By now most of you are macro experts or at least you have heard the word being tossed around in the health and fitness world. Maybe not? Either way, you probably have been told at some point in your life that you need to eat certain macros, some have been demonized, and some have been praised. More on what macros on in a bit.
You may just shake your head and say “who cares what a macro is, I’m just here for the pizza!” or you might be the type posting on social media “Calling today a WIN, triple zeros for my macros!” It’s a tough world out there as far as diet, nutrition and health goes and I feel for you. One second you are scrolling through and find a fitness video where you cannot wait to hit the gym, immediately followed by a brownie recipe and suddenly all you care about is chocolate. Yeah, I know, I’m in your head, I get it.
What are macros & why should we care?
The reason we should care about what a macro is (or soon, what a micro is) is because you want to be educated so that you can make the best decision for YOUR health. While it is easy to look at everyone else’s plate or gasp abs on social, you have no idea what is going on inside or how they are feeling, so focus on your own plate and what works for you. After all, you are so uniquely you and we don’t want to fuel you with a generic diet.
Alright, so why all the fuss over macros? Well, macros or more formally, macronutrients, are substances that are needed in a big way or large amount by an organism (read: YOU). These include carbohydrates, fats and protein. Ring a bell? Good!
Macronutrients help to fuel your everyday tasks like breathing, moving, walking, laughing and picking your fork up off the table to feed yourself. They also help to fuel exercise, stress, and so much more. However, lately everyone is focusing on the quantity of macros they are consuming and not so much the quality. While, I am not here to be the food police, I do want you to start thinking about minding your micros.
What are micros?
Micros, formally known as micronutrients, are your less advertised nutrients that consist of things such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, etc. and are usually forgotten by many in the health/fitness world. They are the quality ingredients that aid in macronutrient digestion, absorption and utilization. It shows you that while a macro may just seem like a macro on paper, it is so much more when you break it down to the micro level.
Micronutrients are what give us energy, keep our immune system up and running and calm us down after a long, stressful day. They help us see, help us think and even lower our blood pressure.
So, while your macros make a difference in your health, and for many their waistline, don’t forget about your micros as these help in the short and long term as it pertains to your health.
How do you know you’re getting micros?
Great question! Look for fresh (or even flash frozen) food that is rich in color (and taste) but I am talking about NATURAL color (i.e. a cherry vs. cherry flavored frosting) and pure taste (not a sugar storm).
Also, buying local and what is in season helps you ensure that your food is rich in quality and low on fillers. Still not sure? If there is a label, check out the ingredients and vitamins/minerals included to see what you are putting in your body.
At the end of the day, I do not want you depriving yourself. If it’s your birthday have the cake, if it’s happy hour, have a drink. But, the rest of the time treat your body by putting quality food and nutrients in so you can get quality back in your life. So, mind not only your macros, but also your micros.
Laura Ligos, RDN