The three main macronutrients

There are three main macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. We’re going to explain a little bit about each macronutrient and why they’re so important.

Protein

Calories: 4 calories per gram.
Overview: Protein is mostly associated with building muscle and primarily found in foods like meat and dairy. However, its uses extend beyond muscle: it’s the core component of organs, bones, hair, enzymes, and pretty much all other types of tissue in your body.

Proteins are made of amino acids, many of which the body can make itself. However, there are nine amino acids that are strictly required for normal body function that your body can’t biosynthesize. These are (aptly) called essential amino acids, and the full nine can be found from all meat sources.

Carbohydrates

Calories: 4 calories per gram.
Overview: Carbohydrates are technically the only macronutrient your body can survive without, but it’s not fun. Carbs are your body’s most easily accessible source of energy, and is broken up into glycogen (used by muscles and your liver) and glucose (used by the brain).

Carbs are divided into simple and complex carbohydrates. The two classifications refer to the length of the carbohydrate molecules. The shorter the molecule chain is, the easier it is for your body to break down, so it’s “simpler”—basically, they’re sugars. On the other hand, larger molecules, like starch, are “complex” because it takes longer for your body to break it down into usable components.

Fats

Calories: 9 calories per gram.
Overview: Fats are a key component of every diet. They are required for the body to function, acting as the backbone to insulation for nerves, important hormones, skin and hair health, and much more.

There are a several types of fats, from saturated to monounsaturated to polyunsaturated fats. Out of all of them, the main three you should be concerned about are trans fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and omega-6 fatty acids.

Trans fats, colloquially known as “frankenfats”, have been consistently shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease, and should generally be avoided. They’re usually found in packaged foods and various brands of margarine.

The latter two, however, are what’s known as essential fatty acids. Similar to essential amino acids, your body can’t produce them by itself so you have to obtain them through your diet. Omega-3’s can be found in fatty fish, flax, and walnuts (note that they’re more easily absorbed from animal sources), and omega-6’s from pretty much all kinds of vegetable oil.

So why are macros important?

Get the right balance of macros (that’s what Foodery Fit do for you) and you’ll be more effective at losing weight or building muscle. It’s the way many in the fitness industry have been secretly eating for years, recognising that all calories were not created equal. 1 gram of fat has more calories than 1g of protein and 10 calories of fat will be used entirely differently to 10 calories from carbohydrates.

Get started