are a fantastic energy source, some fats give you 4 times as many molecules of ATP per gram than an equal size carbohydrate!! Good fat sources are most common in oils. Whole oils. Avocado, coconut, walnut to name a few. Olives, seeds, and animal fats are great too.
3 simple rules. 1. All your meals should include a fat, a carbohydrate and a protein. 2. Shop the outsides of your grocery store. Bugs like fresh fruit and veggies because they are nutrient dense. Ever wonder why they don't the processed stuff.... 3. Pay attention to serving sizes. 2 palms veggies per 1 palm protein and 1 palm starch. Thanks for reading. DRP