What are Macronutrients and Why You Need Them?

There are certain factors that we should know about foods in order to create a balanced and healthy diet. One of those factors is the nutrients that the foods provide and how much nutrients they actually have that could benefit us and our bodies. Specific foods would usually have nutrients that are found exclusively in them or rarely in others, while there are foods that are rich in the essential nutrients that our body needs. These essential nutrients are called “macronutrients,” and we need to consume them every day so that we have the energy to move. What are these macronutrients? And why do we need them in our daily life? To find out more about them, let us dive into the guide on macronutrients and their importance.

What are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are the nutrients that we need to consume in large quantities in order for our bodies to get enough energy to function. Some researchers call macronutrients the “cornerstones” of a healthy diet as, without them, you wouldn’t be able to have a healthy life even if you consume other nutrients. These macronutrients are usually transformed into energy by our body, and this energy is then used to keep organs or systems running, as well as to keep you moving. So, macronutrients are very important for us since they are basically our fuel.

There are three types of macronutrients that have been proposed by researchers and nutritionists, and these are carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The nutrients mentioned are so important that even the strictest diet for weight loss cannot leave them out despite being three of the main factors as to why we gain weight.  These three macronutrients serve different functions in our body, but they all do contribute to giving us energy. Now, let us talk about these macronutrients one by one.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates produce the main energy source of our body called glucose, which is created after breaking down carbohydrates found in foods. Besides breaking down into glucose, carbohydrates are also responsible for synthesizing amino acids, a protein building block that is beneficial for good bowel movement. There are two types of carbohydrates that we can digest, and to know more about them, below is a brief description of these types of carbohydrates.

Simple Carbohydrates

As its name suggests, simple carbohydrates are simple nutrients that are easy to digest and break down into glucose and energy. These simple carbohydrates contain one to two sugar molecules, so most of the foods that have simple carbohydrates are quite sweet, like milk and honey. Simple carbohydrates are also found in fruits, but they are also accompanied by other nutrients like vitamin C, so fruits are very nutritious since they both have macronutrients and micronutrients.

Complex Carbohydrates

The second type of carbohydrates is complex carbohydrates, which are harder to digest and break down compared to simple carbohydrates. As opposed to the first type that has only one or two sugar molecules, complex carbohydrates have a long string of sugar molecules that produces a savory taste for the foods. Complex carbohydrates are usually found in grains and starches, but they are also in beans, seeds, and nuts. Most of the foods that have complex carbohydrates contain fiber, which is a peculiar type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down but can be digested. Since fiber will retain its shape and size even after being digested, it is mainly used to get rid of body waste since many elements can stick to the fiber as it moves out of your body.

Protein

Protein is the type of macronutrient responsible for building and repairing tissues, allowing our body to grow, and keeping our muscles firm. There is a reason why many bodybuilders take protein supplements every day, and that is because the macronutrient helps our muscles stay firm while also repairing any tissues that have been damaged by exercise. 

As mentioned before, amino acids are the main building blocks of protein, so carbohydrates are also needed to create protein. Some amino acids can be created by our body by itself (although it does need carbohydrates to perform this feat), but there are also some that should be consumed since they are found in foods rich in protein.

Fat

Fat gets a bad rep among people that are trying to lose weight, as this macronutrient is primarily used by our body to store energy and provide protection for our organs. The protection that fat provides would appear as layers of visible fat underneath the skin, and too much of these layers would make us look fat or overweight. However, if you completely get rid of fat in your diet, there is a high chance that your body will not be able to use energy well since it doesn’t have the macronutrient needed for storing the energy when not in use. So, fat is still an important macronutrient to consume, but for those that are on a diet, they can just consume a healthy amount of fat per day.

The one type of fat that people on a diet should avoid is trans fat, as it is the one that causes severe problems to the body like obesity and even heart illnesses. However, the other type of fat called saturated fat could also cause dilemmas to our body if we consume too much of it. So, consuming fat should always be monitored, as this macronutrient would be more problematic than nutritious if we don’t control our intake of it.

These three macronutrients should always be part of our daily diet. But, consuming too much of anything could be dangerous for our body, and despite being important for nutrition, these macronutrients would cause damages if we don’t get cautious of how much we consume them. Create a balanced diet that should only have a sufficient amount of macronutrients to stay fit and healthy.

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