Balancing Macronutrients In Your Diet
Posted on: 25 April 2020 by Ben Walker
There are 3 main classes of macronutrients to include in a healthy diet. A balanced diet of "macros" consists of Carbohydrates, Proteins and Fats.
What is a good balanced diet?
A well balanced diet consists of all the nutrients needed to allow your body to function to its best ability.
When getting the proper nutrition needed on a daily basis, you should be consuming most of your calories from the following types of foods:
- Wholegrains (Rich in Fibre)
- Nuts & Seeds
- Lean Proteins (Especially Animal Proteins)
What are the 7 components that make a well balanced diet?
The 7 components that make up a a well balanced diet are carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibre, minerals, vitamins and water. These nutrients are divided into two food classes - macronutrients and micronutrients.
Today we will take a quick look at macronutrients and how to keep them even keel in your diet.
Macronutrients are the nutrients we need that are high caloric in comparison to micronutrients.
There are 3 types of macronutrients - carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
Carbohydrates are the main energy supply that our body uses for brain and muscle fuel. It is the easiest nutrient for our digestive system to break down to create fuel for our system. Carbs are broken down to form glucose. Glucose is a fast acting supply of energy. Excess amounts are stored in our liver in the form of glycogen, meaning it can be used for when energy supplies start to deplete. This is why carbohydrates are essential in our diet. If we are having a long day at the office, a sufficient amount of carbs in our diet will help us to keep going.
If we run low on glucose, we can start to feel spasms and face mental difficulties, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea and even fainting.
It is recommended in our daily guidelines to get roughly 50-65% of our calories from carbohydrates.
Examples of good sources of carbohydrates:
- Wholegrains (Barley, Oats, Quinoa, Brown Pasta and Rice)
Proteins are responsible for protecting our body. They main functions of proteins are to support cellular growth, repair, immunity and regulating metabolism. Proteins are broken down into amino acids. These substances produce chains and codes to manage all reactions needed by our system.
Our muscles need proteins to contract and support movement. Our muscle tissues and joints can't repair without the amino acids needed to repair cells and tissues. Proteins also produce proteins named antibodies. These chemicals travel freely with out bloodstream to fight any viruses or infections we may face.
It is recommended in our daily guidelines to get roughly 15-25% of our calories from proteins.
Examples of good lean proteins:
Foods like red meat are rich in nutrients but their intake needs to be monitored. Red meat has a high content of saturated fat.
Fats are macronutrients that are body uses to regulate body temperature, insulate organs and support protein development by creating enzymes and hormones. Fats also provide energy, especially though a form of fatty acids. Fatty acids are low in calories and supply the body with long lasting energy. It is important for women to get a substantial amount of fats in their diet. Women need fats to maintain menstrual function.
Fats come in good and bad sources. Good fats are very nutritious and help with all the needed functions from this class of macronutrient. However, bad fats, such as trans fat and unsaturated fat can do exactly the opposite. Bad fats can raise "bad cholesterol" and rid "good cholesterol" from our system.
For a balanced diet, it is recommended that we get roughly 20-30% of our calories from fats.
Examples of good fats:
- Chia Seeds
- Olive Oil
Examples of bad fats:
- Fried Foods
- Processed Foods
- Doughnuts, Pastries, Cookies, Packaged Snacks
Choosing Your Macronutrients
When choosing your sources of carbs, proteins and fats, make sure to always make healthy decisions. Always eat natural sources of each nutrient if possible. Natural sources are non processed (most of the time). If pasta comes in different shapes and sizes, well then you can consider that it’s highly processed. Genetically modified foods that come in tubs and ready in two minutes, you can also imagine are highly artificial. But are all processed foods bad? Not exactly. Brown pasta is rich in grains and is processed, just like wholegrain bread. Take a wise approach to everything you pick up at the local market or rich out to knowledge professionals or people who know more about "whole foods".
References and Sourced Information
Healthline: 9 Important Functions Of Protein In Your Body
London Fitness: The 7 Components Of A Healthy Diet
Everyday Health: Why Carbohydrates Are Important For Your Diet