When looking at your diet and nutrition, macronutrients are the elements of your diet that will provide your body with the energy that it needs to survive. These substances are needed for metabolism growth and essential body functions. The difference between Macronutrients and micronutrients as the later are needed only maintain health but not provide the body with the fuel to maintain energy. The three macronutrients are usually broken down into proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
Per gram, their caloric output is as follows:
- Protein - 4 calories
Fat - 9 calories
Carbohydrates - 4 calories
The only other element in an individual's diet that provide calories is alcohol but as it isn't necessary for survival, it's not classified in the same category as protein, fat or carbohydrates.
No matter what diet you are following, individuals need carbohydrates in the largest amounts. In a recent report from the USDA, 45% - 65% of your daily caloric intake should be made up of carbohydrates. This should also include fibre which aids in the removal of waste from the body and if is a major part of your diet, will help lower cholesterol as well as decrease the risks of obesity and heart disease.
As stated by the USDA, protein should consist of 10 - 35% of your calories. Most indivuals consume enough protein (and often too much). We need protein as our bodies use them in a broken down form as amino acids. These are all found in animal sources but not necessarily plant sources so vegetarians and vegans often have to supplement those into their diets.
Most people seem to blame fats for adding on those extra pounds but some fat is important in our daily diets. 20 - 35% of your daily calories should come from fats according to the USDA. It is best to make sure the fat you consume is unsaturated fat in order to decrease your risk for heart disease though some foods are made up of either saturated or trans fats.