Monday, January 18, 2010

Macronutrients vs. Calories

Lets just call Monday's "article days". I cooked all weekend and will post recipes later this week, but for a change of pace, here's a great article about the difference between Marconutrients and Calorie Need. I think everyone will benefit from reading this!

Calories vs. Macronutrients: What is the difference for proper dieting?
First steps to determining your weight loss

Jaclyn Cousins

So, you are unhappy with your weight. You have more fat on then you are comfortable looking at in the mirror or carrying around. It is having a negative impact on your life in many ways, including your self confidence, motivation, social life, and work endeavors. The bottom line is you want that extra weight gone. But where do you start? Your first step is, determining what the cause is. But do you really know enough to determine and pinpoint why and how this is happening to your body? Many skip this important step and jump to the subjective way of dealing with it – which leads to decisions and for the most part relying on crash diets, excessive, or fads in hopes of changing their bodies. What they don’t know is these may seem to be simple choices but they will never work. What you need are choices that will be made from rational decisions based on long term lasting results for your overall and well being. But first, what are the causes? It is first of all, important to get an idea of how our bodies work, and what our bodies need. Our bodies all require energy input in order for us to perform our daily functions. This energy of course comes from the foods we eat. All the building blocks of food (or macronutrients) give us energy. These macronutrients consist of fats, proteins, alcohol, and carbohydrates. The energy that we get from these macronutrients: fats, proteins, alcohol, and carbohydrates, are all measured in calories. A calorie is a simple measurement of heat. So once we ingest our macronutrients, our bodies burn them as calories.
Here are a few examples to see how all our macronutrients can provide calories.

1) 1 gram of fat gives our bodies 9 calories
2) 1 gram of protein gives our bodies 4 calories
3) 1 gram of alcohol gives our bodies 7 calories
4) 1 gram of carbohydrates gives our bodies 4 calories

So on a scale of 1 to 10 calories, fats and alcohol gives us the most calories, and protein & carbohydrates gives us the least amount of calories. But, that doesn’t mean you should avoid fats and alcohol altogether just because they produce a higher amount of calories. Consistency and balance are key. Also macronutrients are not the same as calories, so 500 calories worth of carbohydrates will affect the body much differently than 500 calories worth of protein.
I must stress again though, macronutrients are not calories, and calories are not macronutrients. Macronutrients are the foods (proteins, fats, alcohol, and carbohydrates) that give our bodies calories during . 500 calories will always be 500calories, as a centimeter will always be a centimeter, but it’s not the calories that matter to the body, it’s the quality of the nutrients that are being put into it.
Ok, so after all this distinction amongst calories and macronutrients, you are probably still wondering how to fix your . This is where things might get a bit complex. Other than the fact that you are most likely consuming more calories than your body can burn off as energy, leading to fat storage, and that the easiest solution in your mind would be to reduce your caloric intake, that may not be the sole problem here. The bottom line is, the solution to my weight problem is going to be different to yours. All of our bodies are different, and as you probably know the majority of fail. What you need to do is figure out the root source of your problem. Why are overconsuming these calories to being with? Is it a cause of stress in your home, your work, or because of emotional behavioral issues? Is it a cultural issue? Your reasoning for overeating is probably unique in the fact that it is not the same as that of Joe, Billy, or Sue. This is only the first few steps in determining how can happen. But, in the end, it must start with you.

Cheers and HAPPY Monday to those who have off!



april said...

Great post! Sometimes it's fun to see what percentage of macronutrients I'm getting in my diet.. good thing I don't drink alcohol! LOL


Dittos on the great post.

It is also interesting how once you train your body to eat properly, the results you view in the mirror inspire you to keep the new "habit" (eating correctly) in a forward motion.

Mike Russell said...

Good information. I will become an Article Monday addict if you keep posting good information like this...

Jody - Fit at 52 said...

YES, it must start with you! Really informative & I loved this: the solution to my weight problem is going to be different to yours. All of our bodies are different.

I have lived by this & after 25 years plus, I have learned to listen to my body & makes the changes as I age based on what my body is telling me... with food & exercise!

Thx for stopping by my blog too! Living on The Big Island! How cool! Do you miss it?

homecookedem said...

Very interesting post!! Thanks so much for visiting my blog!! :) It's definitely been mostly fun trying to cook gluten-free for my husband. The only times when I get frustrated is when I buy something and forget to check the ingredient list and assume there's no gluten. Then I get home and realize there is. I always feel like a dummie for not looking closer at the label! ;)

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