The term ‘MACROS’ might sound daunting, but really it’s just short for ‘macronutrients’.
“What Are Macronutrients, Though?”
MACROS or macronutrients are nutrients provided by food in large amounts. They provide energy in the form of calories. It’s that simple.
Side-note: ‘Micronutrients’ are nutrients from food that we only need in small amounts – like vitamins and minerals.
There are three essential macronutrients: PROTEIN, CARBOHYDRATE and FAT.
Alcohol is the fourth macronutrient, but unlike protein, carbs and fat, it isn’t vital for life – and it won’t fuel your fitness (so it won’t be discussed for the purpose of this post).
Macronutrient Profiles: The Roles + Benefits
After water, protein is the most abundant component in our cells.
Comprised of amino acids (the ‘building blocks’ of protein), there isn’t one body part that doesn’t rely on protein for its structure, growth and maintenance.
That’s why protein is crucial for building muscle – particularly quality animal protein from lean meat, poultry, fish and egg whites – which is absorbed and utilised more efficiently than plant protein.
Another bonus benefit of protein: of the three macronutrients, it has the greatest ‘thermic effect’. This means more energy is utilised to digest protein than it is for carbs and fat; eat more protein and you’ll naturally burn more calories at rest.
Your muscles’ and brain’s preferred energy source, you need carbohydrates to give things your all – physically and mentally.
There are two types of carbohydrates:
Simple carbohydrates – i.e., isolated or added sugar (think soft drink, baked goods, fruit juice concentrate and that spoonful of sugar in your coffee).
Complex, ‘slow burning’ carbohydrates – the ‘good kind’ of carbs because they contain filling fibre and starch, and are nutrient-dense. Think unprocessed or minimally processed plant foods: vegetables, fruit, wholegrains (brown rice, quinoa) and legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas).
Providing stored energy, the body relies on fat as an energy source once the energy from carbohydrates has been utilised. Fat has a range of other important functions in the body – it’s involved in hormone production, provides insulation (i.e., keeps you warm) and is needed for the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
Fat also delays stomach emptying, and can leave you feeling satisfied thanks to its well-rounded, lingering mouthfeel.
Quality dietary fat sources include olive oil, nuts and seeds and oily fish like salmon and tuna.
Want pro diet and fitness tips, new menu reveals and exclusive discounts? Subscribe to our newsletter and be a part of The MACROS Movement.