You will often hear people talk about Macros or Macronutrients. These are simply what make up our calories and our nutrition should contain a balance of these macros from mainly nutrient dense foods. The 3 main macronutrients are Protein, Carbohydrates and Fat. Both Protein and Carbohydrates contains 4kcal/g and Fats contain 9kcal/g.
An adequate level of daily Protein (approx 1.5-2.5g/ kg body weight) is recommended to assist maintenance of muscle mass when in a calorie deficit, and to develop muscle mass when eating in a calorie surplus. e.g., a 60kg female would have 90-150g of protein per day.
Please note that for example, this is not 90-150g of chicken breast, it’s the amount of grams of protein within the chicken. i.e., 100g of chicken contains around 30g of protein.
For fat loss, once you are eating adequate protein, your body doesn’t actually care about the mix of your remaining calories between carbs and fats, or in fact the source of them, whether it be rice, lettuce, butter or avocado as long as you are within your overall calorie target. Clearly for optimal health these would be from nutritious sources, but in order to actually lose fat it is not a determining factor.
Protein is the building block for collagen, muscle tissue and bone and it provides vital amino acids. This macro provides the most satiety and is important for cognitive function as well as a performance pre cursor
If Macros, specifically Protein, are not considered:-
- During a calorie deficit, there is a likelihood of losing muscle tissue as well at fat
- During a calorie surplus, there is a likelihood of gaining more fat as well as muscle
Fats are required for nutrient absorption, fat soluble vitamins specifically A, D, E and K. Fats are important for immunity and hormone function
Carbs are none essential for life, but certainly improve it! They are a big part of our cultural environment and are the preferred fuel source of muscle tissue. Carbs are stored in skeletal muscle and the liver as glycogen. When we eat carbs, 3-4g of water attaches to each gram of glycogen, therefore if you have a heavy carb day, your scale weight is likely to increase, but this is simply water. Carbs are the preferred fuel source for the brain. Our taste buds love them, our muscles love them and our brain loves them!