It seems to reason that there are many misunderstandings about macronutrients today. Fear-mongering Yo-yo Diet Profiteers work day and night to pump out content that tries to swindle you into fearing certain macronutrients so you can buy their latest snake oil. What this simple article will help you see is that macronutrients are just categories of food that are sources of energy that have specific functions our bodies require to live. All of them are important (with the exception of one) and none of them are plotting and scheming to increase our waist sizes or give us diabetes.
If you’ve read the previous blog post discussing your Big Rocks, this will probably satisfy a few questions that may have popped-up. It may seem perplexing that I was able to pass on the idea that your weight loss program and life-long diet ought to be BUILT and not torn-down beginning with the foods you enjoy eating.
*Side note: If you’re new to this blog, first things first, welcome! Second, questioning anything and everything on this blog is a necessity in order for you to better understand how food affects your body in a common sense way that will put you in control of how you look. Please feel free to comment and email any and all questions you may have, especially if you disagree. You may comment below and email at firstname.lastname@example.org This only makes all of us more knowledgable and better-equipped for our endeavors.
The information below is going to help you realize that all food you eat, whether they taste good to you or not, are made of varying combinations of the same macronutrients (defined below).
This is an important concept to understand for your longterm weight loss success because Yo-yo Diet Profiteers will attempt to shroud foods you enjoy eating in guilt. They are able to achieve this by banking on the fact that you do not understand the simple information below. If you read this blog post in its entirety you will have taken a huge step in the direction of better understanding how food affects you body in a common sense way that will help put you in control of how you look.
Let’s get to work!
What are the major macronutrients?
(Bonus you’ll love to see)
Let’s first understand that protein, fat, and carbohydrate are all used as energy sources for our bodies, and though some supply more energy per gram, none of them are evil and are out to get us (except for maybe the bonus macronutrient at the end). Without getting too complex, how about we dip our toes into each major macronutrient and learn how much energy they give us and what major roles they play in our bodies?
Protein, whether it comes from animal or plant sources, is broken down into its building blocks called amino acids. Some amino acids our bodies can make, and some our bodies cannot; these are non-essential and essential amino acids, respectively. Aside from being used as an energy source, our bodies use the amino acids from dietary protein sources (protein we eat) to help build proteins of our own and aid in all kinds of other cellular functions our bodies require to live.
Protein Energy Measurement:
Every 1 g (gram) of protein seems to yield 4 kcal (calories). Putting this in practical terms, if a serving of your favorite extra lean cut of meat has 20 g of protein per serving, that serving is worth 80 kcal.
Because: 20 g protein X 4 Kcal/g = 80 Kcal
Fat is another energy source for our bodies. No matter what alteration of the truth an actor in a lab coat in a late-night infomercial told you, fat is essential for everyone. Fat is made from smaller molecules called fatty acids (and glycerol, but that’s beyond what is helpful to you right now). Just like some amino acids, our bodies cannot make every fatty acid on their own and we call those fatty acids, essential fatty acids (EFA).
*Side Note: It’s important not to confuse the macronutrient fat with the act of gaining adipose tissue (a fancy term for body fat). Yes, the macronutrient fat can aid in gaining unwanted body weight in terms of body fat, however it is the total package of being in a caloric surplus (consuming more energy than you expend over a period of time) that contributes to this. If you continue reading this blog (which I hope you do) this concept of energy balance will be discussed further and repeated often because it’s THE mechanism for weight loss and weight gain in terms of body fat. The concept of energy balance also comes with the added benefit putting more Yo-yo Diet Profiteers out of business as more people like you and me begin to understand and implement it.
There are many types of fats out there, but the big ones that you’ll see on nutrition fact labels are saturated fats and unsaturated fats. These are named according to their carbon structure, however you don’t need an organic chemistry course to spot these in everyday life. A good rule-of-thumb is unsaturated fats tend to be liquids at room temperature (think oils), and saturated fats tend to be solids at room temperature (think that awesome chunk of fat and marbling on your uncooked brisket).
*Side note: The above mentioned rule-of-thumb does not necessarily apply to those foods that have a mix of both saturated and unsaturated fats.
Fat Energy Measurement:
Every 1 g of fat seems to yield 9 kcal. Putting this in practical terms, if a serving of your favorite European butter has 11 g of fat per serving, that serving is worth 99 kcal.
