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How to Balance Your Macros

 

Forget low-fat diets and cutting out carbs. The best way to maintain energy levels, nourish your hormones, and stay happy and healthy, is to eat from a balanced plate – that means the right ratio of macronutrients (macros). Read on…

Fat:

Fat does not make you fat – that’s the finding from a groundbreaking report in the British Medical Journal, revealing those who consume healthy fats have better heart health, less risk of Type 2 diabetes, and were even slimmer than the fat avoiders [1].

Top vegetarian sources include cashews, almonds, ground flax seed, coconut oil, almond butter, avocado, and – for those who can tolerate it - dairy (ideally organic and unpasteurized). Fat provides energy, helps support our internal organs, boosts fertility, and stops you snacking. Every body is different but as a rule of thumb, aim for around 25-30% of your calories from fat.

Protein:

Having some form of protein with every meal will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and stop you snacking. To work out how much protein is right for you, allow 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight; so a 60kg woman needs 48g. For the best forms of alkaline protein – click here [2].

Carbs:

This is probably the most controversial macro. While those in the paleo community will advocate cutting carbs down to as low as 5 per cent of your calories, from a hormonal health point of view, a diet low in carbs can also mean a diet lacking in essential B vitamins. This can disrupt hormonal health and leave energy levels and mood flagging.

Exercise can further complicate the equation; after a vigorous work out, your body needs carbs to refuel. So what’s the answer? Experiment with approximately ½ cup of healthy carbs ie porridge, quinoa, sweet potato for your main meals. If you’re trying to lose weight, then skip the evening serve, and stick to healthy fats and protein instead – maybe a mushroom and egg omelette with sautéed greens and a few scoops of coconut yoghurt if you’re still hungry after.

Final advice? Focus on quality not quantity. Rather than keeping track of precise ratios, make sure your macros are as nutritious as possible – that means quinoa, not white rice, and a handful of cashews, rather than a packet of crisps.

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Comments

Caitlin Stephens:

Understanding how much of each macronutrient to eat is actually a bit more complicated than simply saying “eat this much meat and veggies every day”. The amount of each macro you need to eat depends on a wide range of factors:

1. Your daily level of activity, as well as the TYPE of activity (Strongmen and marathon runners eat very
differently from martial artists and Olympic bodybuilders).

2. The activity level for your current day.

3. The timing of your meals (depending on whether you eat your biggest meals early or late in the day).

4. Fitness and diet goals (weight loss, weight maintenance, weight gain, fat loss, etc.).

5. Body type (ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph).

6. Gender (men need a different balance of nutrients than women).

All of these factors will determine your daily macro count, but not all of them are equally as important.

May 30, 2016

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