If you've ever met a personal trainer or looked into starting a new diet you've probably heard of macronutrients or "macros". They're what you're supposed to track throughout your day. But what is a macronutrient and what's the best way to count them?
What is a Macronutrient?
Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. That seems pretty general but what that actually means is that your body needs these nutrients for growth, metabolism, and other basic bodily functions. They're called Macronutrients because your body needs large amounts of them to run smoothly (hence the word "Macro").
What Counts As A Macronutrient?
There are three basic macronutrients: fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Each macronutrient offers a different amount of calories per gram. Carbohydrates and proteins provide 4 calories per gram while fat provides 9 calories per gram. This can be a helpful tool when checking the nutrition panel of your favorite foods to see where the majority of calories are coming from. Just take the number of macronutrients and times it by the number of calories per gram (e.g. 12 carbohydrates = 48 calories).
Each of these macronutrients are crucial for your body to operate properly. But with all things, It's important to have a balance between these 3 key nutrients. Here is a quick recommended guide to what percentage of your calories should come from which macronutrients:
- Carbohydrates: 45 - 65%
- Protein: 10% - 35%
- Fat: 20% - 35%