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What Are Macros?
Written by Caleb Laps on 8/9/19
Macros are carbohydrates, fats,  and proteins, all of which assist our body in key functions and supply our body with energy. Most of the food we eat is usually made up of proteins, fats, and carbs. However, their specific classification depends on how the macros are balanced. For example, a banana is generally 93% carbs, 3% fats, and 4% protein. On the other hand, a grilled chicken breast is made up of 21% fats, 79% protein, and 0% carbs. It’s important to understand the role each macro nutrient plays in our body and adjust your consumption based on your goals and activity level.
Carbohydrates, also known as  carbs, have four main functions in our body. The first and main function of carbs is to provide all the cells in our body with energy. When broken down, carbohydrates are converted into glucose (sugar) molecules and provide our body with 4  calories per gram. Some cells, such as red blood cells, are only able to use glucose to produce energy. The second function of carbs is energy storage. Once our body has enough energy to perform its functions, excess glucose is converted into glycogen and stored in our liver and muscles for later use. The third function of carbs is the production of macro molecules such as DNA, RNA, and ATP. The fourth main function of carbs is protein sparing. When there's not enough glucose to meet our body's needs, amino acids will be  used to make glucose. Unlike carbs and  fats, there is no way for our body to store amino acids and so, the process of turning amino acids into glucose molecules requires the destruction of amino acids, mainly from our muscle tissue. Like every nutrient, it's important to be consuming the correct amount for your body and activity level, having too much or too little in your diet can have adverse effects. Some great sources of good carbs are whole grain bread, pasta, potatoes, fruit, and veggies.
Proteins are macro molecules  made up of many different combinations of amino acids. There are around 20 different amino acids found in our body, nine of which are essential amino acids meaning, our body cannot produce them, so they must be obtained from our diet. During times of fasting, starvation, or inadequate carbohydrate intake, proteins can be used as an energy source, providing our body with 4 calories per gram. It is recommended to consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight to increase muscle mass. Some good sources of protein include fish, beef, poultry, dairy, beans, soy, and protein powders. There are three 
common types of protein powders, whey, casein, and plant based.  Both casein and whey are derived from milk. Whey is typically digested more rapidly and easier on the stomach for lactose sensitive individuals. Casein is usually digested more slowly, turning into a gel when it interacts with your stomach acid, allowing amino acids to be absorbed at a slower rate. Plant based protein powders are made up of a combination of at least two different plant protein sources (Alfalfa, brown rice, pea, hemp, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.) in order to provide the body with all of the essential amino acids. Plant proteins are also higher in fiber content meaning, they will be digested at a slower rate than animal proteins. 
Fats are the most energy dense  out of all the macro nutrients, providing our body with 9 calories per gram. Though the thought of eating fats when you're trying to lose weight may seem contradictory, fats are an essential part of any healthy, well-balanced diet. Besides  being a high energy source, fats play a key role in many different functions in our body. The first, is the storage of excess energy into adipose (fatty) tissue. Unlike glycogen, fat cells are packed together tightly, allowing them to store more energy, longer, in less space. While having some body fat is crucial for our survival, too much fatty tissue can lead to numerous health issues such as cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Another key function of fats is regulating our body temperature and insulating and protecting our  vital organs. Fats also help our digestion, aiding in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins. Not all fats are created equally, "bad" fats such as saturated and trans fats raise LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) while "good" fats, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated (omega 3 and omega 6) fats, can help lower LDL levels. 

Some examples of the different types of fats are: 

Monounsaturated Fat: Avocados, olive oil, peanuts, cashews

Polyunsaturated Fat: Fish, tahini, flaxseed, chia seeds, walnuts

Saturated Fat: Fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb, butter, coconut oil

Trans Fat: Processed foods, fried foods, baked goods, margarine

About Author: Caleb Laps

Helping people reach their fitness goals is my passion. If I'm not helping you then I'm wasting my time. If you would like to learn more information about working with me directly to reach your health and fitness goals, (click here) to apply for a call with me. We'll go over where you're at, where you want to be, and create an exact game plan to get you there! The new you can start today! What are you waiting for?
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