Understanding Macronutrients

Author: Jennifer Ward, Adv Dip Nat, BCom Econ   Date Posted:1 August 2019 

Macro what? Let's simplify it for you

Eating well starts with understanding the basics of nutrition. Understanding the basics of nutrition requires you to understand two very important groupings - micronutrients (small) and macronutrients (big). We require both to survive and we can manipulate our intake to thrive (pretty cool!)
 
Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals found in foods e.g. vitamin c or vitamin D. There are trace amounts of micronutrients in food, some with higher micronutrient content like vegetables and some with lower micronutrient content like white rice. 
 
Macronutrients on the other hand make up the bulk of food and are classified under three categories - carbohydrates, fats and protein. When we think of carbohydrates we might think of pasta, when we think of fats we may think of butter and when we think of protein we may think of meat. 
 
It sounds nice and simple and it should be easy to comprehend but for many it's not and there is a reason why. 
 
Wholefoods such as legumes, nuts, eggs and broccoli contain a mixed ratio of all proteins/fats/carbs. For example, a chickpea is comprised of approx. 25% carbs, 5% fat and 20% protein. So, when we look at a wholefood healthy meal like an on-trend buddha bowl it can be a little overwhelming to mentally calculate your macro's when starting out.
 
Let's compare this to say steak, chips, salad and mayo - we can clearly see the protein is coming from the steak, carbs from the chips, high micros from the salad and fats from the mayo. 
 
Now you may be thinking macros are so new to me I didn't even know chips were carbs! And that is okay! We didn't get taught all of this at school, so you are not the only one thinking it. 
 
To get your head around macro's, first understand food groupings, these are the different types of foods we can choose from. 
 
If you were to eat a wholefood diet you would be eating from these groupings
 
- Legumes
- Grains 
- Nuts and seeds
- Animal products
- Vegetables & fruit & herbs
- Oils/fats
 
Seems like a short list but that is the basics of a wholefood diet to which is actually less scary than you first thought to follow.
 
Now if we categorise these groupings into macro content it may look like this
 
Protein - meat, fish
 
Protein/fat - seeds, oily fish, dairy
 
Fat - oils, avocado, nuts, butter 
 
Carbs - grains, potato, vegetables, fruit, herbs, honey
 
Carbs/Protein - legumes, grains
 
Carbs/fats/protein - eggs
 
What's the ideal ratio? 
 
The ideal ratio of macros for a healthy individual is equal amounts of carbs, fats and protein. Nice and simple. 
 
Manipulating your macros
 
Someone may wish to manipulate their macros for reasons such as weight loss, athletic performance, cognition & memory, pregnancy & breastfeeding. Unless you have a reason to alter macro's there is no need to get caught up in the 'high carb, low fat', 'low fat, high protein' crazes which change from minute to minute. 
 
See don't count your macros
 
Now that you understand your macro's you can get a start on 'reading' each meal to see if it is balanced. There is no need to count your macro's, we actually discourage it if someone is just trying to maintain general health. Just simply ask yourself before you eat 'Where are my macro's in this meal?' 
 
If you have any questions about your diet, macronutrients or how to implement a change of diet please comment below or book in with one of our qualified and friendly naturopaths for an individualised assessment. 

For more information visit: 

Jennifer Ward Naturopaths

www.jenniferwardnaturopath.com.au/

Lvl 5 Studio 14, 35 Buckingham St

Surry Hills, NSW 2010

JW Naturpaths has an intimate workshop 100 days to ovulation where she will discuss natural & medical preconception guidelines. Tickets start at just $40 and can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/brunch-learn-100-days-to-ovulation-preconception-guidelines-tickets-65508673205

Activate Foods

For healthy & delicious ready made meals with your macros balanced, check out our full range here.

 


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