Macro is the new Micro
Macro is the new Micro.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one! A guy walks into a bar…. Wait wrong joke…. I am totally dropping carbs!
Like many of you out there, I fell for the ditching of an entire food group. I’ve done the Atkins thing. I’ve done the counting thing. I’ve done the liquid thing. I never did the Vegan thing! We’ve all been there done that.
Somewhere along the line we have managed to mistreat the way we eat. Show of hands who thinks this is old news….?
There is no secret to the fact that we must eat a shit ton of Macronutrients to survive. No scholar, scientist, biologist, day care worker, social worker, anthropologist, gas station attendant will deny this fact. So why have we become so macronutrient dense headed rather than Micronutrient conscious?
Let’s take a look a Macronutrient first; there are three basic macronutrients that our body requires. These are the nutrients we ingest regularly on a huge scale.
Basic amino acids.
Aspartic Acid Asparagine
Cystine Glutamic Acid
Arachidic Acid Behenate Acid
Butyric Acid Caprioc Acid
Caprylic Acid Capric Acid
Compound Acid Lauric Acid
Myristic Acid Palmitic Acid
Pentadecanoic Acid Heptadec Acid
Staeric Acid Tetracos Acid
Eicosen Erucic Acid
Heptadecenoic Acid Myristol
Nervonic Acid Oleic Acid
DHA Linoleic Acid
Omega 3 Omega 6
Trans Fatty Acids Cholesterol
OK, so Protein, Fat and Carbohydrate. If you’re like me your scratching your head saying”What the hell is all of that other stuff?” Let’s boil it down to something else.
From Wikipedia we learn that a Macronutrient is:
“A nutrient is a chemical that an organism needs to live and grow or a substance used in an organism’s metabolism which must be taken in from its environment. They are used to build and repair tissues, regulate body processes and are converted to and used as energy. Methods for nutrient intake vary, with animals and protists consuming foods that are digested by an internal digestive system, but most plants ingest nutrients directly from the soil through their roots or from the atmosphere.”
So in laymen terms this is a substance that an organism must ingest (in whatever form it ingests by) in order to fuel day to day operation of the body and survive. I think in this example, the vegans are right; you cannot remove entire “Macronutrients” and thrive. I do, however, feel you can limit the types of nutrients you ingest.
As I said in the title paragraph, we’ve all tried the low carb, Atkins type diet so it comes as no surprise that grains are a no, no to us. But, to completely remove Carbs from one’s diet would not be best either. Carbs as we can see above come from a whole host of good sources. I for one love my rice and would have a hard time giving it up. Same goes for sugar. I am having an ever increasing harder time giving up and detoxing from all types of sugars, mostly the bad stuff. (Like brownies brought in by a co-worker today or the carrot cake brought in yesterday) I will agree with the purists of the Paleo shindig that limiting these carbs is best if you are looking to reduce fat. But certainly as a maintaining diet, there is nothing wrong (again in my view) with a nice bit of rice, or a post workout sweet potatoes.
So again I return to the newly formatted USDA shit storm. Again we are looking at macronutrients as the end all be all to our diet. So your plate should have Protein, Fat and Carb’s on it right. Well let’s look at this in a different way again.
After all a protein is a protein is a protein….right? A fat is a fat is a fat ….right? A carb is a carb is a carb ….right?
I think we should all know the answer to these by now. It is the same as saying “I am on a low calorie diet!” or god forbid your counting your calories. A calorie, what the hell is a calorie.
Again from Wikipedia we get this,
So a calorie is simply the measure of energy when a nutrient is burned off. Along those same lines, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie …. right?
We all know that pound for pound (so to speak) Fat offers the best source of caloric energy, protein is a close second with Carbs rounding the bend last. We also know that the way these nutrients are treated in the body is completely different as well (their effect on blood glucose and so on…). So let’s take a look at this guy… Mark Haub ingested 1,800 calories a day and lost 27 pounds over a month’s time. Who the hell wouldn’t lose weight off 1,800 calories a day first off! A man his size should be well over 2,000 calories a day. Never mind that the man ate his weight in Twinkies to do this. It is a flashlights beam on a shit sandwich. A calorie of prime rib does not equal a calorie of Twinkie! A calorie of lettuce is far larger than a calorie of sugar!
So when I hear people counting their calories I cringe, I hope you all do as well. What’s worse is most people don’t understand how to count said calories.
