Portioning Macronutrients: Carbohydrates

 

The critical importance of portioning macronutrients for overall health

Macronutrients – or “macros” for short – are the three critical energy sources in our food: carbohydrates, fat, and proteins. These three energy sources are digested and expended differently in our bodies, and understanding how to leverage the proper portions of these nutrients is critical to dietary success.

The first macro that comes to mind for most of us is carbohydrates – or “carbs”. This macro gets a bad name for destroying diet progress, but when leveraged and managed properly it can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.

There are a lot of factors that may affect the amount of carbs that are right for you. The most critical factor that influences carb intake is your activity level. The more active you are, the more flexible you can be with a higher carb intake.

Another factor that determines your carb intake is your gender. Unfortunately, women tend to process carbs less effectively than men. For this reason, experts recommend two cupped-hand size portions of carbs at each meal, but only one cupped-hand size portion of carbs for women at each meal. If you enjoy calculating your daily intake of carbs, this should be equivalent to about 40 grams of carbs per meal or 120 grams per day.

The third factor that can affect your ability to burn carbs successfully is the time of day that you consume carbs. Because carbs are the fastest burning type of macronutrient, you should schedule your largest consumption within an hour or two of your most active time of day. This can ensure that you have the power you need to get through your workout and that you burn the carbs effectively.

The final factor that impacts your ability to consume and burn carbs effectively is choosing the correct type of carbs. Choosing healthy whole grains and fruits will ensure that you’re optimizing your carb consumption and creating a healthy base for the rest of your dietary structure.

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