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Permission to eat carbohydrates, Granted! Macro or macronutrients are the nutrients that your body cannot live without carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Each macro plays its own role, and each one has its own superpowers to help you lose weight.
Repeat after me: carbohydrates are not the enemy, even if you are trying to lose weight. ” Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for almost all human cells,” says registered dietitian Mascha Davis, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Your body digests them quickly and converts them into sugar or blood glucose, which then stores in the liver and muscles as glycogen. Together, blood glucose and glycogen will help you with high-intensity exercise, the type you need to burn fat, stimulate muscles and develop metabolism.
The carbohydrates can also help you lose more weight by avoiding stress eating, as they are linked to your levels of the neurotransmitter called serotonin (also called the happy chemical).
You know that protein is used to build and maintain lean muscle in your body, but it does much more than that. ” Protein forms enzymes that boost chemical reactions in the body,” says Davis. “It also produces the hemoglobin that transports oxygen throughout the body.” And if oxygen doesn’t get where it needs to go, you can forget about having the energy to go up the stairs, much less for an hour.
Protein also helps when it comes to increasing your satiety levels so you can feel satisfied with fewer calories. (When you eat protein, your intestine produces hormones that slow the movement of food through the gastrointestinal tract, which means you stay fuller, for longer). By decreasing digestion, the protein also decreases the release of glucose into the bloodstream to prevent blood sugar and insulin rises that can create health problems, explains Alexandra Sowa, an internist doctor from New York and a graduate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine
If the keto diet has taught us something, it is that fat does not make you fat, even if fat contains more calories, than the other macros.
Benefits of fat: fat forms cell membranes, promotes nerve and brain health, and increases the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, all of which are crucial to healthy efforts to lose weight. And although fat does not activate exactly the same hormones that increase satiety as proteins, it is relatively slow to digest, which further stabilizes blood sugar levels and prevents cravings.
How To Count Macros To Lose Weight?
As anyone who has ever tried a low carb or high protein diet knows, there are an infinite variety of ways to change your macros to lose weight. But which one is the best? It depends on who you ask and who you are. However, it is a good idea for everyone to start with the general guidelines and modify from there.
In The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine they say that adults should try to get 45 to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 10 to 35% protein, and 20 to 35% fat.
So, if you follow a 1600-calorie diet, which is a reasonable average for active female trying to lose weight, that would work to get 180 to 260 grams of carbohydrates per day (or 720 to 1,040 calories), 40 to 140 grams of protein. per day (or 160 to 560 calories) and 35 to 62 grams of fat (or 320 to 560 calories).
So, yes, that’s a lot of math. “These numbers are general, and each woman’s ideal breakdown is different,” says Davis. “Some women will get better results with diets with higher protein or fat content or less carbohydrates.” Let me explain this, although genetics plays an important role (a new type of test called nutrigenomics can help determine which macro division is best for your DNA).
“For example, women with high blood sugar levels or heart health problems can often benefit from a low or even very low carb approach,” says Sowa. Any diet that provides less than 45% of calories qualifies as low carb, according to a review by the University of Tulane, while some very low carb keto diets provide about 5% of carbohydrate calories.
“However, if you run to lose weight and plan to cross a marathon on your wish list, you may consume up to 80% of carbohydrate calories,” says Davis.
It is also important: if you are reducing more calories to lose weight, many of them should come from protein. This will prevent you from losing too many muscles as you lose pounds, according to an article published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism found that 25% of your calories should come from protein when you are reducing calories.
It happens similarly with fats. “While one person can consume 45% of their calories from fat and be very healthy, this can cause another to gain weight and feel tired,” says Davis. “Keto diets have to be raised up to 75% or more for the body to have ketosis,” says Sowa.
Macronutrients In Your Food Matter
Once you’ve discovered your overall macro strategy, you’ll want to break it down at lunchtime. “Two meals, one consisting of chocolate cake and the other of vegetables with lean protein, are not as ideal as two balanced meals,” says Sowa.
Instead, she recommends that each of your meals and snacks follow the macro breakdown of your goal. This will help you maintain your energy levels and keep you full during meals. Also, keep in mind that most foods are rich in more than one macro. For example, salmon contains protein and fat, while quinoa is rich in both carbohydrates and proteins.
And remember that, as with calories, it’s not just the amount that matters. Roasted carrots in olive oil outweigh the chocolate cake as a combination of fats and carbohydrates at a time.