Macronutrients 101

August 17, 2022

Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are known as macronutrients or most commonly “macros” meaning that they are the nutrients needed in the greatest amounts on a daily basis. Each macro has its unique function, however, the synergistic effect of having the right ratio of each in a diet can provide a positive effect on overall health, weight, blood sugar stability, and energy levels.

Carbohydrates provide the most efficient source of energy. For maximum benefit, carbs need to be eaten in their whole food and unprocessed forms such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Processed carbohydrates (think things that can be bought in a bag or box) tend to have more refined flours that have detrimental effects on health. These types of carbohydrates can raise blood sugars and increase underlying inflammation – putting one at risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood sugar.

Proteins provide important amino acids for all tissues of the body and also help with building muscle, maintaining muscle, and promoting recovery from exercise and illness. Opt for plant sources of protein like nuts, seeds, and legumes. When consuming animal protein sources stick to seafood; pastured eggs; and pastured, grass-fed and finished meats to avoid the higher omega-6 content found in conventionally raised animals that will drive underlying inflammation and increase your risk of high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Fats provide the most calories per gram of any of the macronutrients and are important for healthy brain formation and function, and transfer of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) for absorption. Fats act as a backbone for hormones and can also help with decreasing inflammation. Choosing mostly unsaturated and un-hydrogenated fats will ensure that you receive the beneficial effects for neurological and cardiovascular health.

A diet that provides adequate amounts of each of these macronutrients regularly is the best diet for longevity, vitality, and feeling your best for years to come. If you have questions about what ratios you should specifically be eating for your body type and metabolism, get scheduled for a registered dietitian appointment and we can help you personalize your nutrition.

Katherine Taylor registered dietician

Katherine Taylor

Katherine Taylor is the registered dietician at Spruce MD Integrative Medicine. She has advanced training in both lifestyle and functional nutrition along with 25 years experience in nutritional counseling. Katherine believes that proper nutritional assessment and guidance can transform health and create vitality at any age.

Registered Dietician

Integrative and Functional Medicine Providers