The three macronutrients all have their own specific roles and functions in the body and supply us with calories or energy. For this reason, the body requires these nutrients in relatively large amounts to grow, develop, repair, and feel good!
Each macronutrient is almost always found in every item of food, whether that’s a healthy snack bar or a raw vegetable; the only difference is how the macronutrients are balanced. As an example, the nutritional composition of an avocado is generally made up of 75% (good) fats, 20% carbohydrates and 5% protein, therefore this is clearly a fat-based food. On the other hand a banana consists of 95% carbohydrates, with only small amounts of protein and fats.
The trick is to understand how each macronutrient plays a different role in the body and tailor your diet accordingly!
Nutrients can be divided into two Categories: Macronutrients and Micronutrients. Macronutrients are those needed in larger amounts to provide the body with energy (calories). Three Macronutrients: Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fats. Micronutrients: Vitamins, Minerals, and Water. (Not a sufficient source of energy).
What are carbs? Carbohydrates are comprised of small chains of sugar which the digestive body breaks down into glucose to use as the body’s primarily energy source and therefore need to make up around 45-65% of a diet. Carbs provide fuel during high intense exercise, helps preserve protein, fuels central nervous system (The brain).
· 1 g of CHO = 4 calories
· 40-50 % of your daily caloric intake should come from CHO
· Grains (Whole grains), Dairy (Choose low or non-fat), Fruits (whole fruit not fruit juice)
What are proteins? Protein is essential for repairing and regenerating body tissues and cells, a healthy functioning immune system and manufacturing hormones. This wouldn’t be possible without amino acids, which are found in protein-based foods. In total there are 20 types of amino acids, 9 of which are ‘essential’ and can only be found in certain foods.Proteins help to regulate metabolism, Helps with tissue structure, part of cell plasma membranes.
· 1 g of protein = 4 calories
· .36g consumption per pound of body weight
· Beans, Lean meats, legumes, nuts, lentils, soy products
What are fats? Don’t be scared of fats! Fats are an essential part of a healthy diet and should account for about 15-20% what you consume. They help by improving brain development, overall cell functioning, protecting the body’s organs and even helping you absorb vitamins found in foods. Fats act as an energy reserve, protects vital organs, acts as insulation, Transports fat soluble vitamins.
· 1 g of fat = 9 calories
· 20-35% of your caloric intake (less than 10% should be saturated fats)
· Oils, nuts, seeds, meat, and dairy products