CARBOHYDRATES, PROTEINS, FATS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT MACRONUTRIENTS
Macronutrients are made up of carbohydrates, proteins and fats . It is the nutrients from our food that provide energy to our body and ensure the proper functioning of its vital functions. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
Carbohydrates are the most important energy providers in our diet for the brain and all physical activity . Monosaccharides (simple carbohydrates) are the building blocks of carbohydrates . Based on the length of their chain, carbohydrates are classified as follows:
- monosaccharides: glucose (grape sugar), fructose (fruit sugar) and galactose (milk sugar)
- disaccharides: sucrose (industrial sugar), lactose
- oligosaccharides: raffinose
- polysaccharides, also called complex carbohydrates: amylopectin ( vegetable starch ), glycogen (animal starch), inulin
Carbohydrates are stored in the body in two ways : as glycogen in the liver (⅓) and in muscles (⅔). These glycogen stores are used by the body for energy during exercise and are then replenished through a diet rich in carbohydrates.
According to The Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, carbohydrates should cover at least 50% of the daily energy needs of an adult person. It is also advisable to favor complex carbohydrates which, unlike simple carbohydrates, do not cause spikes in glucose, keep you fuller longer, are rich in minerals, contain fiber, contribute to the health of the intestinal flora and lower cholesterol level.
COMPLEX CARBOHYDRATES ARE FOUND IN THE FOLLOWING FOODS:
- cereals and seeds
- Sweet potatoes)
- whole wheat products
- plain rice
SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES ARE FOUND IN:
- products made from bleached or refined flour
- sweets (candies)
- sugary soft drinks and fruit juices
And while we’re on the subject of carbs, let’s not forget to mention pre- and probiotics . Consume it regularly to contribute to the health of your intestinal flora.
Proteins are made up of an assembly of amino acids linked together by chains. There are a total of 20 amino acids in our body. Proteins perform many functions in our body. Amino acids are classified into 3 categories : essential (our body cannot produce them on its own and therefore they must be supplied through the diet), conditionally essential and non-essential.
Proteins act as hormones, enzymes and antibodies in the immune system that protect us against infections. They are also found in certain structures of the body (connective tissue, skin, hair and muscle fibers).
About 60% of the proteins present in our body are stored in the muscles . But these reserves are not used as a direct source of energy, but rather as building blocks for the body.
As a general rule, it is recommended to consume 1 g of protein per kg of body weight daily . But if your goal is to gain muscle mass, you can increase the amount (between 1.2 and 1.8 g per kg of body weight). Are you a strength athlete? So always consider consuming protein combined with carbohydrates (ratio 1: 3) after training . Why ? After ingesting carbohydrates, your body will release insulin, a hormone that promotes anabolism and which will therefore stimulate muscle growth.
THESE FOODS ARE RICH IN PROTEIN:
- Fish and seafood
- Milk and dairy products
- Cereal-based products
- Soy products
Also, be sure to combine certain foods to increase the biological value of your meal.
Lipids are important vectors of taste . They appear in our diet as a solid (eg butter, coconut fat) or liquid (vegetable oils). Fatty acids are classified as follows:
The omega-3 and omega-6 are also part of polyunsaturated fatty acids which are essential and therefore must be obtained through the diet. They are found in cold water fish (salmon, herring, mackerel), safflower oil, linseed oil and walnuts. The omega 3 / omega 6 ratio should be around 1: 5.
The unsaturated fatty acids are essential to regulate metabolism and contribute to the elasticity of cell membranes. They also improve blood flow and are important for cell growth and regeneration.
In addition to providing valuable fatty acids, lipids also facilitate the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K, known as liposoluble. Animal fats also contain cholesterol, which, synthesized through exposure to the sun, will provide vitamin D to the skin.
Cholesterol is also involved in the production of hormones. But beware: it is still not recommended to consume foods rich in cholesterol at the risk of promoting the appearance of cardiovascular diseases.
The proportion of fat in our diet should be between 30-35% , with 20-25% unsaturated fat and a maximum of 10% saturated fat.
Conclusion : the 3 macronutrients are absolutely essential for your health and for certain functions of your body. Eat a balanced diet to provide your body with everything it needs to function 100%.