There’s a lot of scientific language that makes it more difficult to understand simple things. For instance, the term macronutrients can be a bit intimidating. It shouldn’t be. It’s the name of the category that includes three types of food, carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The other category is micronutrients and those include vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. There’s a lot of debate about whether counting macronutrients to lose weight is better or focusing only on calories. Eating healthy and ensuring you have enough of each micronutrient is what is important, but you can do that while you count calories.
Why is having adequate protein important and how much protein should you eat?
The amount of protein you need varies, based on sex, age and activity level, but there’s a rule of thumb that you need 0.8 grams for every kilogram of weight to get the minimum amount necessary. To find how many kilograms you weight, just multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36.You need protein for creating new cells for almost every part of the body, whether it’s your hair, bones, connective tissues, enzymes or muscles. The more active you are and the older you are, the more protein you need. Active people need it to rebuild muscle tissue and seniors don’t process protein as well, so get less benefit.
Carbs are necessary for energy.
Not only do you need carbs for quick energy, many of them are packed with nutrients. There are two types of carbs, simple and complex. Simple carbs like sugar, digest quickly, spiking your blood sugar in the process. Complex carbohydrates contain fiber and take longer to digest, leaving you feeling full longer. Carbs boost glucose level, which the brain uses for energy. Some carbs, particularly complex carbs are filled with nutrients to make you healthier. They’re necessary to make hormones, neurotransmitters, increase healthy gut bacteria and regulating blood sugar levels. Choosing carbs wisely, making them ones that are nutrient-dense is important.
You need healthy fat to survive.
People often shun fats if they’re on a diet, yet eating foods with healthy fat can actually make weight loss easier. Healthy fat keeps you feeling full longer and actually makes food taste better. It’s one reason low fat foods are counterproductive. When the fat is removed, manufacturers add sugar to make it more palatable and the sugar packs on pounds and disrupts blood sugar levels. Healthy fat is not only a good source of energy, it also is necessary to live. It is necessary to form cell membranes and plays an important role in the activity of cells. It’s necessary for the brain functioning. In fact, about 60% of the brain is fat. Fat is also necessary to absorb fat soluble vitamins A, D, K and E.
- Counting micronutrients, such as low carb diets, can be as effective as counting calories. It only works if you choose the food wisely and make it healthy, nutrient dense options.
- There are many types of fats, some healthier than others. Trans fats are never healthy. Saturated fats should be included modestly in your diet and focus more on mono and poly unsaturated fats.
- Many macronutrient diets start with a simple ratio of 50% of your calories from carbs, 25% from protein and 25% from fat.
- Eating healthy is basically a macronutrient diet. You include healthy protein, healthy fat and healthy carbs throughout the day. It provides the body with all the macro and micronutrients to be your best.
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