Macronutrients – carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – are the foundation of a healthy and well-balanced diet. Because these are the nutrients most frequently used in your body, it is important to incorporate them into our diet as a way to maintain overall health and longevity. While it is unknown whether there is a combination of macronutrients that provide optimal bodily health, it is known that manipulating how much you eat of each macronutrient can have large impacts on your body.
Carbohydrates, also known as carbs, are our bodies primary fuel source. Carbs provide your body, specifically your muscles and central nervous system, with a lot of energy. This energy can be used to fuel your workout or keep your energized and focused throughout your day. Some of the best food sources to incorporate to provide carbohydrates to your body are: whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, and low-fat or non-fat dairy.
Protein provides essential structure to many processes in our body. The average person should be eating about 7 grams of protein for every 20 pounds in their body; of course, this varies depending on the individuals fitness or personal goals, their activity levels, and whether or not they have any medical conditions to tend to. Soy products, nuts, whole grains, lentils, beans, and animal protein such as meat, poultry, and fish, are all packed with protein and a great way to incorporate it into your everyday diet. While they are animal proteins, it is recommended to avoid processed meats as a source of protein.
Fat is necessary for the body as it protects and insulates your organs as well as acting as an energy reserve. While many people associate fats with unhealthy foods and negatively connotate it with weight gain and other health issues, there are some good fats that provide the proper amount to your diet. Foods with a healthy amount of fat include: vegetable oils, nuts, avocado, flax seed, and fatty fish such as salmon and fresh tuna.
While everyone incorporates macronutrients into their diet differently depending on their health goals, the overall recommendation is to fill two-thirds of your plate with whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, or seeds and then make the remaining one-third a lean protein like chicken, fish, or plant proteins.
Macronutrients are the main components in food that tend to the body’s need for energy and assist in maintaining bodily structures and systems. All of them play their role, and every healthy diet should have all three of the macronutrients present and should not exclude or seriously restrict any of them.
Author: Sophia Galvez
Editor: Kaitlyn Longstaff
Public Health Scientist: LaCher E-W, MPH