Macronutrients part 1

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The word ‘macros’ gets thrown around a lot, especially by me! What does it mean? ‘Macros’ stands for macronutrients, which are in food. There are 4 macronutrients: carbohydrates, protein and fat. Alcohol is the 4th macronutrient, but for today I’m going to focus on the primary 3: carbs, pro & fat.

In a previous post I explained what calories are: the energy that our bodies gets from food. Carbs have 4 calories per gram. Protein has 4 calories per gram. Fat has 9 calories per gram. (You can see why high-fat food is quite calorie dense now! Fat has more calories per gram than the other macros). The total  number of calories in a food is derived from the individual macronutrient content of that food added together

That sounds a bit complicated so let me break it down. Think of an oreo. 1 oreo has ~54 calories in it. Where do those calories come from? They come from the macros (carbs + protein + fat) that are in the oreo (based on the ingredients that went into it). An oreo is made up of 8.3 grams of carbohydrates, 0.3 grams of protein and 2.3 grams of fat

So, to do the maths: (8.3g Carbs x 4 calories) + (0.3g Protein x 4 calories) + (2.3g Fat x 9 calories)… adds up to 54 calories. If that is confusing try to write down those numbers and add them up yourself

Now, when you look at the back of a food label you can see the calories listed, and underneath that you can see a whole pile of nutritional information that looks really complicated and screams ‘information overload’. All you need to focus on is the Carbs Protein and Fat. Try do this with any food label, and see if you can spot the macros. It might take a few tries but you’ll be able to spot them at a glance if you practice. Try to see if the macros add up correctly to the calories (sometimes food labels can be wrong!)

I’m going to leave it at that for now. My next post will cover why it’s even important to know about macronutrients at all. I will do posts on: tracking macros, fiber, micronutrients, macro balance, cycling macros, yada yada 🙂 For now, if you have any questions or comments relating to this post specifically please let me know!

References/ Further Reading

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15113737

http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2002/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Energy-Carbohydrate-Fiber-Fat-Fatty-Acids-Cholesterol-Protein-and-Amino-Acids.aspx

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