The key points to understanding Macros

The F5 Method is all about the details. It’s an opportunity for you to learn exactly what your body wants and needs from you, and the first step to understanding how you can help your body is to learning how to look at food. No, I’m not talking about how to figure out what is a good food and a bad food. Of course, there are foods that are better choices, but labeling something good or bad is only going to make your decisions and your transformation that much more challenging. We want to educate you, teach you how to look AT food so that when you’re standing in the kitchen with a stomach that’s talking to you, you know how to make the best decision for yourself.

To do this, we are going to start from the beginning! The F5 Method is capable of determining the exact amount of each macronutrient that you need to be consuming on a daily basis to fuel yourself successfully. The word macronutrients, or “macros”, is thrown around so often, but do you really understand what it means? Let’s take a few minutes to break it down for you and hopefully improve your understanding of how measuring macros plays such a vital role in your overall health!

Macros are understood as the three key nutrients that come from our food: protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Each of these elements gives us energy to fuel our day, and each of these elements is found in every food we eat.

When we break down each macro into its caloric amount:

1 gram carbohydrate = 4 calories

1 gram fat = 9 calories

1 gram protein = 4 calories

If you add the calories from the protein, carbs, and fat in a certain food, you will find the total calories that make up that food. So just by looking at this break down, we can see that by counting just calories, we aren’t seeing the full picture of what’s going into our bodies. We will see a greater benefit from focusing on eating foods that give us the specific macronutrients we need rather than the specific calories we think we need.

How are we doing so far?!

Now let’s take a more detailed look inside macros, what the heck each of them does and why they are so important to us!

Protein:

Protein is notoriously known for its muscle building power, but it is so much more than that! Protein is a long chain of amino acids- those things people refer to as “the building blocks” of everything you’re made of- so it’s crucial that you get enough of them! When you ingest and digest protein, your body breaks down those amino acids and uses them for things like muscle building and recovery, improved memory, reducing fatigue, and much more. You can find great sources of protein from meats, vegetables and legumes.

Carbohydrates:

Recently we’ve seen a shift to making carbohydrates the “bad guy”, and we just don’t think that’s fair! Yes, you can overload on carbs (and it can be easy to do because cookies, popcorn, French fries, hellooooo!), but you should not be afraid of them. Carbs are friends; in fact, they are your body’s main energy source.

Carbs can be split into two categories: simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates, and are assigned these names based on their chemical makeup (but we aren’t here for science class!).  We see simple carbohydrates as basically one or two strand sugars (fructose, sucrose, lactose, etc), and complex carbohydrates as three or more strand sugars. BIG PICTURE: Simple carbs are much easier to digest than complex carbs. This means they are a great source of energy when you need something fast, but only last for a short time. Ever had a sugar high and crash? You can thank your simple carbs for that! Complex carbs take longer to digest, so they are a longer-term source of energy, and will sustain you better throughout the day. You can find your best sources of simple carbs from fruit, and your best sources of complex carbs from foods like sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole grain pasta.

Fats

Let’s just get one thing straight: eating fat will not make you fat! Fat is the most calorie-dense macronutrient, but in fact, eating fat will keep you full for longer and make you eat less! We commonly see three types of fats: unsaturated, saturated, and trans. We all know by now (hopefully) that trans fats should be avoided entirely, as they are man-made, artificial, and commonly seen on ingredient lists as “partially hydrogenated oil”. Saturated fats come mostly from animals (red meat, milk, cheese) but can also be found in plant-based foods like coconut oil. Unsaturated fats are found in plants and fish, and often gets the gold star for being the best kind of fat you can eat.

 

A quick recap before we part:

  • Macros= Fat + Carbs + Protein
  • We need ALL THREE to maintain a healthy lifestyle and fuel our bodies
  • Counting macros gives us the full scope of what we are putting into our bodies; counting calories just gives us the surface level view

Thanks so much for spending a little bit of time with us today, check back next week for another knowledge drop!

 

Sources:

http://vitals.lifehacker.com/count-macronutrients-instead-of-calories-for-better-die-1706873465

http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/What-Macros-40526988

http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/types-of-fats-topic-overview#2

http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/nutrition/vitamins-minerals/the-3-primary-macronutrients-and-their-importance.html

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