Macronutrients and micronutrients – Nutrition basics


By Dr. Justin Marchegiani

Macronutrients and Micronutrients

Dr. Justin Marchegiani:  Hey, there!  It’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani and today’s talk is gonna be on Nutrition 101.  We’re gonna go over what macronutrients and micronutrients are.  We’re gonna show how to customize a diet according to you what your needs, goals, and desires are.  So first things first, when we’re dialing our diet, there’s gotta be a couple of things that are in common across any way of eating.  So we want out diet to be macronutrient agnostic.  So in the paleosphere, right?  You can go high-carb, low-carb, high-fat, low-fat, high-protein, low-protein.  We just wanna make sure we fulfill these 3 criteria–nutrient-dense, low toxin, and anti-inflammatory.  That’s really important if we’re nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, low toxin, we’re good to go.  We can dial up carbs high or low based upon our metabolism.

In-Depth Look at Macronutrients

So again let’s look at macronutrients.  We have three.  We have protein, we have fat, and we have carbohydrate.  You can see we have four calories in protein, four calories in carbs, 9 calories in fat.  And what’s happened is in the fifties and sixties, fat was one of these macronutrients that was demonized because the higher amount of calories in there and one of the first thing we could measure in the blood was cholesterol.  So it just made sense, right?  Let’s demonize fat because we can actually see some of it in the blood and we know it has more calories.  But what we come to find is that the hormonal effects of each one of these macronutrients is far different.  We have protein.  We have more of a hormonal effect of glucagon.  We have fats.  We have a more hormonal effect of peptide YY and ketones which are appetite suppressant.  And then carbohydrate, we have more insulin.  So it would tend to be the carbohydrates based on endocrinology that are driving fat gain because it’s the insulin’s opening opening the cell up.  It’s taking a lot of the extra sugar that can’t be stored in the cell.  It’s shuttling it to the liver and pumping it out as palmitic acid, which is a saturated fat and again, we can literally get fat by having too much carbohydrate and that tend to be what’s driving most of the obesity epidemic. So let’s break it down.  We proteins, we have fats, and we have carbohydrates.

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The Protein Analysis

When we have proteins, it primarily gotta come from two sources.  Keep it re–really simple here.  We have animal and we have plant, and it’s really important to break it down this way.  The reason why is animal proteins tend to be very high in protein, also some fat in there, right?  If we’re doing lean chicken breast, lower.  But there’s gonna be some fat in there and it’s also gonna be very low in carbohydrate.  Now when we go to plant proteins, unless we’re doing like a plant, like a pea protein powder or a rice protein powder or a hemp protein powder, outside of that example, you’re gonna have a lot more carbohydrate typically two-thirds to seventy-five percent of the bulk of that item will be carbohydrate.  Let me give you an example, rice and beans.  About 15‑18 grams of protein to about 60-70 grams of carbohydrate.  So you can see if we’re eating whole foods, not powders, right?   If we’re eating real foods, you get a whole bunch of carbohydrates when you do it plant-wise or vegetarian-wise versus the small amount of protein. That’s some of the benefit that we get with animal protein and also we get really good essential fatty acids, vitamin A, D, E, K, EPA, DHEA fat and cholesterol, which is the hormone building blocks.  We really wanna make sure, in my opinion, animal protein is gonna be the best–it’s gonna be the most complete and it’s gonna be higher in sulfur-based amino acids, which are gonna help run glutathione pathways, which is a natural antioxidant.  So animal proteins are always going to be superior.

The Categories of Fats

Now we deal with fats.  Fats come in a couple different varieties.  To keep it simple, we’re gonna have our mono-unsaturated fats.  I’m gonna write mono.  Watch my video on fats you can get a little bit more detail of the organic chemistry there.  But mono, that’s gonna be like your avocado.  Pretty good fat.  Next we’re gonna have our poly–our poly and saturated fats.  These are gonna be like our fish oil.  So fish oil, salmon, tuna–good fats.  And also our omega 3’s if you will, too.  So avocado, omega 3, and then we also have our saturated fats.  And our saturated fats are gonna be primarily plant, you know, with the exception–excuse me, they’re gonna be primarily animal sources with the exception of coconut oil.  Coconut’s a–a saturated fat.  We’re gonna have butter in there.  We’re gonna have a lot of the fat in–in beef, chicken, fish.  There’s gonna be some saturated fat in there as well, stearic acid as well.

