What are Carbohydrates fats and Proteins? – Macronutrients 101

In this era, everyone these days is hitting the gym regularly to improve their health and fitness. But, It is still the hard truth that most of the people are not aware of the main Macronutrients i.e. carbohydrates, protein, and fats.

If you want to achieve your fitness goals, then you should pay close attention to these important macronutrients. Now, the requirement is different for every person depending on their fitness goals. For example, You need to just take the maintenance calories in order to maintain a healthy body weight. If you want to gain muscle then you need to eat more i.e. be caloric surplus. On the contrary, if you want to lose weight then you need to eat less i.e. Caloric Deficit.

Click Here to Know Your Caloric Requirement

The calories can be divided among the three macronutrients in the ratio of 4:4:9 i.e. Carbohydrates & Protein have 4 Kilocalories. Whereas fats have a caloric count of 9.

Balanced consists adequate amount of Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. The Body breaks the Carbohydrates into sugar(glucose) that is utilized by the body for energy. Each gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories that are utilized by the brain and other body parts to survive.

Carbohydrates can be majorly differentiated in the following forms:

Simple Carbohydrates

These are the carbohydrates that are breakdown very easily and get dissolved in the bloodstream directly. This makes the blood sugar level to rise, hence this makes the gland “pancreas” secrete a hormone i.e. “Insulin” to level the blood sugar level. Common examples of Simple carbohydrates are white bread, potatoes, baked sweets, etc.

Complex carbohydrates

These are complex compounds of carbohydrates which are first broken down into simpler components and then the body is capable of digesting them properly. Complex carbohydrates more nutritional value than Simple carbohydrates. Common examples: Brown rice, Oats, Sweet potato, brown bread etc.

It is always suggested 50% calories in your diet should come from carbohydrates and out of this only 10 % should come from Simple carbohydrates.

Refined carbohydrates

Refined Carbohydrates are the carbohydrates that have been highly processed and all the essential nutrients have been stripped away in the process. Thus, they are quickly absorbed by the body and spike the insulin levels very quickly. Such carbohydrates are always recommended to be kept in moderation or in limited quantity. The high intake of refined carbohydrates may increase the risk of obesity and diabetes.

Protein

Protein is the main tissue building macronutrient that is required for muscle recovery that breaks down while lifting weights. During digestion, the protein is broken down into amino acids that are very helpful while repairing the damaged tissues. It is always recommended that you should 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound bodyweight.

Proteins can be differentiated as complete protein and incomplete proteins i.e. with and without complete amino acid profile respectively. In order to build muscles, it is very important that your body is capable of breaking down/absorbing the amino acids from protein. The absorption percentage is different for each protein source such as the body can easily utilize 100% of the amino acids present in the egg and from the meat sources. Whereas, the body utilizes less than 50% of the protein content present in vegetables.

Protein is the main building block for your hair, skin and overall body health. An average adult needs approximately 60 grams of protein every day (0.8 grams per pound body weight).

Fats

Fats are also a very macronutrient that is necessary for skin health and maintaining healthy hormone levels. The breaks down fats in the form of fatty acid and glycerol by the process of lipolysis.

Most of the people ignore this macronutrient, all thanks to the myth of “You get Fat by eating fat?”.

This is yet another myth originated from the books of broscience.

In reality, you would only get fat if you have an intake of unhealthy fats in your diet.

Fats can be categorized in the following types:

Saturated Fats(Unhealthy Fats)

Saturated fats also termed as the unhealthy fats are the fats that are solid at room temperature and contains a lot of hydrogen atoms. The higher intake of these fats can lead to high cholesterol levels and increased risk of cardiac diseases. Their intake should be limited and always kept under moderation. Common sources of saturated fats are Dairy Foods(Whole Milk, Butter, etc.), Hydrogenated products, Coconut milk, Palm oil, pizza, pastries, fatty snack foods, etc.

Unsaturated Fats(The Good Ones)

Unsaturated Fats are healthy fat sources. These fats help in keeping cholesterol levels low and reduced risk of cardiac diseases.

The Unsaturated fats can be categorized in Following categories:

Polyunsaturated Fats

1.Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds.

2.Omega 6 fatty acids found in soyabean oil, nuts, etc.

Monounsaturated Fats

Found in Olive Oil, Canola Oil, nuts like almonds and cashews.

Trans Fats

Trans Fats are the unsaturated fats that are have been processed and thus they have the effect of saturated fats. Having a high intake of trans fats increases in the levels of bad cholesterol and increases the risk of heart attack. Thus, it is always recommended to have a low intake of trans fats in your diet and replace the trans fats and saturated fats with polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.

 

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