Regulating macros in a key component of weightloss and/or body recomposition. Macros, or macronutrients, are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that our body requires to have energy. These nutrients that we intake also serve other purposes in our body as they undergo different metabolic processes.
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Both simple carbohydrates, like table sugar, white bread, and fruits, as well as complex carbohydrates like oats, brown rice and beans are both eventually broken down to glucose. Simple carbs release glucose quickly and all at once while complex carbs take time to be broken down and provide a longer, sustained source of energy. Glucose is the main source of fuel for our cells in making energy, known as ATP.
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Fats, while they get a bad reputation, are necessary for energy storage, hormone production and cell membrane production among a wide variety of processes. The key to fat intake lies in understanding what types of foods contain the most beneficial fats for the body. Generally, it is recommended to avoid both saturated fats and trans fats which can raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and increase risk of heart disease. Saturated fats are found in red meats and cheese and other dairy products which trans fats are usually found in deep fried food. Unsaturated fats, found in avocados, seeds and seafood are healthy for the body and can even reduce heart disease.
Proteins contain essential amino acids that can aide your body in growing and repairing tissues and maintaining muscle mass. When you think of muscles, the first thing to come to mind are skeletal muscles like triceps and hamstrings. However, the heart, stomach and other essential organs are also made up of muscle cells and protein intake can aide in maintaining them as well. Outside of its role in muscle synthesis and maintenance, which can help boost metabolism, is its ability to decrease hunger. Intaking protein increases levels of GLP-1, peptide YY and cholecystokinin (CCK), hormones which all signal high satiety. GLP-1 is able to decrease glucose response and insulin release by decreasing gastric emptying. High insulin release can lead to insulin resistance which is a key marker of type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Peptide YY functions by slowing down gastrointestinal movement and CCK inhibits gastric emptying which allows the stomach to hold the food for a longer period of time. Because the stomach is not empty, it cannot signal to the brain that it requires additional food. In combination with these proteins being released, release of your hunger hormone, ghrelin, is inhibited. The combination of these effects of a high-protein meal increases satiation and over a period of time can lead to weight loss and decreased overall hunger signals in the body.
Pesta, D. H., & Samuel, V. T. (2014). A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutrition & metabolism, 11(1), 53. https://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-11-53