Macros 101: And Why Protein is My Favorite!
You’ve likely heard the term, and may even have an idea as to what a Macro is.
The term “Macro” is short for Macronutrients. Our bodies need external sources of fuel, and these come in a few different forms. The 3 most important macronutrients are Protein, Fats, and Carbohydrates.
All human bodies need to have some source of energy and nutrition from these 3 main sources, as each category provides something different for the body to use.
Today, I’d like to focus on my favorite Macro…Protein.
Proteins are the essential building blocks of all of our cells. Amino acids make up protein, and therefore, are equally essential to consume. Protein not only builds new muscle, but also helps to build/repair bone, soft tissues, and cell walls. Basically, proteins are the internal bricks and timber essential to building or repairing all tissues.
The problem is, many Americans, particularly women, do not eat enough protein. This is particularly evident as women get a little older. Weight gain starts to become an issue due to hormone and lifestyle changes, which in turn often causes a woman to restrict her diet to be mostly made up of produce.
I love produce, but it will not suffice when it comes to protein ingestion. In fact, several studies point to the conclusion that increasing protein consumption will actually AID in weight loss. In general, protein should comprise about 30% of your diet. So if you are a 140 lb woman, eating 1700 calories a day, you should be eating about 120 gm of protein each day. For many women, this seems like a lot of protein, but if you include protein at breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as at each of 2 snacks, you can make it quite easily!
There are several benefits to increasing protein in your nutrition plan, here are just a few:
- It helps to slow the digestive process, allowing for a slower release of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream. This helps with insulin functioning, as well as minimizes the glucose “crash” that can so often contribute to fatigue or moodiness.
- It will help you feel full for a longer period of time, so you are not reaching for those high sugar snacks as often.
- It helps to boost metabolism and increases fat burning. This is because the body expends more energy when it breaks down protein, compared with breaking down fats or carbohydrates.
- Helps maintain strength not only in muscle, but also bone, particularly as you age.
Try this easy rule of thumb for making sure you have enough protein in each meal. Be sure that your healthy protein source makes up at least a quarter of your plate at each meal or snack.
Good options for clean protein sources include:
- Eggs (with the yolks!)
- Organic chicken breast
- Legumes (i.e. lentils, kidney beans, garbanzo beans)
- Nut butters or nuts
I hope this helps to solidify the importance of adding protein to your diet. I’d invite you to take an honest look at your meals this week and see if you can determine whether you are getting enough. Message me if you have questions!