As a hunter, and someone who spends a good portion of their time in the woods and away from a kitchen, it's important to know what the three macronutrients are and what they can do for you!
The three macronutrients all foods are made of are: Carbohydrates, Proteins, and Healthy Fats. Each macro has its own purpose within your body, and it's important to have a balanced mixture of each in your meals. We'll go into more detail why later.
Carbs are things like grain items, veggies and fruit, as well as most junk foods. Healthy fats are things like oils, butter, nut butters, seeds, nuts, avocado, etc. Proteins are red meat, fish, chickpeas, tofu, fish, shell fish, protein powder, etc. Let’s go a bit more into depth for you.
Carbohydrates are used for one purpose in your body - ENERGY- and are classified in three groups by the way they are structured. The ways they are structured affects how they are absorbed, how they digest and how they react when cooked. Carbs are ultimately broken down into glucose, fructose, sucrose, lactose and a few other harder to name “oses”. Something very interesting to note is that our livers actually prefer Fructose as a source of energy and glycogen replenishment. But just like all other types of sugar glucose in the blood, when we have all we need in the blood, liver and muscles, the rest will be stored as fat.
Studies have also shown that more than 50g of ADDED glucose in a day can start to cause
problems, now whats “added? That’s things like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, juice, honey, etc.
Most of you have likely heard of the Glycemic index right? This is a measure of how quickly and significantly a given food can elevate your blood sugar. Each foods calculation is relative to 100, so given a score out of 100. In general foods that have high fibre and are less processed will have a lower GI number and take longer to digest, and that is good! GI can sometimes be unrealistic when calculating what you should eat due to digestion times, mixing with other foods, etc. So a different measurement used is GLYCEMIC LOAD. This is the GI multiplied by the serving size. These are both ways to determine how a body MIGHT react to foods, but it is definitely not the end all be all, and I don’t want you getting wrapped up in GI numbers.
Something interesting is that our brain needs approximately 130 g of glucose a day to function properly, BUT it can get it from multiple food sources and via multiple chemical reactions in the body.
Do not be afraid of the word fat. Fats are a vitally important macronutrient needed in the body and I will explain some of the roles a bit later. But a couple easy things to remember about fats are: Saturated fats are usually hard at room temperature. Unsaturated are usually liquid at room temp.
Dietary fat has six major roles:
1. They provide us with energy, in fact fat is the most energy dense macro
2. It helps balance hormones, particularly our sex hormones and corticosteroid hormones
3. It forms our cell membranes
4. If forms our nervous systems and brains
5. It helps transport fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K 6. And it delivers omega 3 and omega 6 to us which our bodies cant make
Now, TRANS FATS are the ones to look out for. Trans fats take an Unsaturated fat (liquid at room temp) and add hydrogenation. This might be good for commercial food production but it IS NOT GOOD for our bodies. Trans fats have been linked to chronic diseases, diminished blood vessel function and essential fatty acid deficiencies.
But guess what!!!??
If you stay away from bad processed foods, you should be just fine!
Proteins and amino acids are the building blocks of our body, one thing that is different is that your body cannot store proteins the same way it does carbs and fats. So therefore you will need to eat and ingest protein molecules throughout your day. You need to ingest enough proteins to stay on top of the constant turnover of proteins.
Protein is responsible for rebuilding and repairing tissues, regulating and creating hormones and in assisting our immune system!
A very important task that protein accomplishes is repair of the body. Our bodies are constantly turning over protein molecules and needs more to keep that level. The sedentary individual doesn’t need a lot of protein to deal with turnover rates BUT a highly active individual will need a lot of protein!
A sedentary adult needs approximately 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight per day, not the very upper limit of what the liver and kidneys can handle in a normal individual is about 3.5-4.5 g per kg per day. At approximately 150 lbs, 306g is the most you should eat on any day.
Now most of us likely are plant based eaters but just incase you are, you should be including at least ONE CUP of beans and legumes per day and avoiding cereals and grains as those leach amino acids.
Now that you know more about each of the three macronutrients it will be much easier for you to make really great informed choices about the food you eat in relation to your health and fitness goals. Is the way you are currently eating putting you closer or further away from your goals?
In our balanced meals, balanced blood sugar blog we talk about how "most" people eat really isn't all that healthy. We are told to eat a certain way by mainstream media but when you get down and dirty looking at the basic macro makeup of the food you will realize its not all that great.
I hope this was helpful for you!
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