Carbohydrates, Fats, and Proteins - Which Macronutrient is the Most Important?
Nope the most important macronutrient is not protein… or carbohydrates ... or fats. So what is the most important one of them all? That is a trick question, it is all of them. Each one serves a different but important purposes for our bodies. So let’s take a look at each of these and the reason we need all of them.
We are going to start off with the macronutrient that undeservingly gets way too much hate,
carbohydrates. This is actually our bodies favorite thing to use for energy, I mean our brains are almost entirely dependent on them! Even at rest our bodies are breaking them down to use for energy to keep blood and oxygen moving, organs working, and much more. Aim to get most of your carbohydrates from complex sources such as whole grains, vegetables, and beans. Complex carbohydrates are slower at breaking down which will provide you with lasting energy with no spike and drop, plus it keeps you fuller for longer.
Fats have so many different jobs it is crazy to even think about. Fat can also be used for energy, but it is also in charge of keeping your body warm, protect your organs, help absorb nutrients and produce important hormones, makes you feel satisfied, and keeps you fuller for longer. Not all fats are exactly the same, it is better to get most of your fats from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that are liquid at room temperature, such as olive oil. These can help lower bad cholesterol, while trans and saturated fats tend to increase that. A few great ways to get in healthy fats are nuts (almonds, cashews, pistachios, and so on), avocado, guacamole, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, full fat cheeses, and vinaigrettes.
Last but not least, protein. This seems to be the most loved macronutrient in the fitness and health world at the moment. Protein helps repair and build new cells. It may not actually make you stronger, but it does help build stronger muscles after you break them down during a workout. Your body is able to use protein for energy, but that is its last resort and it really does not like to do that. As important as protein is, it should not be the only macro that you consume.
All of the macronutrients work together so none of them should be left out. You may lose a lot of weight at first by cutting out all carbs. I hate to tell you this but weight loss like this does not last very long. Instead we need to learn to get a balance of all the macronutrients at the amount our bodies need each day.
If you have any questions, please never hesitate to reach out and we would be happy to discuss your training and/or nutrition with you.
“Macronutrients.” Science Learning Hub, www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/534-macronutrients.