Nutrition Blog by Simon, The September Edition
The Mystical Macro Merry-go-round
A scroll through social media or popular articles relating to nutrition will often lead to word ‘macros’ popping up frequently. Even more frequently the online experts will point to cutting out entire macro groups like carbs in order to ‘improve health’ and lose weight. Understanding each macronutrient and the fact that adding, as opposed to taking things away can be the key to starting to move the needle in the direction of health and performance. If I told you that you can focus on eating more, rather than less, doesn’t that sound like an appealing idea...
Macronutrients are divided into three groups. Proteins: Think meat, fish, tofu and so on. Fats: Nuts and seeds, oils, avocados. And Carbs: fruits, veggies, and things like rice and pasta. Of course there is some crossover within those groups and a lot of foods contain all three. The biggest thing to remember is they all provide the body with what we need daily to stay healthy, build muscle, lose weight, and improve performance at work or in the gym. Cutting out or drastically reducing any one of these groups usually has a significant negative impact, even in cases where we are looking to shift weight and burn fat.
So what does each macronutrient do?
Proteins are the muscle building and repair king. In fact they help build and repair all cells and tissues of the body. Proteins support many processes; blood clotting, fluid balance, immune responses, hormone balance, they also help us feel full and satisfied.
Carbs are the easiest form of energy for the body to access, they are stored in muscles as glycogen, support fat metabolism, and are often full of fibre. They also provide us with a vast array of vitamins and minerals.
Fats are needed for hormone production, cell creation, absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K, and provide insulation and cushioning for our vital organs
The most important thing about all three macros is that they are symbiotic and work together to get us strong and healthy. So the next time we see or read something about ‘cutting carbs or fats’ without talking about eating enough of each individual group then we should probably think a little but more carefully about if this is the right approach… In general it is not!
So if we shouldn’t cut things out or reduce things then what should we do? My advice is this. Start with eating enough of the things the body needs. Ensure each meal has good quality protein. Make sure you are eating lots of colourful veggies for that all important fibre, vitamins, and minerals. Laslty consume some healthy fats. By the end of the day if we focus more on eating the right things, and less on cutting out the wrong things we usually end up in a situation where we are full and satisfied, have given the body what it needs in terms of nutrients, have tons of energy, feel great, and don’t feel like we missed out on anything.