When it comes down to it, there are three major macronutrients in most foods we eat- protein, carbs, and fat. Different diets emphasize one over the other depending on which phase of weight loss you’re in.
By knowing how many grams of each nutrient you consume, your body can determine whether it needs to hold onto or lose weight. Nutritionists use this information to create balanced diet plans that are individualized for you!
This article will go into detail about what each nutrient does for your health and some tips for tracking them. Once you have these under control, creating a nutrition plan is easy!
You will also learn how to calculate all three nutrients in both total calories and per serving. This way you don’t need to worry about one being too much or too little, because you have data points to compare against.
To summarize, this article will help you be more aware of how much nutritional value you get from the food you eat and make smart eating habits that keep you healthy.
Calculate your calories
In the past, people would rely heavily on calorie counting to help them lose weight. While this is still a very effective way to manage your weight, it can be tricky to do correctly.
Counting calories takes a little bit of math so don’t expect to pick up a book and know how to count calories immediately. It takes some time to learn how to really understand what a healthy diet looks like and then you have to figure out how many calories you consume daily.
Luckily, there are several easy ways to track your calories. Some apps and websites make it simple to do so as well. There are even food diaries that automatically calculate everything for you!
This article will go over one of the most basic methods to remember how to count calories. Even if you aren’t totally sure where to find nutrition information or how to read a label, you can still learn about eating carbs, protein, and fat.
Calculate your macronutrients
In the midst of all of these discussions, it is important to note that knowing how many carbs, fats, and proteins you eat per day is just as important as knowing which ones you are eating.
Many people get confused about what kind of foods contain carbohydrates, fat, or protein and this can create some unhealthy habits. For example, someone may choose to reduce carb intake because they believe there are too many carbs in the food they eat, not realizing that most vegetables have limited amounts of carbohydrate.
Likewise, individuals may consume too much fat due to inaccurate information about the number of calories that exist in certain foods. This can lead to consuming more than needed of individual nutrients or excessive numbers of each nutrient, which could be harmful if done frequently enough.
By using an easy way to calculate our daily nutritional needs, we are making sure that we do not overbuy or underbuy any specific nutrient. Also, since we know what amount of each nutrient we need, we can easily adjust whatever diet we are on to see if they are meeting their requirements.
Know the different macronutrients
The main source of carbohydrate in our diet is foods and beverages, such as fruits, vegetables, breads and pasta, sugars, and milk. Because they are used for energy production, we can’t totally eliminate them from our diets, but you should aim to reduce your intake of carbohydrates.
The second major nutrient group is protein. Foods that contain protein help build strong muscles, keep your blood healthy, and provide essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Unlike carbs, which can be eaten in unlimited amounts, too much protein may pose health risks if consumed in excess.
Fat is an important nutritional component that helps make certain hormones and vitamin compounds active. Some fats also contribute key nutrients like zinc and cholesterol. However, too many calories rich in fat may increase your risk of obesity or even cause weight gain.
Calculate your fat percentage
The next step in determining how many carbs, proteins, and fats you need is calculating your body’s average nutritional intake. To do this, you need to know your Body Mass Index (BMI).
You can find your BMI by looking up your weight in the chart below and then finding your height value. Then use the chart to determine if you are at risk for overweight or obesity due to your bmi.
Once you have that information, calculate your average nutritional intake using the charts below. Once again, make sure to factor in gender, age, activity levels, and season when doing so!
Another important reminder: don’t assume your diet is made up of only carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Many foods contain some of these nutrients, making it hard to totally rid yourself of one nutrient group.
Know your different types of fat
There are three major components in any food-carbohydrate, protein, and fat. Different foods have different amounts of each, and how much you eat matters!
Carbohydrates and fats can be categorized as either “good” or “bad” depending on whether they’re consumed in sufficient quantities or not. But protein is definitely good for us; it’s made up of small molecules that help give us energy.
Calculate your protein percentage
In the beginning, when you first start thinking about eating more vegetables or limiting yourself to just two pieces of bread, it can be hard to know what foods you should include in your diet.
That’s where counting your macronutrients comes into play. Having enough nutrients is important for overall health, but especially important for young people who are developing bodies and minds.
Macronutrients are defined as being within certain ranges and making up most of our diets is carbohydrates, fat, and protein.
Carbohydrates are found in fruits, veggies, grains, and some sugars. Most adults need around 10% of their daily calories from carbs, while teens need slightly less (8%).
Too much carbohydrate intake can result in weight gain due to insulin resistance. This occurs when your body doesn’t use glucose (the main type of carb) effectively so it stores it instead.
This can lead to overweight and obesity later in life! Kids particularly vulnerable because their bones grow very slowly which makes it easier to store extra energy.
Fat is also needed for healthy growth, development, and function of various tissues. We aim to meet our nutritional needs by including several types of fats among them omega-3 fatty acids.
Omega-3s help reduce inflammation and improve blood clotting, both benefits for growing kids.
Know your different types of protein
Proteins are one of the major macronutrient groups in foods. There are five main categories of proteins: amino acids, vegetable-based proteins, fish-based proteins, milk-derived proteins, and meat-based proteins.
Amino acids are the general term for all the non-volatile parts of food that help make up other substances. For example, the luscious flavor of chicken soup is made from an abundant supply of aromatic amino acid molecules.
The more of these you eat, the better it will be for your overall health and fitness. Unfortunately, many of us do not get enough dietary amino acids due to our increasingly busy lives.
That’s why we should be thinking about how to add more sources of plant-based protein into our diets. Because they also contain important minerals like zinc and magnesium, they can aid in healthy bone growth and cardiac function, respectively.
Milk and some vegetables (like broccoli) are good sources of casein, which helps promote bone development. However, beyond their nutritional value, there is another reason to include milk and other vegetarian source foods — they may help reduce appetite and weight loss! That makes them great tools for staying fit.
Just because something is considered “white food” does not mean it lacks nutrition.
Calculate your carbohydrate percentage
In the past, people would use glucose or starch as a marker for how much of each macronutrient you have in a given food. Glucose is a common sugar found in many foods, so using it as a marker makes sense.
However, research has shown that this may not be the best way to determine your carbs. The average person consumes enough glucose to make counting carbohydrates difficult at best. Using glucose as a marker also does not take into account other carb-containing ingredients in the food, like berries or pasta sauce.
A better method uses the glycemic index (GI) to calculate your carbo content. The GI ranks any given carbohydrate based on its effect on blood glucose. Low GI means less impact on glucose, while high GI means more of an increase.
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You can then use these numbers with some simple math to get your total carb count. Here’s what you do!
First, find the number listed for both the total carbohydrates and the grams of glucose in the same amount of food. Then, multiply the first by 100 to get your total carb intake for the day, and the second by 20 to get your glucose intake for the day. Add them together to get your daily macro nutrient intake!
Good luck getting all those calories in though… 😉 __________________ Nutrition isn’t rocket science, but it takes someone smart to apply it.