There are three macronutrients: protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates(fiber). These are crucial to blood sugar balance and satiety. Macronutrients contain all the components of food that the body needs to maintain its systems and structures.
Protein is a macronutrient and polypeptide. Proteins are made up of amino acids that are linked together by a peptide bond. Protein provides structure and growth, catalyzes reactions, signaling, supports immune activity, and transports across cell membranes. It also helps the body repair, is a good energy source, allows metabolic reactions to take place, and helps coordinate bodily functions. A protein can either be complete or incomplete. A complete protein is a protein that contains all of the essential amino acids in amounts sufficient for maintenance of normal body weight and growth rate. An incomplete protein is a protein that is deficient in one or more essential amino acids. Strive for complete proteins as it is going to provide the most amino acids to be used in the body. Food sources of complete proteins include fish, poultry, eggs, beef, and pork.
Fat, lipids, are organic biomolecules that are soluble in organic solvents but not in water. Often times people are scared of consuming fat; however, it is crucial to normal cell, organ, and brain functioning. They help the body absorb nutrients, help the body produce hormones, provide energy, and they help keep the body warm. However not all fats are equal, it is important to avoid trans fats; these are unsaturated fats that have been hydrogenated. This raises your bad LDL cholesterol levels and lowers your good HDL cholesterol levels. Some food examples of this include margarine, shortening, and microwaved popcorn. The good fats that we are wanting to include in our daily diets are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Some food examples of monounsaturated fats include olive oil, avocadoes, nuts, and seeds. Food example of polyunsaturated fats include sunflower seeds, fish, and walnuts. These are good sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, both of which are needed in our diets. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in nuts and needs whereas omega 6 fatty acids are found in meats. We need our omega 6 to omega 3 ratio to be 4:1 but, the average western intake ratio is 16:1.
Carbohydrates are organic molecules that are used primarily for energy. Carbohydrates protect the muscle mass from being catabolized during exercise and, when broken down into glucose during digestion they provide the main energy source for the brain and the nervous system. Simple carbohydrates are a good way to get quick energy, but it will not create satiety as it is used quickly in the body. Complex carbohydrates, fiber, creates energy that is absorbed slower and gives satiety. There are two types of fiber that we need in our diets, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves easily and is broken down into a gel-like substance in the colon. Some food examples of this include beans, avocadoes, and citrus fruit. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and passes the GI tract mainly intact, creating bulky stool. Some food examples of this include whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Protein, healthy fat, and complex carbohydrates(fiber) are the three macronutrients that are crucial to blood sugar balance and satiety.
Everyone is different and the daily amount of protein, fiber, and healthy fat needed varies from person to person. Make sure that your meals have all three macronutrients and from there you can adjust the amounts to what works best for you!