What is the role of each macronutrient in regards to generating energy?
Each macronutrient provides a different role in assisting the body to generate energy for exercise. The 3 main macronutrients are;
Fat is a major energy source during lower intensity workouts for the body. During digestion fat is broken down and becomes fatty acids, these acids area actually considered to be ‘good fats’. Fatty acids are highly soluble and can be used for energy by most cell types. However, these fatty acids can only be created with the help of oxygen therefore the exercise is most likely to have to be aerobic.
Proteins tend to be thought of as a main product to help growth and that they are more vital after exercise rather than before it. Proteins actually help provide energy when glycogen stores are low (e.g. after prolonged intense exercise or during a low-carb diet). If the body can’t get enough of what it needs from carbohydrates it will begin breaking down the protein, most of which will come from the muscles but possibly organs too. Protein is always the last macronutrient to be broken down and used for energy.
Carbohydrates or starchy foods can be converted into energy much easier than proteins or fats. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, which is the form of sugar that is transported and used by the body. It tends to be better for those workouts which are higher intensity. A high carbohydrate diet ensures there will be high glycogen levels throughout the body, which in turn will allow the individual to train and exercise for a longer period.
Starchy foods play a pivotal role in healthy diet. Foods such as potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals should be making up a third of your diet, as this provides a load of glucose.
It is important to ensure each individual discovers themselves what works for them in regards to eating before exercising.