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What Are Macronutrients?


Morning eggs macronutrients by Kassandra Hobart

Macronutrients are the nutrients we need an abundance of every single day. They are categorized as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Each of these play major roles in fueling and constructing the human body.


As we start to understand which foods fall under which category, it’s important to know the classification is based on the primary molecule in that food. For example, brazil nuts consist of protein and fat molecules but are classified as a fat source. This is because brazil nuts are primarily made of fats.



Carbohydrates


Carbohydrates are made of carbon and water. Hence, the two parts of the word: carbo — and hydrate. Carbs are our main source of energy. They are stored in our muscles and organs as glycogen. In the form of fiber, carbohydrates help provide fuel for our microbiome too. They are found in vegetables, fruits, tubers, legumes, grains and sweeteners.


Examples: Plantains, Banana, Grapes, Nectarines, Apples, Berries, Black Bean pasta, Lentil pasta, Quinoa, Parsnips, Winter Squashes, Carrots, Green zucchini, Yellow squash, Kale, Spinach, Brussel sprouts, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Rice, Rolled oats, White potato, Sweet potato, Japanese yams


Best sources for pre & post workout: Rice, Rolled oats, White potato, Sweet potato, Japanese yams



Proteins


Proteins are made of amino acids and are the building blocks for tissues, organs, nerves, muscles and more. There are over 50,000 different proteins in the human body! Protein does more than create tissue. It is also an essential component for enzymes, antibodies, hemoglobin and peptide hormones. It repairs broken down muscle fibers post exercise, makes sure you have the right cofactors for metabolic processes, and contributes to your adaptive immune system. Protein is the primary nutrient for animal meats, seafood, and some legumes.


Examples: Chicken breasts, Chicken thighs, Ground turkey, Ground bison, Ground beef, 0% Greek yogurt, Mahi mahi, Shrimp, Sea scallops, Protein powder, Egg whites, Atlantic salmon, Steak, Whole eggs, Plant-based protein powder, Whey protein powder, Fuel For Fire pouches, EPIC Provisions protein snacks


Best sources pre & post workout: Plant-based protein powder, Whey protein powder, Chicken breasts, 99% Ground turkey, 0% Greek yogurt



Fats


Contrary to popular belief, dietary fat is not the villain it’s made out to be. Fat is essential for optimal health and performance. Fats are made up of fatty acid molecules. They play numerous important roles in the body: Energy source, cell building blocks for cells, hormones, and increase satiety. They regulate inflammation too!

There are three classifications of fats: Saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

  • Saturated fats are highly stable, don’t rancidify easily, and are solid at room temperature. These are great to use for cooking!

  • Monounsaturated fats are relatively stable, don’t rancidify easily, and are liquid at room temperature.

  • Polyunsaturated fats are relatively unstable, go rancid easily, and always liquid. Never heat or use polyunsaturated fats in cooking!

Trans fats, on the other hand, are a by-product of the hydrogenation process. Hydrogenation is the man-made manipulation of unsaturated fats. These fats are toxic and interfere with the essential roles fatty acids play within a healthy body. Avoid vegetable oils, fried fats, canola oil, margarine, and vegetable shortening.


Best Sources Saturated: Duck fat, Pork fat, Ghee, Coconut oil Best Sources Monounsaturated: Olive oil, Avocado oil, Cashew oil, Almond oil, Pecan oil Best Sources Polyunsaturated: Flaxseed oil, Fish oil, Krill oil

Best sources pre & post workout: NONE. Keep these meals low in fats.

 

Nutritional Therapy Association. (2019). Basics of Nutrition Student Guide. The Basics of Nutrition. Retrieved from https://nta.brightspace.com/d2l/le/content/10063/Home

Zupanič, N., Hribar, M., Pivk Kupirovič, U., Kušar, A., Žmitek, K., & Pravst, I. (2018). Limiting trans Fats in Foods: Use of Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils in Prepacked Foods in Slovenia. Nutrients, 10(3), 355. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10030355

Originally published at https://www.whoop.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

When you focus on nutrition, the first thing you'll see is an increase in energy and cognitive sharpness, leading to a more productive day.

KASSANDRA-HOBART-NTP

KASSANDRA HOBART

FUNCTIONAL NUTRITION THERAPY PRACTITIONER

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