Macronutrients also known as macros are the nutrients we need in larger quantities, micronutrients are nutrients are the nutrients we need in smaller amounts like our Vitamin C, Vitamin D. The main Macronutrients we need daily are protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
Protein: Protein is made up of different amino acids that help our body repair broken down muscle tissue, build muscle and is the best source of B12 vitamins to nourish our body. Protein also has a thermo genic effect which means it takes more energy for our bodies to break it down vs. when we consume carbohydrates plus doesn’t spike blood sugar so you feel full longer and have more energy. Most Americans truly need to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.”
All food made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds are considered part of the protein group, according to the USDA. Most people eat enough food in this group, but they should select leaner and more varied selections.
According to Matthew Kadey, a registered dietitian writing for Bodybuilding.com, some high-protein meats include:
Top or bottom round steak (23 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)
Lean ground beef (18 grams per 3-ounce serving)
Pork chops (26 grams per 3-ounce serving)
Skinless chicken breast (24 grams per 3-ounce serving)
Turkey breast (24 grams per 3-ounce serving)
Sockeye salmon (23 grams per 3-ounce serving)
Yellowfin tuna (25 grams per 3-ounce serving)
High-protein dairy foods include:
Greek yogurt (23 grams per 8-ounce serving)
Cottage cheese (14 grams per half-cup serving)
Eggs (6 grams per large egg)
2 percent milk (8 grams per cup)
Some other high-protein foods are:
Some canned foods, like sardines, anchovies and tuna average around 22 grams of protein per serving
Navy beans (20 grams per cup)
Lentils (13 grams per quarter-cup)
Peanut butter (8 grams per 2 tablespoons)
Mixed nuts (6 grams per 2-ounce serving)
Quinoa (8 grams per 1-cup serving) (the only plant sourced complete protein)
Edamame (8 grams per half-cup serving)
Soba noodles (12 grams per 3-ounce serving)
Incomplete proteins: Incomplete proteins are protein’s that do not have all of the amino acids needed to make a complete protein. All “vegan” and vegetarian sources of protein need to be paired correctly to make a complete protein. Incomplete proteins can be combined to create complete proteins. Beans and rice, peanut butter and whole grain bread, and macaroni and cheese are examples of combinations that create complete proteins.
All Carbohydrates are broken down into sugar in the body. In fact, specific organs, such as your brain, need glucose in order to function properly. You also need carbohydrates to fuel longer workouts such as long runs, and to be able to train harder without fatigue. On another note I will define long runs and long workouts being anything over 1 hour, and or any run over 4 miles is considered a longer distance run you will need to fuel properly for.
There are two different types of carbohydrates Simple and complex carbs.
Simple Carbs- These are your quick burning sugars i.e cane sugar, honey, syrup, agave nectar, molasses, milk/yogurt, and fruit. Fruit does contain a natural sugar called fructose, however, fruit also has vitamins and minerals (these are your micronutrients: nutrients needed in small amounts), phytochemicals (not a needed nutrient, but can have positive effects on health), and fiber. Fiber is not digested and therefore, increases the amount of time needed to break down the food item.
Complex Carbs- Complex carbs move out of your body slower, a lot are high in fiber which help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Even though they are not sweet they will release glucose quickly just like a sweet simple carbohydrate. These include starches and grains: rice, pasta, bread, and starchy vegetables (potatoes, peas, corn
Trans fat should be cut out of the diet. Most trans-fat comes from hydrogenating or adding hydrogen molecules to unsaturated fats. This produces hydrogenated oil. These can be found in margarine, shortening, baked goods, dough’s, and fried foods. If you see trans-fat on the label it should be avoided.
Saturated fat: In large amounts, saturated fat is known to increase cholesterol levels and can increase your risk for heart disease. Decreasing the amount of saturated fat in your diet can be beneficial. Saturated fat is found mostly in animal sources with high fat contents such as fatty beef, lamb, pork, poultry with skin, lard, cream, butter, full fat cheese, and dairy. Lean proteins such as chicken tenderloins, buffalo, and lean beef are great options.
Unsaturated fat: These are your healthy fats like fish oils from salmon, sardines, olive oil, nut butters, avocado and olives. These can reduce your risk of cardiac events as well as provide a great source of healthy fats to support the transport of some vitamins like vitamin D.
Carbohydrates contain 4 kcal per gram
Proteins contain 4 kcal per gram
Fats contain 9 kcal per gram (this is roughly double the amount found in the other two macros)