Ever feel like even though you’re working out you don’t see the result you want? Well, it’s possible it’s your nutrition. What we eat can determine the future of our health and physical form as well. According to The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010, “…72 percent of men and 64 percent of women are overweight or obese, with about one-third of adults being obese.” Further, even in the absence of being overweight, having a poor diet is associated with major causes of morbidity and mortality. Many times people can distinguish what is healthy and what is not. However, that saying that “too much of a good thing is bad” can apply to this. And the opposite applies as well, too little of one thing can be detrimental to our nutrition.
Most diets count calories and most end in failure. Counting your calories can show successful weight loss, however, the quality of your weight loss will suffer if you ignore the amount of macronutrients. Macronutrients happen to be the most essential elements to eating right. According to the True Sport Nutrition Guide, 2013, macronutrients are what we all know as carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Examples of carbs include: sweet potatoes, brown rice and oatmeal. Fats include: peanut butter, nuts and avocados. And typical proteins include: chicken, eggs and protein powders. All of our calories come from these macronutrients.
To count our macronutrients means that we are going to divide our diet amongst the three to find the perfect balance. The recommended amount of macronutrient proportions vary according to age, thus, the amount of protein that a child needs is different from that of an adult. The same is true for fats and carbohydrates. There is a calculator so to speak, where you enter your age, physical activity levels and dietary goals and you can establish the best proportions to follow.
According to Nutrition in Sport, 2000, “An important nutritional balance among the various essential nutrients but be maintained. The proportions of different macronutrients…depend on the total energy intake” Thus, in addition to our age groups, how active we are can also fluctuate the amount of carbs, protein and fats we need. A person who is very physically active needs to consume more carbs and proteins than a person who isn’t to make sure they are able to replenish their energy reserves in their muscles adequately.
For an example, a common balanced diet that is looking to retain muscle but slim down will consume 20g of fat, 30 g of protein and 50 grams of carbs (Nutrition in Sport). Think about our diet as a pie, where your entire intake equals 100g and that total amount is divided into the three macronutrients. Essentially what we are saying is that 20% of our diet should be fats, 30% should be protein and 50% should be carbs. None of that makes sense in numbers, so refer to the pictures below to get a better idea of examples of macros and the per gram serving sizes. As you can see, a macronutrient conscious diet looks filling. And though the calories might be a little over or a little under, your body is receive the balanced amount of nutrients it needs. Realistically, it’s a numbers game.
Lastly, there are plenty of apps that you can download onto your phone that can help you count your macronutrients efficiently. One nutritionist favorited app is the macros+. It allows you to customize your page and come up with the right macronutrient proportions for you based off of your age, nutritional goals and physical activity levels. Than every time you eat you can log your food and it divides it according to the macronutrients it encompasses. For example, if you are eating chicken breast with salad and brown rice, you can log these items in and it will account for all of the macronutrients it contains. Not only is the app convenient, since you can use it virtually anywhere, but it also already has most name brand products.
So, if you feel like you have hit a plateau, maybe you don’t need to change up your workout routine, but your nutrition instead.