Macronutrients are nutrients that provide calories or energy. These substances are needed for growth, metabolism, and for other body functions. Macro means large, macronutrients are nutrients needed in large amounts. There are three macronutrients
Carbohydrates are the macronutrient that we need in the largest amounts, means 45% - 65% of calories should come from carbohydrate. We need this amount of carbohydrate because
Fiber refers to certain types of carbohydrates that our body cannot digest. These carbohydrates pass through the intestinal tract intact and help to move waste out of the body. Diets that are low in fiber have been shown to cause problems such as constipation and hemorrhoids and to increase the risk for certain types of cancers such as colon cancer.
Diets high in fiber; however, have been shown to decrease risks for heart disease, obesity, and they help lower cholesterol. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, Millets and whole grain products.
Proteins are the second most important macronutrient and 10% - 35% of calories should come from protein. We need protein for
Protein is found in meats, poultry, fish, meat substitutes, cheese, milk, nuts, legumes, and in smaller quantities in starchy foods and vegetables.
When we eat these types of foods, our body breaks down the protein that they contain into amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). Some amino acids are essential which means that we need to get them from our diet, and others are nonessential which means that our body can make them. Protein that comes from animal sources contains all of the essential amino acids that we need. Plant sources of protein, on the other hand, do not contain all of the essential amino acids.
Although fats have received a bad reputation for causing weight gain, some fat is essential for survival and 20% - 35% of calories should come from fat. We need this amount of fat for
There are three main types of fat, saturated fat, unsaturated fat, and transfat.
Fat is found in meat, poultry, nuts, milk products, butters and margarines, oils, lard, fish, grain products and salad dressings.