When you hear people talking about macro nutrients, you may not know what they are talking about. Large nutrients, like a couple of extra-large nutrition bars? Well, not exactly, although our nutrition bars can definitely help. Nutrients are different substances your body needs to grow and maintain itself. Macro does mean large, but the term macro nutrients does not refer to the size of the nutrients. The term is referring to quantity. Macro nutrients are, specifically, nutrients that are needed in large amounts.
The Specific Macro Nutrients Needed and Why
There are three specific macro nutrients that your body needs for survival:
- Proteins, which provide 4 calories with every gram consumed
- Fats, which provide 9 calories with every gram consumed
- Carbohydrates, which provide 4 calories with every gram consumed
There are various reasons why you need each one of these macro nutrients. Understanding the function of each macro nutrient for your overall health can help you better choose the foods you consume.
Proteins are needed for:
- Maintaining healthy immune system functions
- Repairing tissues
- Manufacturing enzymes and hormones
- Preservation of lean muscle mass
The USDA recommends that you get between 10-35% of your daily calories from proteins. You will find proteins in foods such as meats, fish, poultry, cheese, legumes, nuts, seeds, milk, and various vegetables.
Fats might seem like an unnecessary part of your diet, but they are needed for:
- Maintenance of cell membranes
- Cushioning for internal organs (think shock absorption)
- Absorbing vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as carotenoids
- For taste and stability in different foods
The USDA recommends that between 20-35% of your daily calories should come from fats. There are three types of fats: trans fat, saturated fat, and unsaturated fat. In general, the less trans fat and saturated fat you have in your diet, the better, due to the increased risk for heart disease. Unsaturated fat can actually reduce your risk of heart disease. You can find fats in nuts, seeds, meats, poultry, butters, oils, milk items, salad dressing, fish, and grain items.
Carbohydrates are needed for:
- Fuel for your body
- Helping the brain, muscles, central nervous system, and kidneys function
- Assisting in eliminating waste and maintaining the health of intestines
Your body needs more carbohydrates than any other macro nutrient. They are the primary energy source for your body, and they are stored in your muscles and liver for later use. The USDA recommends that between 45-65% of your daily calorie intake should come from carbs — which may seem a bit on the frightening side, when you think about the havoc carbs can wreak on your weight loss plans. However, in moderation and consumed in the right form, carbohydrates are a useful and very essential part of your daily life. You will find carbs in fruits, grains, potatoes, milk and yogurt (in the form of lactose), and in many vegetables.
An important thing to remember about carbohydrates is that fiber is a type of carb that your body is unable to digest. However, fiber aids in the removal of waste from your body, and high-fiber diets reduce your risk for heart disease, as well as obesity — so, not all carbs are bad for your body.
Contact us today at Promax to learn more about our new and improved protein bars and how they can help your body get the macro nutrients it needs.
Image courtesy of the Promax Nutrition website