Many people approach dieting with the incorrect mindset which means that they can be easily warped into starting fad diets that are not sustainable for the long term. On the other hand, your macronutrients play a very big part in maintaining a healthy diet but very few understand what they are and how they should be approached. Here at The Healthy Living and Fitness, we have decided to briefly go over everything you need to know about macronutrients…
This macronutrient is thought to be the most important one of all. It is made up of long chains of amino acids and whilst some of these can be made by the body the rest must be consumed through the food we eat, hence why protein is so important. The body does not use protein for energy unless it is in starvation mode as we require the macronutrient to synthesise many components like muscle fibres, ligaments and tendons. If you are looking to put on muscle during exercise then protein should play a big part in your diet but luckily it can be found in a range of meat, fish and dairy products.
As our primary source of energy, food in the carbohydrate macronutrient falls into one of two categories; simple or complex. For example, fruit and table sugar are simple carbohydrates whereas bread, rice and potato are complex carbohydrates. Regardless of whether a carb is simple or complex, it is made up of small sugar units known as glucose and fructose. The main directive of carbohydrates is to provide the cells in the body with enough energy to carry out their necessary functions. Eating too many carbohydrate based foods is why many people find themselves gaining weight as the excess (that which isn’t used for energy) is converted into fat by the liver and stored in the fat cells.
Also known as lipids, many people are unaware that fats are actually essential for survival. After all, we need them for energy when we are at rest, absorbing fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K, protecting the internal organs and maintaining healthy cell membranes. Fatty acids are the buildings blocks of fat, however, fat itself can be separated into different categories just like carbs. For example, unsaturated fats scientifically contain fatty acid molecules with at least one double bond and this makes them a healthy form which can be found in nuts and fish. On the other hand, saturated fats contain fatty acid molecules without any double bonds which makes them a bad form that can be found in things like pizza and butter. Interestingly, eating more saturated fat has been linked to an increase in cholesterol.
By ensuring that your protein, carbohydrates and fats are balanced in a way that complements what you are trying to achieve you can create a diet that is much more sustainable. For example, cardio-based lifestyles will benefit from a higher level of carbohydrates whereas a bodybuilder will want to focus on their protein intake. To find out more information, get in contact with a member of The Healthy Living and Fitness team today!