Think of the three macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) as the three amigos for your body’s proper functioning. You need all three on a consistent basis to function, and if you fuel right most days of the week, you can perform like a rock star!
Protein, fat and carbohydrates make up the main components of our diet. It is essential that you know “the basics” about the three amigos. This way you understand what each macro does for your body and will help guide you to make solid nutrition decisions.
Protein is made up of amino acids, which are simply the building blocks that make up protein. There are 20 different amino acids and 9 are considered essential because your body cannot make them naturally … you must eat them!
Have you ever heard the term “complete protein”? A complete protein contains all 20 amino acids, which your body is thankful for. Complete protein sources include meat, fish, eggs, dairy and VIBE. (yep – this is a special pea protein!)
Why is this amino-boosting amigo important? Protein plays a crucial role in the body, which includes building, maintaining and repairing body tissues. If you are physically active, protein is especially important for muscle tissue repair. Protein also makes up enzymes and hormones, which perform vital functions every second of the day.
Additionally, protein boosts our immune function!
Now you are wondering, how much protein should I take? Well, it’s not easy to estimate, as each individual is unique. A rough estimate is 20-35 percent of your diet.
For example, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, 400-700 calories should come from protein, which is 100-175 grams.
Don’t be afraid of this mighty amigo! Fats are essential for maintaining a healthy body. You just need to be smart about eating fats that give back.
If you are eating more processed foods (think desserts, packed items, and deep fried foods), then you are loading up on the WRONG fats.
Your body would greatly appreciate it if you consumed omega 3 and unsaturated fats. What to eat, you ask?
Think nuts, avocados, fatty fish (like salmon), coconut oil and olive oil. This shift in the types of fats you consume will support your insides!
The main function of fat is protection! Fat helps to insulate your body and protect your vital organs, promotes growth and development, aids in digestion, and boosts fat-soluble vitamin absorption (A, D, E, and K).
Hopefully, you now see that this macronutrient is vital to your daily health! If you are a numbers person, aiming for roughly 20 percent of your daily calories from fats that give back is ideal. For example, if you consume 2,000 calories per day, 400 calories should come from fat, which is 44 grams.
Perhaps feared and avoided more than fats, please welcome our third amigo, carbohydrates.
What is comical is that so many people avoid this one macronutrient … yet it is the main energy source for our bodies to process and run on! I’m not saying to go stuff your face with candy and soda pop, but don’t fear this food either.
Carbohydrates are made up of simple sugars that are broken down and enter the blood stream as glucose. Glucose is the “go-to” energy for our body, brain, heart and central nervous system.
Do you see why it would be a bad idea to eliminate carbohydrates altogether? You do want your brain to think, right?
Great sources of carbohydrates to focus on include fruits, vegetables, beans, potatoes, quinoa and rice. These foods pack fiber … which keeps things moving along in our tummies plus can help lower cholesterol!
How much carbohydrate per day is best? For most people, aiming for 40-60 percent is appropriate. That shakes down, on a 2,000-calorie intake, to 800-1,200 calories (200-300 grams).
That’s all … amigos
By stripping down each macronutrient (aka – amigo), the hope is you are not afraid. The hope is that you are appreciative for these three macros and will seek to include them in your daily regimen.
Protein, fat and carbohydrates all provide necessary nutrients for us to survive, thrive and conquer.
Your goal is to find your personal happy balance of all three so you can run at your best!
Read the “Stop The Diet Insanity And Eat For Sustainability” blog post where I continue discussing the better way to eat.