If you have ever wanted to lose weight, you have probably come across the term macros or macronutrients a few times – but what exactly are they?

To put it simply, macros (or macronutrients) are the building blocks that make up food. They come in the forms of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and technically alcohol (but we will ignore this one for the sake of this article). All three macronutrients have a specific role in the body, whilst also giving our body the energy to survive.

Carbohydrates

- Why do we need it?

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down in the body, to produce glucose. This glucose can be utilised straight away to produce energy for the body to use. Any glucose left over is converted into glycogen to be stored in the liver and muscles. Then when your body needs to generate more energy, this glycogen is converted back into glucose, which travels through the blood and is used by your cells.

  • How many calories per gram
    • 4 calories per gram
  • How much do I need
    • Technically you can survive on zero carbs, but between 35%-65%
  • Foods high in carbohydrates
    • Fruit, Veg, Rice, Pasta, Bread, Sweets, Sugar, Honey, Potato’s

Protein


- Why do we need it?

Every cell in the human body is made up of proteins. Proteins have numerous vital functions including, growth, tissue repair, immune function, and the preservation of lean muscle mass. Proteins are made up of things called amino acids. Your body requires 20 different amino acids to survive. 11 of these can be synthesized by the body - the remaining 9 need to be obtained by consuming protein through your diet.

  • How many calories per gram
    • 4 calories per gram
  • Foods high in protein
    • Meat, Fish, Dairy, Beans, Protein Powder
  • How much do I need
    • It varies depending on a number of factors including your body fat, how much you exercise, you goal. As a guideline - as low as 0.5 grams per pound of lean body mass (per day) for people who don’t exercise, and as high as 1.5-2 grams per pound of lean body mass for people that do.

Fat


- Why do we need it?

 

During the 80’s, doctors & nutritionists would often advocate avoiding all foods which contain fats to reduce the risk of obesity. Now we know better- fats have a number of vital functions within the human body. They aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, E, & K, play a role in hormone regulation, contribute towards healthy brain function, and can also be used as an energy source once your body had used up all of its carbohydrates.

  • How many calories per gram
    • 9 calories per gram
  • Where can you find it
    • Peanuts, Oils, Butter, Avocado’s, fatty fish like salmon
  • How much do I need
    • This also varies depending on a number of factors. Anywhere between 20% and 35% of your total calories will be okay. However, this can be varied depending on your overall calorie intake. As a rule of thumb, 0.35-0.7g per pound of lean body mass is a good range.