Most people look at the nutritional index at left and say they just consumed 155 calories of ________. WRONG!!!! If this individual just consumed the entire package they just consumed 620 calories!! Package = servings x calories people!!!
Now I’m not one to beat around the bush, although I tend to ramble, I too am lost on the calorie front. I don’t get it. Either should you.
I cringe when I hear of someone else going on Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig and all of the other Diet Fad’s that have been around or upcoming. Like the Twinkie guy, you count your calories; you restrict yourselves to a set limit of calories per day (calorie restriction?). End result: you lose weight. Well, shit, I could do that with Twinkies! But does this change the behavior; does this change the pattern of fault? NO!
In recent experience, I had someone I know restricted their caloric intake for the day on one of these diets to the point that they could squeeze in a few pints at the local brew pub, what he didn’t account for was the fact that his group was riding their bicycles to the brew pub. This exertion was enough to knock his ass to the floor. Again, calorie restriction, restricting the body from getting the required nutrients. Is. Not. Good. For. You!!!!
Well what the hell am I supposed to do then?
Most people in the Paleo community will agree that the Micronutrient density should pull a heavier weight than the Macronutrient.
Aw dang here we go again. What the hell’s a Micronutrient?
Again from Wikipedia;
“Micronutrients are nutrients required by humans and other living things throughout life in small quantities to orchestrate a whole range of physiological functions, but which the organism itself cannot produce. For people, they include dietary minerals in amounts generally less than 100 micrograms/day – as opposed to macrominerals which are required in larger quantities. The macrominerals or trace elements include at least iron, cobalt, chromium, copper, iodine, manganese, selenium, zinc and molybdenum. Micronutrients also include vitamins, which are organic compounds required as nutrients in tiny amounts by an organism.”
So, again in laymen terms, a Micronutrient’s are Vitamins, Macrominerals, Trace minerals and Organic Acids.
Vitamins will include the likes of; vitamins A, B (B1, 2, 3, 5, 6) C, D, E, K etc…
Macronutrients are all of the Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Sodium required.
Trace Minerals are the Cobalt, Copper, Zinc, Selenium and Iron we need.
Organic Acids are Acetic Acid, Citric Acid, Lactic Acid and Taurine.
Now I’ve skimmed over most of these Micronutrients, there is obviously a lot to mention. But, these are the bread to our butter, wait, these are the Ghee to our Ribeye!
These nutrients are the building block of a proper diet*. This is where the Paleo or Primal lifestyle shines. Where the Atkins diet says Protein is the end all, be all god of our diet. The Paleo Diet or Primal Diet says that we need to look at what is in our protein. That we need to look at what makes up our Fat and our Carbohydrates.
Shocking I know!
This is why we call for grass fed meat, free range chickens. These choices offer the best makeup of Micronutrients. Course they also taste the best.
In the parlance of my generation; “I can get a good look at a T-bone by sticking my head up a bull’s ass, but I’d rather take a butcher’s word for it.”
So the bigger question is why can’t we trust those in governance to get this right? Why has the Paleo/Primal community had to go out on our own? Shouldn’t it be that I can go to my doctor or a nutritionist and they will tell me the truth, the right way to live? Why is it I have to trust the people on the fringe of science with my health?
Shouldn’t I be able to take my doctors, nutritionalist’s advice? Turns out they have their heads squarely up a politician’s ass! The USDA has forced the farmers hand into producing larger cattle faster. The grain industry has been forced to genetically modify its grain to grow bigger and faster. These grains are then fed to the cattle to fatten them up? If they fatten up cattle (again larger and faster) they wouldn’t do that to us as would they?
Moral of the story kids, let’s get our proper Micronutrients before we worry about our Macronutrients. Better yet, eat whole unprocessed foods from local farmers, butchers and other sources and you shouldn’t have to worry about anything.
On a lighter note…
This last weekend we were all treated to a wonderful new thing, the Ancestral Health Symposium.
I am still waiting for them to post the talks online, but spending the entire weekend following the tweets of Jimmy Moore, Melissa McEwen, Richard Nikoley and all of the other attendees and presenters was a challenge but really fun.
As others have put it, it was a Paleo Nerdfest.
Be sure to check their site out for pictures and videos coming soon.
*Diet – of course refereeing to an eating lifestyle not a fad, cliché, trite form of weight loss.