Why Macronutrients Are Important for Your Body Needs?

A balanced diet should provide all three macronutrients (Image via Unsplash/CA Creative)
A balanced diet should provide all three macronutrients. (Image via Unsplash/CA Creative)

Macronutrients are the building blocks and energy sources of the human body. The three essential macros are protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

These nutrients play key roles in energy production, repair, and maintenance of body tissues. In this article, we will discuss the importance of macronutrients and their roles in the human body.


What Are Macros?

The functions of macronutrients are listed below:

Protein

Protein is required for the synthesis and repair of tissues (Image via Unsplash/Eiliv Aceron)
Protein is required for the synthesis and repair of tissues (Image via Unsplash/Eiliv Aceron)

Amino acids are macronutrients that play an important role in the synthesis of molecules required in cellular signaling, enzymatic reactions, immune system, and other pathways of the body.

Common protein-rich foods include chicken, meat, fish, eggs, milk, beans, tofu, and nuts. One gram of protein provides four calories of energy. However, proteins used up in energy production cannot participate in the synthesis of tissues.

To promote muscle gain, protein must be spared from breakdown into energy by consuming other macronutrients in the meal. The amount of protein required by an individual is calculated on the basis of their bodyweight, age, and gender. Protein requirements also depend on physical activity.


Fat

One gram of fat contains nine calories of energy, which is the highest among all the macronutrients. Broadly, there're three types of fats: unsaturated fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol.

Unsaturated fats are further classified into monounsaturated fats (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA) depending on the number of double bonds present in their chemical structure.

Nuts, seeds, avocados, and oily fish contain good amounts of unsaturated fats. Fats present in oily fish, known as omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), are extremely beneficial for heart, joints, and liver health.

Saturated fats usually occur in animal body fat but rarely in plant-based foods like coconuts. Saturated fats have been demonized for a long time due to several myths regarding their safety. However, recent studies indicate that naturally occurring (not processed) saturated fats are safe for human consumption and have no relationship with serum LDL/VLDL cholesterol levels or heart disease.

Butter, cheese, fresh cream, ghee (clarified butter), and egg yolks are among the best high-fat foods. The keto diet, paleo diet, Mediterranean diet, and carnivore diet mandate the consumption of saturated fats and unsaturated fats in natural foods.

Cholesterol in animal foods is also safe for human consumption and has no impact on levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol. Cholesterol is an essential component of cell membranes and steroid hormones in the body.


Carbohydrate

One gram of carbs provides four calories of energy (Image via Unsplash/Louis Hansel)
One gram of carbs provides four calories of energy (Image via Unsplash/Louis Hansel)

Carbohydrates are macronutrients that can be broadly classified into sugar, starch, and fiber. Sugar and starch yield glucose, which goes through a process known as glycolysis to produce energy. Dietary fiber adds bulk to the diet.

Refined and processed carbs are known to be detrimental to health, as they can trigger a rise in blood glucose and insulin level. They're also associated with common lifestyle disorders, such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Carb-restrictive diets, including the keto diet, paleo diet, and carnivore diet are among the best diets for weight loss.


Macros for Muscle Gain

To understand the requirements of these macronutrients, we need to calculate the calorie requirements using the following formula:

  • Men: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) + 5
  • Women: calories/day = 10 x weight (kg) + 6.25 x height (cm) – 5 x age (y) – 161

The results obtained are further multiplied by the activity factor. The activity factors for different individuals are as follows:

  • Sedentary: x 1.2 (little or no exercise)
  • Lightly active: x 1.375 (light exercise)
  • Moderately active: x 1.55 (moderate exercise)
  • Very active: x 1.725 (heavy exercise once every day)
  • Extra active: x 1.9 (heavy exercise twice a day)

Calories are distributed among the three macronutrients.

  • Proteins: 10–35% of total calories
  • Fats: 20–35% of total calories
  • Carbs: 45–65% of total calories

Examples of Micronutrients

Not just macronutrients, micronutrients also play an important role in metabolism. They are:

  • Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
  • Vitamin B3 (niacin)
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B7 (biotin)
  • Vitamin B9 (folate)
  • Vitamin B12 (cobalamin)
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Chloride
  • Potassium
  • Sulfur

Check out the six categories of nutrients and their importance.


Macro Diet & Macronutrients

The macro diet involves counting the intake of macronutrients instead of calories. The consumption of carbs and fats can be adjusted to get the desired weight loss results. The amount of physical activity must be considered while making these calculations.

Edited by Bhargav