The Carbohydrate Classifications

Now we have carbohydrates.  Let’s break the carbs down.  I–I do this pretty uniquely.  I don’t see too many people characterize carbs like this.  So this would be hopefully enlightening.  So we have non-starchy.  Non-starchy are our vegetable carbs, right?  Non-starchy carbs, low in sugar, high nutrition.  Think broccoli, think kale, think–think spinach.  Think asparagus, think carrots.  Next category we have is starchy.  Alright?  Starchy can be high nutrition, right?  But it can also be higher in carbohydrates.  Sweet potato, yam, jicama, starchy tuber, squash, etc.  Some break down the sugar faster or slower but again, relatively speaking, much higher in carbohydrate but still relatively high in nutrition as well.  Now from there, I break it down.  We have fruits.  So we have low sugar fruit.  We have low sugar which are gonna berry, strawberries, raspberries passion fruit, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and then we’re gonna have high sugar fruits.  And high-sugar are gonna be our tropical fruits.  They’re gonna be papayas, mangoes, watermelon.  They’re gonna be bananas.  They’re gonna be pineapple. The reason why I classified as high sugar is because a lot of times if we use the glycemic index, because fruit is primarily fructose–fructose does not have a very high glycemic index, but it can still create insulin resistance.  So I wanna make sure that we’re taking into account the sugar part of it because fructose is a sugar.  It may not have a higher glycemic index, so I wanna classify as low sugar and high sugar.  So we have high sugar, our tropical fruits.  Our low sugar like our berries, our green apple, our lemon, our lime, our grapefruit. Starchy–sweet potatoes, yams, starchy tubers.  Non-starchy–our good old fashioned vegetables.


Adjust Macronutrients According to Your Needs

So depending on where we’re–we’re at here, we can dial these up or down.  We can be macronutrient agnostic, essentially we can dial the carbs up higher for our CrossFitter or if we’re doing triathlons.  We can up the starchy carbs.  We can up the starchy and we can up maybe the non-starchy or if we have insulin resistance, we can go on low on everything here except the non-starchy, maybe we just go up on the vegetables.  So we can dial things up or down depending on where our metabolism is at.

Why You Should Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

There’s also one filter that we have to apply to it.  We have to answer yes to these three questions.  These are my essential questions that all patients have to answer yes to.  Number one, the food needs to be anti-inflammatory.  So if we’re eating foods that are driving inflammation, excessive inflammation, that’s gonna cause our body to break down excessively fast.  It’s gonna create pain.  It’s gonna put stress on our adrenal glands, not a good thing.  It’s gonna break our body down faster.

The Importance of Nutrient-Dense Foods

Next it has to be nutrient-dense.  This is very important, right?  Outside of macronutrients, we have micronutrients–vitamins, minerals, water.  So we have to make sure the foods we’re eating are nutrient-dense.  Again, you can see here, one of the things I did not talk about are grains because grains are very nutrient-poor, and then when you actually factor in, well the gut irritation, the lectins, the phytate, the oxalic acids which actually can chelate but it can hug and pull more nutrients out, it’s actually even more nutrient-poor and its very inflammatory. That’s why grains don’t fit in, right?  It’s anti-inflammatory, it’s nutrient-dense, and it can be toxic.  It’s got gliadin in it, gluten essentially, and wheat germ agglutinin, other lectins.  Nutrient-dense and the last one, being low in toxins.

Eating Foods that are Low in Toxins

Now the low in toxins is important because let’s say we’re having good old fashioned broccoli but it’s got a whole bunch of pesticides in it, well, that’s not good.  So that doesn’t fit the low toxins.  So eating organic, right?  Having a–a template that looks at quality is so important because you can have the same exact macronutrients but you throw in a whole bunch of carcinogenic pesticides, that can put stress on the body, stress on the liver, and disrupt your health.

Get a Customized Diet Template

So we wanna make sure we look at things from a perspective of is it anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense, and low in toxins.  But we can also adjust the macronutrients according to what your body’s needs are.  So for instance, if you’re a CrossFitter, we may jack up the carbohydrates high.  We may keep the proteins and the fats relatively high as well.  We may keep the carbs over 200.  If you have insulin resistance or diabetes, well, guess what?  We’re only gonna be getting non-starchy carbohydrates in for our carb sources and we’re gonna be very high in fats and then moderate to low in proteins.  So I can dial that up and down according to what my patient’s needs are.  We just have to make sure the following template is in place.  We don’t really wanna look at calories.  The only time I look at calories is when people are actually not eating enough and that can happen sometimes.  When you’re in a stressed-out state, it’s–it’s very common to not really have much of an appetite because the blood’s going to the extremities and are going away from the core.


So again we have our calories, not that big a deal. But again the hormones are important and also making sure we have the right categories down here and then we can adjust the macronutrients according to what your body’s needs are.  So again, this is a foundation for healthier–if you have other chronic health challenges or issues, this is the starting point and if you wanna reach out to me and get a hold of me for more in depth issues, feel free and click on screen or click below and subscribe so you can get more of my great free information.

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Content on this website is not considered medical advice. Please see a physician before making any medical or lifestyle changes.