Do You Understand Your Food?

Knowing your Macros

Macro is short for macronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients that provide calories which is  energy. There are 3 main macronutrients you need to know about in order to fully understand your nutrition plans and they are: carbs, fats, and protein.

It is extremely important to know each these 3 macro’s calorie density and how different macros can affect your appetite and digestion.

Fats

Fats are by far contain the most calorie dense macronutrient. They contain 9 calories per gram. This makes increasing your intake of fat an effective way to increase energy intake.

However! You can only increase your fats in relation to your energy expenditure. This means that if you eat too much additional fat while on a hypercaloric diet you’ll put on body fat.

As a general guideline, eat higher fats early in the day for energy, and then switch to carbohydrates in the evening as this increases energy and satiety. I will go into more detail with this guys below in the Nutrient Timing section.

The Top 4 fats for increasing your calories:

1). Coconut oil

2). Real butter from grass fed cows

3). Cashews & almonds

4). Cashew or almond butter

Protein

Protein contains 4 calories per gram and is the most difficult macronutrient for the body to digest. This is crucial as it means that your digestive health will affect how much and how often you can consume high protein meals.

So if you have trouble digesting large protein portions or you have a poor appetite for meat, chances are that you may have poor digestive health. To help improve this, supplementing with Betaine HCl + Pepsin as well as digestive enzymes can dramatically improve your ability to consume larger portions of meat, and therefore be able to eat more frequent protein meals.

Another option is to increase your protein intake through very easy to digest proteins like free form amino acids which actually require no digestion at all. This will increase the amount of amino acids you’re getting without placing stress on the digestive system.

Other signs you might have impaired digestion are:

Heart burn

Bloating

Belching

Gas

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the first macronutrient used by the body for energy at 4 calories per gram. Of the three macros, carbs are the easiest to digest but this depends greatly on source.

Complex carbohydrates take longer for the body to digest and tend to be less dense as oppose to refined carbohydrates. E.g. cooked sweet potato and brown rice hold a lot of volume in fibre and water making it hard to get high amounts of carbohydrates from them.

On the other end of the scale refined carbohydrates are the densest, and generally contain the highest glycemic load as well. This makes them great for getting in a lot of carbs quickly. However they should be saved for a time when your body is in a position to use them; otherwise you’ll be storing them straight as fat.

Refined doesn’t necessarily mean junk though. You don’t have to pound simple sugars and junk food to get dense carbohydrates.

The most common refined starches in your diet come from flour. Wheat flour is NOT your only option though. Try using rice, potato, and other flours to beef up your carb content in your meals. This is also what goes into most pancake and baking mixes, which opens up a wide variety of high carbohydrate options.

Other dense clean carb sources include maple syrups and honey. And of course if you’re focusing on putting on weight, the indulgence in some refined “cheat” food is acceptable. Cheat foods are usually a combination of starches and sugars.

Top carbs for increasing your calories

Note: The staple carb of your diet is starches, but starchy foods can often be bulk and therefore very filling. Here are some options to add to your basics.

Gluten free starch flours (Rice, Potato & quinoa)

Dark Brown Grade A Maple Syrup

Glucose polymer carb powders

High glucose fruits (pineapple, apricots, dates, grapes) and of course their juices (no added sugar)

Have a great day guys!

Matt

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2 Comments

  • Phil Jackson

    Reply Reply September 9, 2015

    hey matt.Are apples ok to eat as a snack a couple of times a week.

    • Harley Johnson

      Reply Reply October 29, 2015

      Hey Phil

      Everything in balance, if we are training hard and eating right an apple can definitely be a healthy option towards your health and fitness goals. My advice is to source your fruit from local produce that is organic and cleaned prior to consumption.

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