Our overall health condition depends on how much nutrition we consume. Hence, the content of our daily diet is important in order to meet daily nutritional requirements. Nutrition is categorized into two types, namely, macronutrients and micronutrients.
The terms macro and micro are used to describe the recommended quantity of intake per day. For instance, macronutrients refer to nutrients the body needs in large amounts. It’s classified into three compounds: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These nutrients provide calories that the body used for energy consumption. Macronutrients will be discussed extensively in this article.
On the other hand, micronutrient refers to vitamins and minerals that the body needs in small amounts. There are about twenty-eight micronutrients however, you may not need all of it and only a few of them may be necessary for your daily needs. These nutrients stimulate increase production of certain types of hormones, enzymes, and other compounds that promote healthy tissues and prevents diseases. Micro and macronutrients may have different functions but both are vital to the proper functioning of the body and general well-being of an individual.
What are Macronutrients?
As mentioned, there are three kinds of macronutrients: fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. These nutrients are commonly referred to our calories. We may find calories in most foods and beverages. The only difference is the distribution of contents. For instance, one slice of wheat bread contains 2.48g of fats, 23.64g of carbohydrates, and 3.86g of protein. While, a piece of an apple contains 0.2g of fats, 13.8g of carbohydrates, and 0.3g of protein.
Actually, the nutrition facts label we see in consumer goods is mainly based on these three calories. It’s also important to bear in mind the differences in body types because each type may process nutrients differently. The calorie intake also depends on sex, age, and physical activities. Consult a dietician to know your body mechanism so you can effectively plot your daily diet.
An unbalanced diet may lead to obesity or malnourishment. Calories are what the body uses for daily energy. It aids our normal day-to-day activities, physically and mentally. When calories are unused, it accumulates in our body that leads to overweight or bloating. This happens when we eat in excess of our daily recommended allowance and lack of physical activity.
Generally, alcohol is not listed as macros. Though it provides an ample amount of calories, alcohol could be harmful to your body.
What is a Calorie?
In simple terms, it’s a unit of energy measurement. It identifies the energy contribution of each macronutrient. In consumer goods, we can usually see these measurements at the back of the packaging.
The quantity of calorie intake is categorized into two types:
- Small calories (cal): scientists defined this as the required heat level to increase the temperature of one gram water by one degree Celsius.
- Large calories or kilocalorie (kcal): scientist defined this as the required heat level to increase the temperature of one-kilogram water by one degree Celsius.
Some individuals usually associate calories with being overweight. Though, this idea isn’t entirely true. We need calories, and consuming the right amount of calories daily helps us in our everyday tasks. It gives us energy and supports organs to function properly. It only becomes a problem when we consume in excess, unexploited calories accumulate that eventually leads to overweight.
The Three Types of Macronutrients
Among the three calories, carbohydrate is the body’s primary source of energy. It aids proper functioning of internal organs like the heart, brain, and kidneys.
A study conducted by the Institute of Medicine suggests that an average adult should consume daily at least forty-five and not exceeding sixty-five percent of calorie intake from carbohydrates. Examples of food with high levels of healthy carbs include vegetables, grains, yogurt, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
Classification of carbohydrates may depend on its size:
- Simple carbs: this type of carbs are made up of tiny molecules that can be easily broken down and use immediately for energy. The term simple carbs are used as a reference to sugar, which includes sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Honey, fruits, and especially candies contain high-levels of simple carbs.
- Complex carbs: this type of carbs is made up of long strands of simple carbs. It includes fibers and starch. Energy distribution to the body takes time because complex carbs break downs slower. Some example of foods that contains complex carbs includes rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes.
At the start of the 80s up to the present day, most individuals and some food producers have associated fat to bad health. This calorie is greatly misunderstood that we may find in some consumer goods a label stating a “no-fat” or “fat-free” foods. Actually, we can’t eliminate fat in our daily diet because it’s as important as proteins and carbohydrates. Aside from energy, healthy fats enhance the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals. It also strengthens cell walls against harmful elements.
Fats only become a problem when a person overeats. Normally, the excess fats are stored in your lower abdomen causing the stomach to appear bloated. These fats are used when a person runs low of calories; it uses those excess lipids as an energy source. It’s also stored in the blood vessels, where it will accumulate and may cause high blood pressure or any heart-related disease.
Some dieticians referred to it as lipids. Studies suggested that an adult should consume at least twenty but not exceeding thirty-five percent of calories from fats daily.
Protein is of essential value in maintaining skin, muscle, and bone health. It promotes tissue development and repair and aids stimulation of certain enzymes and hormones that improve the overall well-being of a person.
Unlike fats and carbohydrates, protein is not stored in your body. Upon consummation, any excess would be excreted from the body. High-protein diets are also practiced by most health buffs because one serving may likely make the person feel full. A high-protein diet doesn’t mean consuming in excess but rather the protein contents in one meal satisfies the daily recommended allowance.
According to studies, proteins may also enhance cognitive ability and improve blood sugar.
We can normally find high-levels of healthy proteins in:
- Dairy products
- White meat
Studies suggested that an average adult should eat at least ten percent but not exceeding thirty-five percent of calories from protein daily.