The three macronutrients-fat, carbohydrates and protein, all have their own specific roles and functions in the body and supply us with calories or energy. Our bodies require these nutrients in large amounts to grow, develop, repair and feel good overall.
Each macronutrient is almost always found in every item of food, whether a protein bar or vegetable; the only difference is how the macronutrients are balanced. For example, the nutritional composition of an avocado is generally made up of 75% (good) fats, 20% carbohydrates and 5% protein. On the other hand a banana consists of 95% carbohydrates, with only small amounts of protein and fats.
One of the best ways to become aware of what you are eating is to start tracking your macronutrient as well as your total calories. It can be a little puzzling at first but when you start to analyze the food you are eating on a daily basis and pay attention to how much protein, carbs and fat each food item contains, you will be better equipped to fuel your body with foods that support your lifestyle, support your goals and support your overall health.
Fats are an essential part of a healthy diet and should account for about 15-25% of what you consume. They help by improving brain development, overall cell functioning, protecting the body’s organs and even helping you absorb vitamins found in foods.
Protein is essential for repairing and regenerating muscle tissue and cells, a healthy functioning immune system and manufacturing hormones. Protein should account for about 25-35% of your daily caloric intake depending on your goals.
Carbohydrates are comprised of small chains of sugar which the digestive body breaks down into glucose to use as the body’s primarily energy source and therefore need to make up around 40-50% of your daily caloric intake.
The best way to track macronutrients is via a calorie tracker. One of the easiest to use and most preferred trackers is My Fitness Pal. It is a free app and allows for easy logging and monitoring of caloric intake and macronutrient management.
So why log your food and track your macros? Besides the knowledge you gain about your food intake and the actual calories and macro counts associated with your food choices and how they affect your goals, several studies have shown that people who log their food are more likely to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off. In fact, according to Web MD, a researcher from one recent study says that people who logged their food six days a week lost about twice as much weight as those who logged their food one day a week or less.
If you have time to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, then you have time to log your food! Give it a try and get ready to see results - because you will!