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Back to Basics

Back to the Basics

What are macronutrients? What is all the talk with them?

When we hear the word macronutrients, we should think about carbohydrates, proteins and fats. All three are consumed in relatively high amounts, and are essential for growth and daily bodily functions.

Carbohydrates provide us with energy. Sugars, fibers, and starches are some of the common carbohydrates. They are found in healthy foods and unhealthy foods. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are the best sources of carbohydrates. To ensure you are buying whole grain bread in the grocery store check to make sure whole wheat or some kind of whole grain is the first ingredient listed on the food label.

On average, 45-65% of our daily calories come from carbohydrates.

Protein is needed for cell repair and production of new cells. It is good for muscle growth and overall good health. The amount of protein that an individual needs is dependent on age, sex and activity level. Some good protein sources include lean or low fat meat or poultry, fish, nuts, beans, seeds.

On average, 10-35% of our daily calories should come from protein.

Like carbohydrate and protein, fat is a type of nutrient. We need fat for energy and vitamin and mineral absorption. We need some fat in our diet. Unsaturated fats are the “good” fats and the saturated fats are the “bad” fats. The good fats are found in vegetable oils (olive oil, canola, sunflower), nuts, seeds, avocado etc. The “bad” fats are found in foods like butter, solid shortening, lard. Consuming high amounts of saturated fats can contribute to high cholesterol. Fats contain twice the number of calories as carbohydrates and proteins, so it is important to be mindful of serving sizes and the types of fats consumed.

On average, 20-35% of our daily calories should come from fat.

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