Nutrition 101: The mighty role of macronutrients

All macronutrients are large nutrients in the form of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Many foods have all three macronutrients in them, such as dairy, which has protein, fat and the lactose (carbohydrates). This is why this food can be a perfect snack before bed during this holy month of fasting.

Protein

My previous article discussed the importance of protein in your daily diet. Protein is a macronutrient which forms the structures in your cells, organs, bones and connective tissue that rebuilds your formation regularly. The digestive system restores the cell parts nearly everyday and your heart rebuilds most of its components every few days.

Protein is a vital macronutrient for the function of your liver, as your liver reorganizes all macronutrients for use of your body. It stores sugar as a back-up sugar and converts the thyroid hormone into a functional form. Protein also helps stimulate the release of the thyroid hormone.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the only macronutrient that is important as a fuel for your body and I can openly say, a person can die from not eating carbohydrates! This is how many people become catabolic in the process of diets that are high in proteins and yet have zero carbs. Therefore the body eats YOU as fuel instead. Carbohydrates allow you to make a currency called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) on which your body operates. So when you’re eating the right carbohydrates in your daily diets then your cells have the ability run steady and constanly.

Fat

I keep raging on about the importance of fat, so much so that I created the Twitter hashtag #FitWomenEatFat. I can’t stress enough how important Fat is your diet, as a macronutrient it assists the time release of carbohydrates or sugars into your bloodstream.
Fat, in the form of coconut oil, acts as a protective mechanism for your thyroid gland, which can then help increase your metabolic rate. It can also aid towards healing your digestive system as it acts as an antioxidant shielding your cells from any damage. Fat can also be used as a back-up source for fuel and your body can covert sugar into fat when you don’t eat enough of it.

Why a balance is so important

If you choice to go on a low-carb diets such as Paleo or Atkins, then I assure you, it will not help your metabolic rate in the long run as you are not using any carbohydrates that are needed for fuel and to keep your metabolism running efficiently.

If you read my weekly columns you will now be aware of the negative impact of “stress hormones” I mention almost every week. One of which being Cortisol. This hormone is on emergency standby all the time in your body whenever it feels you’re under any form of stress! Not balancing out your macronutrients is one way of causing this hormone to elevate. As a result it converts your muscles and other tissues in your body into sugar (fuel). This procedure will diminish your muscle mass while helping increase belly fat storage in the near future.

High carbohydrate – low protein diets also compromise your macronutrient needs. Not ingesting enough protein in your diet will lead to poor thyroid function and it is important for our thyroid gland to be working well to help keep a healthy metabolic rate.

High carbohydrate diets can also generate other hormones such as insulin to rise, resulting in a high surge of sugar in your body without the abortion of protein to slow it down. Insulin consequently then lowers your blood sugar and also puts sugar into storage as fat. These types of reactions can lead to diabetes.

During Ramadan

Here my healthy tips to get your macronutrients balanced through Ramadan

Eat all three of your macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat) at each snack and meal to help keep your blood sugar levels stable and keep you satisfied until your next meal.
Some of you may not be able to follow this guideline so a general rule of thumb is to remember this too:

• Never eat carbs alone
• Never eat protein alone
• A quick example of a balanced snack is 1oz of cheese with a 6oz of fresh fruit juice (watermelon or orange)

______________
Vahdaneh Vahid is a UK-based Personal Trainer who recently moved to Dubai. She has had an interest in fitness from a young age. Her motto is now "Train Don't Drain" and teaches her clients that a balanced understanding of their physical, mental and emotional wellness is key. She can be found on Twitter: @vvfitness

SHOW MORE
Last Update: Friday, 19 July 2013 KSA 11:38 - GMT 08:38
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
Top