A macronutrient is a nutrient that is required in large amounts in your diet, hence the “Macro”. They are the nutrients that take up the bulk of what is required for energy and to maintain your body’s overall health and function.
There are 3 Main Macronutrients:
- Carbohydrates = Primary source of energy and the brain’s preferred energy source (Vegetables, Beans and legumes, Fruit and Whole-grain products)
- Fats = Required for energy and protects your organs. Also supports cell growth, healthy cholesterol, blood pressure and absorption of key nutrients (Meat & Fish, Seeds & Nuts, some Dairy products, Avocado and Oils)
- Proteins = Required for the structure, function, and regulation of the body’s tissues and organs (Lean Meat & Fish, some Dairy products & Eggs)
The energy that comes from each Macronutrient is called a kilojoule or calorie (kcal). Each macronutrient also provides its own amount of energy per gram.
Carbohydrate = 4kcal per gram
Fat = 9kcal per gram
Proteins = 4kcal per gram
Depending on your goal, tracking your Macronutrients can be a great tool to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional targets. When you do this it gives you a clearer picture on how your diet is tracking and allows us to make specific adjustments so you are on track to reaching your goal.
As a quick comparison looking at the calories of a macronutrient 100g of Protein will equal 400kcal whereas 100g of Fat will equal 900kcal. That’s a difference of 500kcal! You can easily start to see how important it is to have an understanding of what your intake of each of these macros can be and the difference it can make in your overall intake of calories each day. And as we like to say – What you measure, you can manage!
Alcohol is also considered a Macronutrient and provides 7kcal of energy per gram. That is higher than both carbohydrates and proteins.