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Marcos: The Importance of Proteins, Carbs & Fats

Posted on 5th July 2017

What are “macros”?

Macros (macronutrients) is a term used to describe the three key food groups we all require for our bodies to function. These include carbohydrates (to fuel energy),  proteins (to build and repair muscle) and fats (to keep you satiated).

 

Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats (Macronutrients) play an important role to facilitate weight loss/fat loss and or muscle building goals.

macros: the importance of carbs fats protein

 

Every person has specific individual needs depending on lifestyle / body composition and goals. Twill play a major part in how much each person needs of each “macronutrient “. Macronutrients are the collective name for carbohydrates, proteins and fats.  Manipulating and getting the amounts of each one correctly can play a huge part in obtaining a persons body and physique goals.

It is important to understand the amount of macronutrients will vary per person depending on goals and lifestyle. For example, carb intake for a highly active person will be extremely different to someone who works in an office and perhaps does little exercise. Carbs are an ideal go-to energy source for the body especially during high intensity exercises. Many PTs often see clients consuming the incorrect amount of carbs, however not enough protein and fat for their lifestyle.

Let’s take a quick look at each individual macronutrient and the correct sources you should have in your diet.

 

Carbohydrates

 

complex carbohydrates

Carbs are the body’s main fuel source.

They are broken down in the body to make glucose the primary fuel that the body uses to power all cellular activity. The heart, brain, kidneys and muscles all need carbohydrates to function. The incorrect amount of carbs can result in brain fogginess, mood swings and weakness. Unless you are doing a Ketogenic diet (low carb, high fat and moderate protein) with the correct process, then having the correct amount of carbs in your diet is important.

Reliable sources of complex Carbohydrates include:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Squash
  • Banana
  • Oats
  • Rice
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Colourful vegetables (peppers, beets, carrots)

 

Protein

good sources of protein
Proteins are needed to help the body repair and make new cells and also help you feel fuller for longer.
Protein has what’s known as a higher TEF (Thermic effect food) which means it has more of a thermic effect than fats and carbs. What this means in simple terms is that the body burns more calories to process protein than it does to process carbs or fats. This doesn’t mean however that you should go crazy on the protein as the other 2 macronutrients are equally important in fat loss and muscle building. What I am emphasising here is it is important to get the right amount depending on your workouts, lifestyle and goals.

Good sources of protein

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Tofu
  • Quorn
  • Eggs
  • Protein powder
  • Steak
  • Quinoa

 

Fats

Bad Fats

There are several types of fats . The unhealthy fats are called saturated fat and trans-fat and can be harmful to your heart and increase blood cholesterol .

Unhealthy fats are:

  • Butter
  • Margarine
  • Beef or pork fat
  • Fatty cuts of beef, pork, and lamb
  • Dark chicken meat and poultry skin
  • High fat dairy foods (whole milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, ice cream)
  • Lard
  • Fried foods (French fries, doughnuts, deep-fried fast foods)
  • Baked goods (cookies, cakes, pastries)

 

Good Fats

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy fats. This is where I bring up fad diets where at a point in our marvellous evolution, people began to attack specific food groups such as carbs and fats. In consequence this started an unhealthy relationship with these food groups, and this is where a lot of confusion has originated. It is important to differentiate good and bad fats.

Good fats are hugely important and a major source of energy for the body.

examples of good fats

Examples of healthy fats include:

  • Nuts (almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans)
  • Vegetable oils (olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil)
  • Peanut butter and almond butter
  • Avocado
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Sardines
  • Trout
  • Chia seeds

 

So again, important to have good fats in your diet. You are what you eat, however a more specific statement is YOU are what you ABSORB.

It’s vital that we know why we need each nutrient. A better understanding of what we are putting in our body is important and can and bridge the gap that fad diets and products fill in. A poor diet may be one of the reasons why we may feel, tired, irritable, have a lack of energy, or why we are not getting the results we are desperately working towards.

Along with intaking the correct amount of nutrients, motivation and willpower are needed in order to achieve your goals. Willpower itself is a finite resource which is linked to the amount of energy in your system (glucose) and sleep that you have.

It’s important to understand how diet can impact our whole lives holistically. For example, a Ferrari with a Peugeot 106 engine will never run like a Ferrari!

 

Written by

Kira Ellis

Transformation Coach, Personal Trainer Nutritional Advisor at Xtremecsc Cheltenham

 

 

References:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/423135-importance-of-carbohydrates/

http://sciencedrivennutrition.com/fat-and-carbohydrate-utilization-during-exercise/

https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/ultimate-list-40-high-protein-foods.html


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