Because: 11 g fat X 9 Kcal/g = 99 Kcal (or about 100 Kcal, which you’ll probably see on the label)
Uh-oh! This is THE cash cow for many Yo-yo Diet Profiteers. This is the one that you are told you must avoid at all costs (except for the magical categories of carbohydrate blessed by a profiteering guru, of course).
Carbohydrate seems to be the most misunderstood (poor little guy) and politicized macronutrient in the contemporary diet. (Sorry, can’t cite that one, totally my opinion). Nevertheless, carbohydrate is another essential macronutrient our bodies need. Carbohydrate, in most forms, gets broken down into sugar for quick energy (relative) and can be used as stored energy in the muscles and liver in the form of glycogen. Some carbohydrates are also further classified as dietary fiber, and we’ll go over that in a future blog post. Dietary fiber is important enough for weight loss and overall health that it needs its own blog post(s). If you’re currently working directly with Cornerstone Weight Loss for longterm, sustainable weight loss, then you already know how dietary fiber is an absolute necessity. Dietary fiber is one of the most important elements to get to know in order to have a better understanding of how food affects your body in a common sense way that will help put you in control of how you look.
Carbohydrate Energy Measurement:
Every 1 g of carbohydrate seems to yield 4 kcal. Putting this in practical terms, if a serving of your favorite pasta has 50 g of carbohydrate per serving, that serving is worth 200 kcal.
Because: 50 g protein X 4 Kcal/g = 200 Kcal
Yes, alcohol (the stuff found in beer, wine, liquor, etc) is considered a macronutrient, however it is not essential for you to live (duh). The body does not have a means to store alcohol, however alcohol does supply energy when you ingest it. Obviously too much alcohol at once can result in death, but if you do drink alcohol on occasion the energy it provides is not insignificant.
By now you may have been thinking about the “light” beer you drank in the past. Maybe you have had on in particular that was advertised as 100 kcal and “2g net carbs?”
Wouldn’t that mean the light beer should have only been 8 calories?
After reading this blog post it seems either the information you just read is incorrect or the labeling for that light beer needs to be corrected.
It turns out, it’s all correct!
What the label did not tell you was the contribution of energy by the alcohol content. Alcohol can contribute a significant amount of calories, but it often slips through the cracks of many weight loss programs. Here’s how to measure how many calories that alcoholic beverage is adding to your overall caloric intake.
Careful! Reading this could make you seriously re-consider that diet vodka and water you were going to have…
Alcohol Energy Measurement:
Every 1 g of alcohol seems to yield 7 kcal.
But wait, if a serving of your favorite 12 oz (ounce) beer has 4% alcohol per volume how the heck do you calculate that?
Well, let’s do a little thinking…
1 oz = about 30 mL
1 mL is about equivalent to 1 g, so…
One 12 oz beer = (12 oz X 30 mL) = 360 mL
360 mL is about equivalent to 360 g
4% of 360 = 14.4
14.4g alcohol X 7 Kcal/g = 100.8 kcal (or about 100 kcal, which you’ll probably see on the label)
If you have just read and digested this blog post, congratulations! You are now more educated than most people in being able to read AND INTERPRET nutrition labels. You can now breeze by the clever marketing on the packages in the supermarket that tries to lure you in by catch phrases!
*Side note: Catch phrase examples: Low-fat! Low-carb! Keto-Friendly! Healthy! On and on and on and…
Better yet, you can breeze by (run from) the Yo-yo Diet Profiteer’s new book/blog/channel that tries to get you to be afraid of a particular macronutrient in order to buy the re-packaged, re-branded snake oil they’re selling.
You can think of what you just learned as another tool in your weight loss tool box. Just like owning a wrench doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to fix every problem in the house you’re building, knowing how to properly count macronutrients doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to navigate every challenge of your weight loss program. Accounting for what you’re eating and mastering the art of paying close attention to how your eating habits are affecting your body is a learned skill that takes time. Learning to pay close attention and translating that into weight loss success can take a long time to develop when learning alone. The time it takes to learn, however, can be shortened significantly by using a professional guide who can help you better understand how food affects your body in a common sense way that will put you in control of how you look.
Perhaps you have developed some questions while reading this, and maybe those questions can lead to some answers from which others may benefit. Please comment below or send an email with your questions to email@example.com and let’s get the knowledge flowing!
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