If you are wondering about the relationship between macronutrients and weight loss, you are not alone. Here you will learn information about sugars, calories, carbohydrates, protein, cholesterol, fat and sodium along with other information linked to the composition of food.
What Are Macronutrients?
Macronutrients are nutrients which provide calories and are needed by the body for metabolism, growth and other functions. The three key macronutrients are protein, fat and carbohydrates. Like macronutrients, micronutrients are also important for the well-being of the body, and are taken into smaller amounts. These include minerals and vitamins.
How They Affect Weight Loss
Protein is imperative for growth and tissue repair, making enzymes and hormones, and proper functioning of the immune system. It also helps muscle mass to grow and further preserves it. Also, in the absence or shortage of carbohydrates for energy, the body starts to break down protein present in the muscles. Rich sources of protein include vegetables, lentils, beans, meat, milk, bread, peanut butter, cereal and rice.
As per the Dietary Reference Intakes, around 10 to 35% of your calories should come from protein. So, if you are aiming to shed weight, go higher than this recommended range as protein meals will effectively help you lose calories.
Fats are divided into three primary categories: saturated, unsaturated and trans. Saturated fat is found in lard, butter and whole-milk dairy products. Unsaturated fat, which is known as “good fat”, can be found in canola and olive oil, nuts and avocados. Trans or hydrogenated fat, also known as “bad fat” is a processed fat found usually in food products, such as fried foods, margarine and vegetable shortening.
Fat is not bad after all. It helps with the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, and carotenoids. However, fat, especially Trans, can affect the body adversely. Various studies have proven the link between fat and weight gain. Other research suggests that excess consumption of fat can lead to cardiovascular problems and high cholesterol. Therefore, it is important that you limit the intake of Trans fats and replace it with healthy saturated fats.
Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for the body. The recommended daily carbohydrates intake as per the Dietary Reference Intake should be between 45 to 65% of the total calories. Carbohydrates comprise of fiber, starches and sugars.
- Sugars can be found in table sugar glucose, fructose (fruit sugar) or lactose (milk sugar). Although sugar adds to the flavor and aroma of the food, it doesn’t provide the body with any minerals or vitamins. High consumption of sugar not only encourages weight gain but also other various health problems like diabetes and tooth cavities.
- Starches are usually found in potatoes, pasta, grains and beans, and are broken down by the body in a similar way as sugar.
- Fiber is a kind of carbohydrate the body does not digest, and therefore it doesn’t provide energy. However, it can speed up the digestion process and is therefore a great way to lose weight. Vegetables, fruits and whole grains are a great source of fiber.