What are Macronutrients?

Diet

Today I want to talk about Macronutrients and why they are important. Illinois University’s McKinley Heath Center did extensive research on this topic so here’s their definition of Macronutrients.

What are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. Nutrients are substances needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Since “macro” means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three macronutrients:

  • Carbohydrate
  • Protein
  • Fat

While each of these macronutrients provides calories, the amount of calories that each one provides varies.

  • Carbohydrate provides 4 calories per gram.
  • Protein provides 4 calories per gram.
  • Fat provides 9 calories per gram.

This means that if you looked at the Nutrition Facts label of a product and it said 12 grams of carbohydrate, 0 grams of fat, and 0 grams of protein per serving, you would know that this food has about 48 calories per serving (12 grams carbohydrate multiplied by 4 calories for each gram of carbohydrate = 48 calories).

Healthy-protein-fats-carbs

Basically, all food falls in one (or more than one) macronutrient category. You can read more HERE on why it’s important to have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat in your everyday diet. Lastly, the Dietary Reference Intakes published by the USDA recommends the following daily intake for carbs, protein and fat:

  • 45% – 65% of calories should come from carbohydrate
  • 10% – 35% of calories should come from protein
  • 20% – 35% of calories should come from fat

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll show you how to create a balanced Paleo Meal Plan keeping those macronutrients in mind.

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