Health Facts

Response to Macronutrients

We are what we eat! This adage seems very true, because what we eat affects our body composition, mass distribution, metabolism and finally our health. However, it is also observed that the same food can have different effect on different people, which means that different bodies treat food in different ways. In addition, it is important to understand that not just the food we eat, but our body’s genetic make-up (the genes) and other factors also contribute to the food absorption and metabolism.

What are macronutrients?

A complete diet consists of micronutrients and macronutrients. Carbohydrates, fats and proteins are called macronutrients, because they form a major part of our food, and also are needed in large amounts for the body’s nutritional needs. Micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, on the other hand, are needed in small qualities by the body.

Importance of micronutrients

Macronutrients are essential nutrients that your body needs in large (macro) amounts to remain healthy. Macronutrients provides the body with energy, helps prevent disease, and allow the body to function optimally.

The following percentage of macronutrients in your diet are needed for good health:

45–65% carbohydrates

20–35% fats

10–35% protein

Most foods contain a combination of macronutrients.

Carbohydrates or carbs in diet: These are the body’s primary fuel for energy, for the body to perform daily activities. They should be consumed in considerable amounts.
Common food sources include:
  • Whole grains such as rice, pasta, flour and barley.
  • Starches such as potatoes and corn.
  • Dairy products, honey, lentils, beans and whole fruits.
Proteins in diet: Every cell in the human body contains proteins. Proteins are required to repair and make new cells in your body.
  • They provide structure to the tissue and includes cell members, organs, muscles, hair, skin, nails, bones, tendons, ligaments and blood plasma. They assist in maintenance of acid-base balance in our bodies.
  • Important in growth years in children.
  • Proportion of protein requirement changes with age and presence of health conditions.
  • Food sources include: meat, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, lentils, eggs, dairy, soy and tofu.
Fats in diet:Fat intake is essential to the body as the body does not make fat itself.
  • Fats help absorb essential vitamins in our body such as vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E.
  • One should consume healthy unsaturated fats and in moderation for a healthy outcome.
  • Food sources: Unsaturated fats are found in avocados, fish, seeds, olive oil and nuts. Saturated fats are present in meat, processed or oily foods such as butter and cheese.

Disorders caused by Macronutrient Deficiency

When a micronutrient or macronutrient in our diet is not sufficient to fulfil the body’s demand depending upon the age, body mass index and health conditions, nutritional deficiency could develop, leading to health problems. It is important to know that these consequences can only occur with regular nutrient imbalance in your diet over a long period of time.

  • Carbohydrate deficiency can cause: Diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar coma, hypoglycaemia
  • Protein deficiency can cause: Kwashiorkor, marasmus and hypoalbuminemia
  • Deficiency of good fat can cause: Heart disease, stroke, kidney problems, paediatric obesity, childhood obesity, metabolic syndrome

FAQ's :

Diet plans based on nutrigenomics rely on an analysis of your genetic makeup to inform dietary recommendations that meet your personal nutritional and health needs and help prevent nutrition-related chronic diseases.

Macro diet plans help in focusing balance of macronutrients in the diet. Some popular macro diets include Keto diet, Paleo diet, Weight Watchers diet, and IIFYM diet (IIFYM standing for “if it fits your macros”).

In children, malnutrition is not only because of lack of nutrients, there could be a genetic component responsible for it. Genetic polymorphism can cause malabsorption or other intestinal problems in children.

Precision nutrition is nutrition plan suggested based on the biomarkers one has in their body. This is done by using personal information from study group with similar issues and identifying a nutritional solution. (Biomarker: A biological molecule found in blood, other body fluids, or tissues that is a sign of a normal or abnormal process, or of a condition or disease.)

Yes. How a person metabolises macronutrients depends on his genetics, the type of food intake, and lifestyle choices. One more important factor is the gut microbes, which also regulate the way a person absorbs and assimilates nutrients.

References:

  1. What are macronutrients? MD Anderson Cancer Center. https://www.mdanderson.org/publications/focused-on-health/what-are-macronutrients-.h15-1593780.html Accessed on 28-03-2022
  1. Dietary Fats. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/fats/dietary-fats Accessed on 28-03-2022
  1. Macronutrients: A simple guide to friends. Avita Health System. https://avitahealth.org/health-library/macronutrients-a-simple-guide-to-macros/ Accessed on 28-03-2022
  1. What Are Macros And Why Should I Be Counting Them? SCL Health. https://www.sclhealth.org/blog/2018/10/what-are-macros-and-why-should-i-be-counting-them/ Accessed on 28-03-2022
  1. Nutrition Basics. Washington State University. https://mynutrition.wsu.edu/nutrition-basics Accessed on 28-03-2022

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