MacroNutrients are Water, Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats.
Athletes and dieters are often urged to drink plenty of water, but seldom told why. Water consumption is critical to all the body's chemical reactions, for starters. A person can live without food for several weeks, but only a few days without water. One of the main reason athletes need to be concerned about fluid intake is to prevent dehydration and muscle cramps during training. Dehydration can occur quickly during a hot summer practice. Eight ounces of water every ten minutes is the minimum requirement for athletes during training or practice sessions. Sports drinks like Gatorade are also a good choice because they contain the correct ratio of the electrolyte potassium and sodium, which need to be replaced quickly during hot practice sessions. Drinking a glass of water can often eliminate even midnight muscle cramps. Weight watchers need to drink a gallon of water each day because it will act as a diuretic, ridding the body of excess fluid. If too little water is taken in, the liver takes over some kidney functions, and cannot do the job of breaking down stored body fat. The liver can become chronically overworked if fluid levels are below normal over an extended period. Always have clients drink plenty of water to lose weight.
Protein is the most important muscle building, organ repair and insulin- regulating hormone. It is a key macro nutrient, since all of the skin, organs and muscle are made of protein. Your body can break down protein for energy if it needs to, but can not make proteins out of carbohydrates or fats. Protein is made up of chains of amino acids, some of which the body cannot manufacture. Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscles, as well as repairing the muscle damage that occurs during training. It is also required to make red blood cells, produce hormones, boost the immune (disease- fighting) system, and help keep hair, fingernails, and skin healthy. Athletes who are protein deficient may complain about having hair that falls out easily and fingernails that grow slowly and break easily. Female athletes who eat a protein-poor diet may also stop having periods. Proteins are the "building blocks" of the body. Protein is broken down by the digestive system into amino acids which are used for building cells. Some proteins are considered complete, while others are incomplete. That means that the body can manufacture the rest of the amino acids it needs if the food contains the eight essential amino acids. The measurement of a protein's completeness is protein efficiency ratio (PER). The great thing about the PER is that if two types of protein are consumed at the same meal, one with a low PER like beans and one with a high PER, like eggs, the total PER goes up instead of down. Combining protein foods for muscle building purposes is better than eating one protein at a meal. Cottage cheese or milk consumed with a protein-based meal is a good example of combining proteins. The other protein value rating systems are biological value (BV), Net Protein Utilization (NPU), chemical score, and protein digestibility corrected amino acid score (PDCAAS). BV is the most commonly used and is the best way to gauge protein. Biological value is a measure of nitrogen retained for growth or maintenance. This means that BV is simply how much protein is absorbed and used by the body. The greater the amount of protein or nitrogen retained, the greater the BV. If a protein has a BV of 100, all of the protein absorbed has been utilized. Eggs have the highest rating with a BV of 100. Beans have a low BV of 49. Whey protein also has biological value near 100. A food cannot have a BV value greater than 100, even if ads claim a value of 104 to 157. Chemical score is a comparison of the amino acid pattern in an ideal reference protein to a test protein. Numbers that exceed 100 are the chemical score and not the BV. Because whey or egg protein has high BV, it probably offers the most benefits when clients are dieting. It has been suggested that whey may have other advantages besides high protein quality, although they are frequently overstated. Another benefit of whey protein is its fast absorption rate. Although there isn’t any evidence that protein supplements digest more efficiently than whole foods (as is often claimed), they are definitely digested faster. This is most important after a training session when the rates of protein synthesis and glycogen re-synthesis are increased. This is the reason it is often recommended that a liquid meal containing protein and a high glycemic carbohydrate be consumed immediately post-workout and that whey is the ideal protein for this purpose. Even in post-workout nutrition, there is no evidence that a liquid protein-carb complex will actually produce better muscular growth than whole foods. Complete whole food protein foods and complex carbohydrates can be consumed immediately after the training session, and every three waking hours, for a period of 24 hours after training. Protein intake should be increased in proportion to desired body weight for those who wish to increase muscle mass. There is a direct relationship between protein intake and lean muscle tissue. The ratio in bodybuilders training for competition should be one gram of protein per pound of desired body weight. Non-strength athletes and fitness dieters should strive for at least .6 grams of protein per pound of body weight, a level that most Americans can achieve easily with a normal diet.