What are macronutrients for?

Macronutrients are “energy providing chemicals” or “substances required in relatively large amounts by living organisms.” The calories we consume from the foods in our diets are categorized into different macronutrients depending on how they’re metabolized and the purposes they serve once digested.

In the human diet there are four primary macronutrients: water, fats, protein and carbohydrates. We cannot live without these macronutrients even for a short period of time, as they’re needed for everything from growth and development to sustaining circulation and providing the brain with enough energy for cognitive functioning.

Three of these macronutrients provide energy in the form of calories

  • In carbohydratetes, there are 4 calories per gram

  • In protein, there are 4 calories per gram

  • In lipids (fats), there are 9 calories per gram

How much do we need?

If an active adult’s energy requirements are around 2,800 calories per day, an ideal intake for energy purposes of about 385g of carbohydrates along with some protein (175g) and fats (62g) would meet this need. These values equate approximately to 55% of energy needed from carbohydrates, 25% from protein and 20% from fats.