Dietitian-Approved Guide: Why A Balance Of Protein, Carbs, And Fat Works
Summit’s nutrition and wellness team explains the benefit of including protein, carbs, and healthy fats in every meal.
Nutrients are the substances our bodies need to support energy, growth, and our bodily functions. We need small amounts of some nutrients and generous portions of others. Macronutrients, such as protein, are those we need in large amounts. Summit’s nutrition and wellness team identifies our macronutrients, and helps us understand why they are so important to healthy function.
We advise clients to include three macronutrients in every meal. Our bodies are at their best when we include proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats at every meal. Macronutrients provide calories that our body needs for energy, but also work in very specific ways to balance our hormones and regulate our blood sugar.
Benefits of protein, carbs, and fat
- Carbs. When you eat carbs, your blood sugar rises. This provides energy for immediate use. Your muscles and brain use the sugar generated by carbohydrates first. Consuming carbs in excess can lead to weight gain, because excess energy is stored as fat. However, you want enough energy in reserve to sustain daily activities, so balance is important. Again, too much storage may cause weight gain.
- Protein. Protein is important for appetite control and satiety. Consuming protein throughout the day is also important for muscle synthesis. Most people do not eat enough protein at breakfast, lunch, or with their snacks. Spreading your protein intake over the course of a day plays a large role in maintaining and increasing lean body mass, in combination with resistance and strength training.
- Healthy Fats. Consuming fats slows digestion and causes us to feel full. Eating fat helps to slow the entry of sugar into the bloodstream caused by eating carbohydrates. In effect, fats slow insulin release and limit fat storage while signaling to us that it’s time to stop eating. In addition, many fats have heart-protective benefits and they often leave us feeling more satisfied. That feeling of satisfaction may prevent us from snacking on less nutrient-dense food later on.
Moving past calorie obsession
Healthy eating should not be about calorie-counting. The source of our calories is extremely important to regulating blood sugar and maintaining good physical function. When we are mindful and deliberate about the balance between calories from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, we are supplying our bodies with the resources and energy they need. I want people to be consuming whole foods rather than thinking about foods in terms of calorie density. For anyone with more questions about a healthy intake of macronutrients, I’m happy to sit down and help create an individualized meal plan that incorporates individual tastes and preferences with the good balance of the macronutrients your body needs.
Dr. Breien describes the patients who benefit most from a partial knee replacement.
Summit’s arthritis specialists offer a broad range of nonsurgical treatments to manage arthritis pain.
Our U.S. curling team made the path to Olympic gold look easy, but this Minnesota sport isn’t as easy as it looks.