What are Macronutrients (Macros)?
There are macro and micro nutrients. Macronutrients are in three big categories (Carbs, Protein and Fats). Some would argue that you can survive on just two of them (Fat and Protein) but the typical diet does contain Carbohydrates. The macro calculator below will allow you to pick the diet you're following to see your macro breakdown by calories and grams per category. Depending on what you choose we'll calculate all three or just two if you are in the Carnivore or Keto diet category.
Micronutrients are essential for life and consist of vitamins and minerals. These are found in your macronutrients at different levels but that isn't something we're going to cover here. If you want to understand the breakdown of what each macronutrient is and why you should care, take a look below the calculator but for now - calculate away!
According to WebMD it's defined as: 'one of three classes of food. Proteins are made of amino acids, which function as a cell's 'building blocks'. Cells need protein to grow and to mend themselves. Protein is found in many foods like meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans and dairy products.
It can be difficult to get the amount of protein that the calculation above will give you but think about every 4 oz of meat (steak, chicken, pork, etc.) contains ~20g of protein. That typically means that every 1lb of meat is equal to ~80g of protein so if you're looking at an output on the calculator that's saying 150g+ of protein - that does mean you're almost at 2lbs of meat (if you decided to achieve you're daily protein requirement through the carnivore diet).
It can be difficult for vegetarians to hit their protein goals but there are high quality sources of protein that can help you get what's needed. The top protein sources for vegetarians that we could think of are:
- Greek Yogurt
- Cottage Cheese
- Tofu, Tempeh and/or edamame
- Ezekiel Bread
- Hemp Seeds (my fav!)
- Chia Seeds
- Nutritional Yeast
- Rice and Beans
- Pita and Hummus
- Nut Butters: Almond, Peanut, Macadamia
If you're looking for more information on how to structure a good diet based on the macro calculator output, there are plenty of options we can provide another time.
Carbohydrates are the 'carbs' in your diet. These can fall into a 'complex' or 'simple' category. Some methods look at alcohol as a carb too but others would disconnect it from 'carbs' and have it's own category based on how it reacts in the body. We also have sugar in this category so quite a few things you eat everyday may be some kind of carb you'll need to recognize. When you're looking at food labels, you'll be surprised to see carbs hiding in many products you may not be aware of. We'll get into that another time but all carbs are not created equal. A high quality bread or quinoa is not equal to a Coca-Cola which has quite a bit of sugar and is not the same value to your body. If you start consuming too many carbs through sugar it can have negative health effects. If you can, stick to getting carbs through vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and the protein list above - you'll have a good balance of protein and carbs through really healthy foods!
You may hear that fat is a bad thing but in our opinion - that's not the case. You don't want to drink olive oil to make up the difference to hit your fat macro target but there are good and bad fats - just like carbs. Fats are classified as saturated, unsaturated, trans fats, monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats and omega-3s. Everyone has their own opinion on things but in general when you're doing your research, you're going to find that saturated and trans fats are considered unhealthy fats while monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids are considered to be healthier and better for you.
We built a TDEE calculator to help you figure out your Total Daily Energy Energy Expenditure so you can match it up with this macro breakdown and decide how you're going to build a diet from it. Contact Us if you have any questions about this or anything else.