Want a Healthier Diet? Have a Feel for Macronutrients

In life everyone hopes to achieve their ideal body type and look and feel as confident as can be. Confidence can play a role in the way we look. This is because we have an image of ourselves which cannot be shaken. If you want to be more confident and happy in life, choosing a healthier lifestyle will only help your cause. Healthy nutrition, and understanding macronutrients in particular, is a major component in living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

You probably know someone who uses some form of macronutrient counting. Like the macrobiotic school states, “it is about a way of life, making sure everything is balanced in your body each day.” Macronutrient might not be a word you have heard of before. You will likely be familiar, though, with the three types of macronutrients we eat each day: carbohydrates, protein and fat. This article looks at each macro, what it does for the body, and how we can balance them to improve our diet.

Carbohydrate

If you ask anyone what their favorite food or meal is, it is pretty much guaranteed that carbs are involved. Most meals revolve around the comfort of carbohydrates such as bread, pasta and wheat. Carbohydrates are a type of substance which are found in many different foods. Once broken down, they are converted into energy for the body. Sugar is a type of simple carbohydrate. It metabolizes to form energy and gives us the ability to run around and stay awake through the day.

The macronutrient, carbohydrate in particular, has gotten a bad wrap over the years. As a result, many people won’t even eat carbs now. They fear what they will do to their body. So, let us just stop right there… carbs are good for you. Your brain utilizes carbs on a daily basis for fuel (about 120 grams a day). Without carbohydrates you wouldn’t have the energy to get out of bed, solve math problems or workout. We need carbs to live, so make sure you let yourself eat them! It basically comes down to eating more healthy, complex carbs and less highly processed carbs.

Protein

Protein has become less of a macro in recent years as a buzzword for health enthusiasts the world over. Let’s just make things clear here: protein won’t solve all of your problems. In fact, too much protein isn’t a good thing. We all need a healthy dose of protein in our diet each day. Each meal should contain some form of protein. Typically, 25-35 grams of protein in each meal is a good goal. The role of protein in the body is to create and maintain muscle cells and to keep us strong.

There are many reason why many people who train have protein powder. Usually it’s because protein heals injured muscles and keeps them strong enough to train more often each week. Another job which protein handles, that you may not have realized, is to transport hemoglobin around your body. Hemoglobin picks up oxygen atoms from the air we breathe and transports them to our cells. So basically, a low protein intake can have a huge effect on your oxygen intake. In the gym world, this is probably the most important macronutrient in many eyes.

Tasty and healthy oatmeal with berry, flax seeds and nuts. Healthy breakfast. Proper nutrition.

Fat

Fat is a part of the body which most of us spend our time trying to lose, so the idea of putting more of it into our bodies each day might just seem like a crazy idea. However, fat is just as important as any other substance in the body and as long as we reach for healthy fats we can still keep a slim and toned figure.

Fat makes up our cell membranes, it’s improves our brain function and nerve system and it can also help us to absorb certain vitamins which are fat soluble. Healthy hat has a lot more to offer for the body than you may think and it is because of this that we should eat a small amount of fat each day. By adding foods such as nuts, oily fish and avocado to your meals you will be providing the body with the fat it needs to function happily.

How to Count Macronutrients

Counting your macros involves thinking about everything you are going to eat during the day and splitting this into your carbs, protein and fat. Think of it like a pie chart and make sure, as an example, that approximately 50 percent of what you eat comes from healthy carbs, 30 percent from protein and 20 percent is fat. You can adjust these amounts slightly to gain more protein and less fat, but as a rule this is a helpful guide to follow.

For example, if you are a female using a calorie count of approximately 1,600 in order to lose some weight, your calories per macronutrient should be similar to these values:

Carbohydrates – 800 calories (divide by 4 to determine the number of gram to eat for the day = 200)

Protein- 480 calories (120 grams)

Fat- 320 calories (divide by 9 to determine the number of grams = 36)

A quick example for a male, looking to drop weight, a calorie count for say 2,700 calories would look like:

Carbohydrate – 1,350 calories (338 grams/day)

Protein – 810 calories (202 grams)

Fat – 540 calories (60 grams)

Keep in mind, these are just rough examples. You are not always going to count your calories each day but having a better understanding where the calories are coming from and how much of each macronutrient you’re consuming can only help on the nutrition side.

