Understanding Macro Ratios





Paleo, Raw, Atkins, South Beach... which diet is best for our bodies when it comes to macronutrient ratio? One scientist claims their diet is "revolutionary" while another claims that their diet is the "key" to rid the world of obesity.


Truthfully, it's all a confusing blur. There are so many fad and extreme diets out there that it's nearly impossible to tell what a human being needs for their wellbeing. When it comes to weight-loss, many people follow low-carb and low-fat diets. But, is it really that simple? If it was, wouldn't everyone be cutting out that same macronutrient from their diet to reduce cholesterol or lose weight? Is this approach the right thing to do?





Ummm... What's A Macronutrient?

Macronutrients are the three basic components of food- that includes protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Micronutrients are also necessary for our bodies to thrive and these are minerals and vitamins.


Protein

Protein is vital as it is, in essence, the building blocks needed for your body. As it is comprised entirely of amino acids, protein is necessary for physical growth and repair, particularly for young children who are growing. In addition, the human body needs protein to maintain a healthy amount of muscle mass, and to produce the required amount of hormones.


Carbohydrate

Every single cell in your body, including the ones in your brain, prefer to use carbohydrates as a source of energy. The body can function well on glucose, which is carbohydrates in its broken-down form. For a healthy digestive system that works at optimal capacity, it is crucial to eat carbohydrate foods that are rich in fiber. This fiber has beneficial effects on disease prevention, cholesterol excretion, hormone regulation, and waste removal.


Fat

Over the years, we've given fat a real bad rap. And, for the most part, it's been out of sheer ignorance and misinformation. The truth is, we need fat for many bodily functions. Fat, unbeknownst to many, is the densest source of energy and is fundamental for the functionality of cell membranes as well as growth and development. Furthermore, it regulates inflammation, supports immune function, protects body tissues and organs by providing cushioning, and aids in the absorption and storage of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.


Is There An Ideal Macronutrient Balance?

The truth is, low-fat diets are not just dangerous, but EXTREMELY dangerous. Healthy fats, found in oily fish and avocados, are an essential source of nutrition in our diets. It would be oh-so-easy to give everyone on the planet a cut-and-dry diet that includes an ‘ideal ratio’ of protein, fat, and carbs. But, it's impossible, and that's because this ratio varies from person to person. When it comes to macronutrient intake, dietary requirements depend largely on body weight, gender, age, and stage of life (such as pregnancy).


Having said that, conditions also depend on other factors, like health and activity. The state of weight-loss or growth also determines the amount, and specifics, of macronutrients. For instance, someone who wishes to lose weight would have varying macronutrient requirements than someone who was a bodybuilder.


A Healthy Balance

In the end, healthy eating all comes down to having a healthy balance of macronutrients. In essence, you can have it all without relying on weighing food, reading labels, and counting calories. How is this possible? Well, the goal is to fill your plate with rainbow-colored veggies, as well as a palm-size portion of protein, such as fish, chicken, or legumes. Don't forget that you also need some "good" fat in your diet. So, add some healthy oils, like coconut or olive, and add seeds and nuts to salads, snacks or breakfast.