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What are macronutrients and why are they important?

You’ve probably heard the term ‘macronutrient’ blasted on lots of health forums, but what does it really mean? We’re going to break it down for you in this post because having the right balance of macronutrients is vital when you’re wanting to lose weight, gain muscle or improve performance. That’s why all of our meals have been carefully designed with measured macronutrients to assist you in getting the best results possible.

So, let’s talk macronutrients. Macronutrients, or “macros”, are the building blocks of all food which our body uses for energy, growth and general bodily functions. The three major macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Each of these macronutrients provides energy in the form of calories.

Proteins

Protein is a combination of crucial amino acids that instigate recovery and muscle growth. Enzymes used for digestion, protection, and immunity are made of protein, and essential hormones used for body regulation require protein. In addition, protein helps with satiety and has been proven to benefit active people who are looking to lose or gain weight (depending on their goals). The body is made up of thousands of proteins – so it is safe to say it is a very important macronutrient.

You’ll find a significant amount of protein in meats, eggs, milk, cheese, yoghurt, nuts and legumes.

Carbohydrates

Carbs are the body’s primary energy source – both your brain and your muscles prefer to use them as fuel. This is because they are easily metabolised. Carbs can be simple or complex – think of simple carbs as sweet (like fructose) and complex carbs as savoury (such as starch in potatoes). Complex carbs digest slowly and therefore provide a steady release of energy, where as simple carbohydrates digest far more quickly.

Complex carbs can be found in brown rice, oats, starchy vegetables and wholemeal bread. Simple carbs include white rice, white bread, cookies etc.

Fats

At times, fat can be negatively stigmatized, however it is an essential nutrient involved in many bodily functions. Our body needs fat to help absorb vitamins and create a positive hormonal environment in the body.

It is important to remember that not all fats are the same. There are three types of fat: unsaturated fats, saturated fats and trans fats.

Unsaturated fats have been linked to increased cardiovascular health, recovery, lower cholesterol and in some studies, increased cognitive function. If you want to be sure you’re getting these fats within your diet, you’ll find that unsaturated fats are liquid at room temperature.

There is often debate around the benefit of saturated fats. Commonly found within meats, dairy and coconut oils, saturated fats may help to optimise hormone production in the body however, they are typically known for increasing blood cholesterol and the risk of heart disease. Generally solid at room temperature.

Like saturated fats, trans fats can have a negative impact on heart health and can be commonly referred to as ‘bad’ fats. These fats are known for increasing your bad cholesterol (LDL) and decreasing your good cholesterol (HDL) as well as the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Fats can be found in food like avocados, certain nuts, egg yolks, nut butters, fish and oils.

If that all still sounds too confusing – don’t sweat it. Basically, the breakdown of macronutrients in the food you eat does affect your progress and results – but 5.4 can do the hard part of measuring, counting and preparing for you. We cook meals that have already had their macronutrients perfectly measured by nutritionists and food technologists to make sure you are getting the right fuel for optimal performance, with tailored plans to suit your goals.

So what are you waiting for? Check out our carefully measured meal plans and never stress about counting your macros again: www.fivepointfour.com.au

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