When talking about nutrition, one of the most important concepts to understand is how your body uses different nutrients to function properly. Nutrient intake comes from two main sources: food and supplements.
By knowing which macronutrients you consume, how much of each you need, and what levels are optimal for health, you can make sure you are getting enough of them. This is particularly important in cases where you are on a limited budget or have special needs such as an illness or pregnancy.
Macronutrients include protein, carbohydrate, and fat. Different people may have their own recommendations for how many grams of each individual nutrient they should be eating per day, but we generally agree that adults require 4-6% of our weight per day in proteins, 15-30% of our weight per day in carbohydrates, and 10%-20% of our weight per day in fats.
Calculate your protein goal
Now that you have an idea of how much total carbs, fat and protein you need to maintain your current body weight, it’s time to calculate what amount of each macronutrient you should aim to consume.
Most nutrition experts agree that we can get our daily quota for both protein and carbohydrates from foods alone, but some people still confuse them.
So before we talk about whether or not you are getting enough of either nutrient, let us first make sure that you are meeting your nutritional needs for the other one!
More than half of all adults in America are overfed on carbohydrate-rich food and watercrafty diets that contain little to no protein. This is why obesity rates continue to rise despite many diet plans encouraging individuals to eat more fruits and vegetables.
By this logic, it makes sense to assume that most people are already eating enough protein!
However, several studies show that we need at least 10% of our day’s calories to be made up of protein to keep ourselves lean and healthy. Luckily, most people aren’t because they don’t know what a calorie is!
Another myth is that if you like foods with lots of fat then you must love cholesterol, which may not be the case. Many oils (like those used to fry things) actually reduce blood cholesterol levels.
This article will help you determine how much protein you need by figuring out your body mass, gender, and age.
Calculate your fat goal
After you have determined how many carbs you need, it is time to calculate your target amount of protein! The average person needs around 70 grams of protein per day, so choose an amount that makes you feel this way.
You should aim to get at least half of your daily nutritional intake from proteins, but really anything more than that is good for you! Proteins are important nutrients in our diets that help build strong bones, muscles, and internal organs.
We recommend trying to achieve one serving (about 7 grams) of protein every other day. This can be done with any kind of meat, milk, or fish as long as they each make up 1/7th of your quota.
Your stomach will tell you whether it has enough protein already, so try eating some food and see if you feel full or hungry later that day. If you’re still hungry an hour later, chances are you didn’t eat enough.
Combine your macronutrients into their own category
There is an assumption that when we are eating foods, we should be combining them in terms of protein, carbs, or fat. However, this isn’t quite right!
There is actually one more important nutrient called “the other nutrients.” The other nutritional elements include potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron. These minerals play a major role in overall health and weight loss.
So instead of thinking about nutrition as proteins, carbs, and fats, how about thinking about it as proteins, carbs, fats, and the other essential vitamins and minerals?
This way of looking at things changes the conversation slightly because you aren’t talking about what each ingredient does for your diet, but what all of these ingredients do for your body.
They help regulate blood glucose (carbs), maintain bone density (protein), give us energy (fat) and various vitamins and minerals such as K (potassium). They also aid in keeping our immune system strong.
Given all of those functions, it makes sense to consider the other nutrients as part of the diet, not something separate from it.
Know your values
The next step in calculating your daily macronutrient intake is to know your average value of each nutrient. This means knowing how much of each nutrient you consume on a per-unit basis, such as one slice of bread or one serving size piece of meat.
By having an understanding of what constitutes a serving size of some foods, you can use those numbers to calculate how many grams of each nutrient you’re eating per day. For example, if you have two slices of toast with butter then it is considered a serving of fat (or more correctly, saturated fat).
That would be 2 tablespoons which are 15 grams of fat! By using that number as your benchmark for a “serving” of fat you can find out how many grams of fat you eat per day by dividing this number by your daily food intake.
The same goes for carbohydrates, protein and calories.
Eat more often
A lot of people get hung up on calculating their macros, or as they are called, your macronutrients. They do not eat enough of one or more of them to start, then try to make up for it by eating more of the others. This does not work in the long run!
By starting with an adequate amount of each nutrient, we can maximize the benefits these nutrients have for us. Some of these benefits include satiety (feeling full), growth (muscle, bone) and immune function.
So how do you determine what amounts of each nutrient you should be eating? That depends on your goals and individual needs. There are some general recommendations that everyone agrees upon: carbs, protein, and fat.
Carbohydrates are found in foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. Different carbohydrates have different effects on our bodies, so individuals’s needs differ depending on their body type.
We recommend getting half your daily intake from carbs before breakfast, and then the other half spread through the day. These could be either complex or simple carbs, but remember that sugar is carbohydrate.
Protein is also an important part of most diets, however unlike fats protein cannot be stored so those who don’t consume enough may face over-expansion of blood glucose levels.
This can cause symptoms like nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Having enough protein helps promote healthy weight loss and maintenance due to this effect.
Eat more vegetables
Most people start by looking at their protein intake, which is usually estimated using the average number of calories that an average person eats per day. But before you add too much meat to your diet, there are two important things to know about proteins.
First, we don’t eat as many total carbs as we might think. The average person estimates around 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, but most experts agree that we should probably be eating less than 30 grams per day.
So instead of adding +20% to your current carbohydrate limit because you’re now allowing some foods with carbs, we can subtract 10% from your daily allowed amount of protein.
This means that if you have a 2,000 calorie diet, you would allow 0-60 grams of protein per day depending on what kind of protein you include in those 60 grams.
Second, not all sources of protein are equal. Some are higher in calories and fat than others. Meat is definitely high in both fats and calories, so it’s better to stick to one serving (4 oz/100 g) every few days rather than eating lots of it everyday.
That’s why it makes sense to focus on replacing pasta or bread products with other foods that contain similar amounts of nutrients but fewer calories. These nutrition alternatives include fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds, and yogurt.
Eat more fruit
One of your macronutrients is fruits. Fruits are usually categorized into three groups according to their degree of sweetness- sweet, sour, and bitter.
The term “fruit” actually refers to any plant-based food that contains vitamin C in form of ascorbic acid. This includes berries, citrus, melons, and kiwis!
Many people limit their intake of fruits due to the perception that they are too much of a good thing. Since most whole foods (foods not processed) contain some amount of carbs, people assume that eating lots of fruits will lead to weight gain.
This isn’t always the case though! While it is true that some fruits can be high in carbohydrates, this doesn’t apply to all types of fruits. For example, while bananas have almost every bit of carbohydrate made from sugar, they also pack an excellent amount of fiber which helps you feel full longer.
Fiber also aids in digestive function so you won’t feel hungry soon after eating a banana. Plus, there are many ways to include fruits in your diet that don’t involve eating them by themselves – for instance, when they are mixed into other foods or used in recipes.
With these things in mind, why not increase your daily serving of fruits? The recommended one per person per day is enough to meet our nutritional needs and help us enjoy them more.
Eat less sugar
Many people start diets with very strict rules, which can sometimes feel overwhelming. One of the most common diet tips is to reduce or even eliminate sugar from your food.
Many fad diets will tell you that eating too much sugar makes you gain weight. This is not true! Having small amounts of sugar in your diet is good for your health.
Sugars are a important nutrient for healthy living. You should definitely limit your intake of added sugars, but there’s no need to completely avoid them.
Not only that, but too much sugar can be harmful if consumed in large quantities. So while it is okay to enjoy some sweets every now and then, we should try to hold down our sugar intake overall.
Another tip is to instead use fruits or vegetables as a source of sweet taste. Some examples include berries, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes.