Posted on June 11th, 2020 by Caitlyn Miller
I’m sure you have heard the word macros and micros thrown around in the fitness community. I am going to dive in deeper about what those words just mean. These two words are extremely important when it comes to understanding nutrition. Let’s dive in!
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Macros is shortened for macronutrients. Your macronutrients are your carbohydrates, protein, and fats. These are the three main fuels to help build up your strength and muscles. When someone talks about counting/tracking their macros, they mean they are counting the grams of protein, carbs, and fat they are consuming. When you count your macros, you’re taking it one step further than just counting calories. This isn’t to say that calories don’t matter, because they DO! It just means that counting your macros helps you better understand how exactly you’re fueling your body. If you are considering tracking your macros, I recommend using the app, MyFitnessPal. It is so easy to understand and gives you three charts to show the breakdown of your macros for the day. I also recommend this amazing and cheap food scale to weigh out your food. I have been using it for the past five years and it is still working perfectly!
Carbs are essential for your body’s main source of energy. When you get into counting your macros, carbohydrates are worth 4 calories per gram. They exist in three forms, which are, sugar, starch, and fiber. Carbs are essential because your brain works entirely on glucose! When you exceed your body’s daily limit for carbs, it is stored in the liver as glycogen. Here is another interesting fact, carbohydrates can be converted into protein as well!
Fats are worth 9 calories per gram, which means out of all the other macros, they posses the highest caloric content. This means that they contain the most energy out of carbohydrates and proteins. When you exceed your body’s daily limit for fats, it is stored in adipose tissue and is only burnt off once the body runs out of carbohydrates in its system. Fats are used in the process of making hormones and is a solvent for fat soluble vitamins.
Proteins, like carbs, are worth 4 calories per gram. They are the last macronutrient to be used by the body. They provide amino acids to the body and make up majority of the cell structure. Proteins do this interesting process called, muscle wasting. When the body is going through starvation, the muscles in the body that are made up of proteins, are then used to provide energy to the body.
Water isn’t typically considered a macronutrient, but it is very important and essential for your health. Your body is mainly made up of water and makes up a large part of your body fluids. Your body needs water more than it needs any other type of nutrient. Water helps remove wastes through urine and helps divide nutrients to cells. Water is also extremely important for your body’s metabolism.
Micros is shortened for micronutrients. Your micronutrients are compromised of vitamins and minerals. Your micronutrients are just as important as your macronutrients and should not be ignored. It is very important that you consume the daily recommend amount of vitamins and minerals. Vitamins are important to your immune function and your energy production. Minerals are important when it comes to your bone health and your body growth.
Vitamins are so important for your body’s metabolism to function properly and for your growth/development. Vitamins can either be fat-soluble or water-soluble. When a vitamin is fat soluble and there is excess of it, it can be stored in fatty tissues in the body. When a vitamin is water-soluble and there is excess of it, it is removed through the urine.
Minerals can be divided in macrominerals and microminerals. Some common macrominerals that you have probably heard of are calcium, potassium, magnesium. Some common microminerals that you have probably heard of are copper, zinc, and fluoride. These two work together to help the function of enzymes in the body.
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