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What Are Macros?

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What Are Macros?

Macros, or macronutrients if we’re getting technical, are components of food that provide energy (calories). If we’re getting really technical, protein and carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram and fat provides 9 calories per gram. In addition to providing energy, macros also play a variety of roles in the structure and function of your healthy body.  Knowing that, let’s dive deeper into the importance of each macronutrient.

CARBOHYDRATES AND YOUR BODY

Sugar, starch and fiber are all types of carbohydrates. Depending on the type, carbohydrates either provide instant or more sustained energy. Remember eating an orange during soccer practice as a kid? That’s because high sugar fruits can provide instant bursts of energy.

Now imagine eating a bowl of brown rice during that same practice. Not going to happen. That’s because, while a carb just like the orange, whole grains provide more sustained energy because they also include starch and fiber.

While we’re on the subject, fiber is key because helps support proper digestion. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber becomes a gel-like consistency and helps to move things along your digestive tract, and insoluble fiber provides roughage, which helps bulk things up and can help to reduce the likelihood of constipation.1

Peas, citrus fruits, barley and carrots have soluble fiber, while whole wheat flour, oat bran, wheat bran, nuts, and cauliflower have insoluble fiber. Many foods have a combination of both types of fiber including oats, apples (skin on) and beans.

FAT IN YOUR BODY

Dietary fat is a key component of brain development, hormone production, as well as digestion and absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K).2

There are both animal and plant-based sources of dietary fat. Plant-based sources are richer in heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Nuts, avocados, seeds and cold-pressed oils are all sources of unsaturated fat. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, flaxseeds and walnuts are good sources of dietary fat.

PROTEIN IN YOUR BODY

Protein is comprised of amino acids, which are used as the building blocks of cells (including muscles).3 There are two types of amino acids, essential (ones that the body can’t make and need to be consumed through diet) and non-essential (ones the body can make).

Organic soy (tofu or tempeh), beans, nuts, seeds are all sources of plant-based protein. If you’re looking to boost your protein intake with a multisource plant-based blend, that offers all essential amino acids, try a Vega® protein powder. New to Vega? We recommend the effortless nutrition of Vega® Protein & GreensTM.

HOW MUCH DO I NEED?

How much of each macro you need will vary based on your goals, lifestyle, and eating preferences? If you have specific goals or dietary needs, you may choose to track or macros but that’s not always necessary.

Kicking it back to the soccer practice, it’s not just the number of goals (or amount of each macro) you’re getting but how you play the game (which types of each you’re eating).

Tracking macros or not, eating a wide variety of whole, plant-based foods is key for a balance of amino acids, soluble and insoluble fiber and good fats.

 

REFERENCES

  1. 1. Dietary Fiber: MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dietaryfiber.html
  2. 2. Dietary Fat: MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000104.htm
  3. 3. Dietary Protein: MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2020, from https://medlineplus.gov/dietaryproteins.html

 

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