A helpful way to keep on track of the macros which you eat is to use an app such as MyFitnessPal which counts your calories for your meals by ingredient. You can see much more clearly where you need to make changes in terms of your ratios. Counting macros this way will allow you to stay healthy and it will also ensure that you maintain your ideal bodyweight too.

Use Jefit to Record and Track All Your Exercise Needs

Jefit is a strength training app used for planning & tracking workouts and helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. Not only does it offer you the ability to update and share your workout log with a supportive community, it has the largest exercise library that covers both weight training and cardio.

Healthy Lifestyle Makes a Positive Impact on Metabolic Health

The majority of Americans were classified as unhealthy prior to the pandemic hitting. With many of us self quarantining at home since then, that number, sadly, has probably only increased.

Many people actually think “healthy” refers to how much they weigh or what someones outward appearance looks like. Good overall health, however, starts internally. This is where the term metabolic health comes in. Some also refer to this as metabolic fitness. In any event, metabolic health is the absence of metabolic disease. The numbers in this country are not good. About 88 percent of Americans are considered to have metabolic disease. The good news, though, metabolic health can improve through healthy eating and regular exercise, especially a short walk after meals.

“Flying blind, 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Using their best judgment, 59% of people say conflicting nutrition information makes them question their choices. Worse, only 12% of all Americans are actually metabolically healthy.”

Anthony Vennare – Co-Founder, Fitt Insider

Research on Metabolic Health

In a 2019 study published in the journal Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, a group of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reviewed data from 8,721 adults as reported in the 2009 to 2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). They found that just 1 in 8 adults living in United States had optimal metabolic health.

A second study published in 2016 in the journal Circulation, applied seven lifestyle and risk factors criteria from the American Heart Association to national data published between 2011 to 2012. The results found virtually 0% of U.S. adults met all the ideal levels. These levels included: not smoking, having a healthy diet, physical activity, normal weight and total cholesterol, blood pressure, and glucose level.

Finally, it has been determined through research that 23 percent of adults have metabolic syndrome. This condition occurs when a person fails to meet at least three of the ideal measurements with things like blood pressure and glucose levels (seen below).

What Constitutes Metabolic Health?

Using most recent guidelines, metabolic health was defined as having optimal levels of the following six criteria.

  • Waist Circumference (WC <40/34 inches for men/women respectively).
  • Glucose (fasting glucose <100 mg/dl).
  • Hemoglobin (A1c <5.7%).
  • Blood Pressure (systolic <120 and diastolic <80 mmHg).
  • Triglycerides (<150 mg/dl).
  • High Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol (≥40/50 mg/dl for men/women), and not taking any related medication.

Likewise, the International Diabetes Federation, states metabolic unhealthy individuals were defined as those who presented at least one of the following criteria:

  • Systolic/Diastolic Blood Pressure ≥130/85 mm Hg or use of antihypertensive drug.
  • Triglycerides level ≥150 mg/dl.
  • HDL-Cholesterol Level < 40 mg/dl in men or < 50 mg/dl in women or use of lipid-lowering drugs.
  • Glucose level ≥100 mg/dl or use of antidiabetic drug.

Intermittent Fasting and Metabolic Health

A possible tool to help improve metabolic health is intermittent fasting (IF). There has been a great deal of research over the years on the effects of IF on the body, including metabolic health. A review published in the revered New Journal of Medicine by Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D., looked at the powerful effects of IF including glucose regulation that could help your metabolic health cause.

Intermittent fasting elicits evolutionarily conserved, adaptive cellular responses that are integrated between and within organs in a manner that improves glucose regulation, increases stress resistance, and suppresses inflammation. During fasting, cells activate pathways that enhance intrinsic defenses against oxidative and metabolic stress and those that remove or repair damaged molecules.”

Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D., and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D

Therefore, continue to focus on regular exercise each week. Specifically, strength training and various forms of high intensity interval exercise. Mix this into your cardio at least 1-2 times a week. In addition, have your blood profile checked yearly or better yet, every six months to keep a handle on your metabolic health.

Get Strong and Stay Strong with Jefit

Millions of members have had great success using the Jefit app, equipped with a customizable workout planner, training log, the ability to track data and share workouts with friends. Take advantage of Jefit’s huge exercise database for your strength workouts. Visit our members-only Facebook group. Connect with like-minded people, share tips, and advice to help get closer to reaching your fitness goals. Stay strong with Jefit.