Introduction to Macronutrients
In this article we are going to review the importance of the three main macronutrients: Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates.
These macronutrients can all play a crucial role in optimising health, performance and body composition. Often we spend our time focusing on the micronutrients (vitamins & minerals), and whilst they can also be crucial for health, often when we look after our macro’s we automatically take care of our micronutrients, so long as we remain on good wholesome foods and not from junk processed foods.
When you consider that our body is made up of 5-6% micronutrients the remaining comes from macronutrients and water, water being around 60% of the human body, and the remaining 30-35% coming from proteins, fats and glycogen (carbs).
With this in mind you could easily conclude that on a level of importance it would look something like this:
Whilst vitamins and minerals are important for good health, it is important to understand that you cannot live off vitamin and mineral supplements.
In some cases micronutrient imbalance might be the key that unlocks optimal metabolism and utilisation of macronutrients, however it should not be the starting point to optimise health.
The focus of any good nutritionist or health practitioner, is to not act like a sales rep for the supplement companies, but instead help you establish a relationship with food that allows you to naturally hit your water, macro and micro goals.
Ultimately our macronutrients are what provide our body with the bulk of our energy.
On a weekly basis I consult with clients that are experiencing low energy, digestive issues, sleep problems, poor skin and hair quality. In many of these cases they are exercising frequently and living off foods that supply little in terms of the key macronutrients. Because macro’s deliver the main bulk of our energy and what is needed to produce energy, these clients simply follow a chronically low caloric intake. In the initial stages this might not be an issue as the body is able to make use of the reserves of macro and micronutrients within the body, yet over time this becomes more and more stressful on the body, eventually leading to physiological dysfunctions and manifestation of a variety of symptoms throughout the body.
In many cases the only answer is to either lower the energy expenditure (physical activity) or increase energy intake (food/macro’s).
Taking high levels of micronutrients in the hope that this is going to fix months or years of inadequate macronutrient intake is a backward approach to fixing health and metabolic function.
You may have to accept that you are not going to lower your body fat levels when trying to heal the metabolism and address long term inadequate intake of macronutrients. In some cases it may take months and perhaps even years to get your metabolism back on track.
Macronutrients hold the key to optimising our metabolism, health and body composition.
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