What are macronutrients?

Macronutrients are chemical compounds that provide humans with energy and nutrients. These compounds are required by the body in relatively large quantities daily and make up most of our diet. Proteins, carbohydrates, and fates are considered macronutrients that provide us with fuel. Each have a little bit of a different role in the body. Most foods contain a mix of different macronutrients but fit mostly into one category.


Role in the body:

  • Cellular health
  • Hair, nails, skin
  • Building and repairing tissues
  • Building blocks of bone, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood
  • Necessary for creation of enzyme, hormone, and other body chemicals

All proteins are made of amino acids which are the building blocks of life. Our body’s do not store or create all the amino acids needed for our bodies to function. We must get these in our diet daily. It is recommended that we eat 0.8 g per kg body weight (0.36 g per lbs) which is 10-35% of daily calories. Needs will be increased for pregnant and nursing women, athletes, people looking to lose weight/build muscle.

Whole food sources: Animal proteins, plant proteins, beans and legumes, dairy products, nuts, and seeds


Role in the body:

  • Brain health
  • Nervous system
  • Cellular structure
  • Energy
  • Digestion
  • Insulation
  • Healthy hair, skin, nails

Dietary fat is not the type of fat that contributes to body fat. Not all fats are created equal. Different types of fats are best used under different conditions, some and withstand heat while others cannot which makes them more harmful. Some oil become damaged with high heat. Fats are best stored away from heat sources and in dark places in a dark bottle. Roughly 30% of calories should come from fat daily but will vary with different goals and dietary prescriptions from practitioners. Fats contains a relatively large amount of energy in a small amount of food. Once eaten they can be stored in the body for later use.

Whole food sources: oils (olive, walnut, coconut), fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.


Role in the body:

  • Cellular energy
  • Dietary fiber source
  • Phytonutrient source
  • Digestion and GI function
  • Central nervous system
  • Red blood cell function

Carbohydrates are our main energy source, and we should aim to consume 45-65% of our total calories from carbs. Some carb sources also contain fiber. Fiber can be soluble or insoluble, both forms are not digestible, and we don’t derive calories from fiber. Soluble fiber attracts water to turn foods into a gel and slows digestion. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool and helps it pass more quickly through the stomach. Carbohydrates that are high in fiber slow blood sugar spike and are more filling. Carbohydrates also contain phytonutrients which are chemicals that give plants color, they offer many benefits including antioxidant effects to help neutralize free radicals that are harmful to the body.

Whole food sources: Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes, dairy products

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