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Understanding Macronutrients: Your Guide to a Balanced Diet

by | Apr 20, 2023 | Diet | 0 comments

What are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients are the three main food groups that provide your body with energy. They’re also called macronutrients, and they include carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. The three macronutrients are essential for good health because they contain calories (energy) and nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Each one plays a different role in your body:

Carbohydrates provide 4 kilocalories per gram of energy. They’re found in starchy foods like grains, pasta, or potatoes; fruit; milk products; sweets such as cakes or cookies; candy bars (though these should be eaten sparingly). Carbohydrates break down into glucose during digestion- the primary fuel source for our bodies’ cells- and can be stored as glycogen in muscles if you don’t use them right away. Proteins provide 4 kilocalories per gram of energy but have no carbohydrate content! They’re found mainly in meat-based products such as red meat (beef), and chicken breast without skin on top it off with some fish oil supplement pills daily so that you get enough omega-3 fatty acids which help keep cholesterol levels down too!

How Many Macronutrients Do You Need?

  • Macronutrients are the nutrients that provide energy for your body and brain. They include carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
  • The amount of each macronutrient you need depends on your age, gender, and activity level.


Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They’re made up of simple sugars, which your body can break down quickly and use right away. Carbohydrates come in three main forms:

  • Simple carbohydrates, also known as sugars, include table sugar (sucrose), high fructose corn syrup, and fruit juice concentrates. They’re found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and milk products but are also added to many processed foods as sweeteners or preservatives.
  • Complex carbohydrates: These include starchy foods such as bread and pasta; legumes such as beans and lentils; potatoes; whole grains like oats or brown rice; some fruits like bananas that have been cooked until soft enough for you to eat without peeling them first — anything that has a creamy texture when chewed is likely a complex carbohydrate!


Proteins are the building blocks of life. They’re made up of amino acids, which are small molecules that join together to form proteins. Your body uses these to build and repair tissues, make hormones and enzymes, transport oxygen around your body (in red blood cells), maintain a healthy immune system, and more. Protein-rich foods can be found in all sorts of places: meat (beef/pork/lamb), fish (salmon), eggs (chicken eggs) dairy products such as milk cheese yogurt ice cream, etc., legumes such as beans chickpeas lentils nuts like almonds walnuts cashews pistachios pumpkin seeds sunflower seeds flaxseeds chia seeds quinoa amaranth buckwheat groats spelled wheat rye oats rye barley millet rice corn soybeans


Fat is an important part of a balanced diet, but it’s not the only thing you need to be eating. Fat comes in three types:

  • saturated,
  • unsaturated,
  • and trans fat.

Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products such as meat and dairy products. Unsaturated fats are typically found in plant-based sources like nuts and seeds; they’re also present in fish oils (omega-3 fatty acids).

Trans fats are produced artificially by heating liquid vegetable oils at high temperatures for long periods of time–they’re commonly found in processed foods such as margarine or baked goods like crackers or cookies. Fat provides 9 calories per gram compared with 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates. Besides providing energy, fats help your body absorb vitamins A, D, and E; they also aid in brain function because they contain essential fatty acids that cannot be produced naturally but must be obtained through diet.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential for your body to function properly. They’re found in a variety of foods, but some are more concentrated than others. For example, spinach has more iron than beef does–but you’d have to eat three times as much spinach to get the same amount of iron (and it would probably be pretty gross).

Vitamin A:

  • Found in carrots,
  • sweet potatoes,
  • and collard greens;
  • helps your eyesight.


  • Found in dairy products like milk or cheese;
  • strengthens bonesIron:
  • Found in beans/legumes such as lentils

Creating a Balanced Diet

Meal planning. This is the most important thing you can do to ensure that your diet is balanced and healthy. It’s also a great way to save money on food by making sure you’re buying only what you need, as well as keeping track of how much money you spend on groceries each week (and month).

Sample meal plans. Here are some sample meal plans that follow the USDA guidelines for macronutrients:


  • 2 eggs, 1/2 cup oatmeal with milk and cinnamon;
  • a piece of toast with peanut butter or jam;
  • glass of orange juice or milk


  • Salad with chicken breast;
  • apple slices;
  • glass water


  • Roast chicken breast served over rice pilaf topped with broccoli florets;
  • slice banana bread

The Benefits of Eating a Balanced Diet

  • Health benefits
  • Weight loss benefits
  • Energy benefits

Tips for Eating a Balanced Diet

Portion control. One of the easiest ways to ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet is by controlling your portions. If you have a tendency to overeat, try using smaller dishes and utensils when eating meals at home or out with friends. This will help keep your portions in check and prevent over-consumption of calories and fat.

Meal prepping. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive! Preparing meals ahead of time can save money on takeout, plus it gives you more control over what goes into each dish–and how much of it goes into your body! Plan ahead by making extra servings during dinner prep so that there are enough leftovers for lunch the next day (or even two!). You’ll save money on food costs while ensuring better nutrition overall.* Shopping tips: Shop around different grocery stores until finding one with reasonable prices; don’t forget about sales cycles either!


Now that you know the basics of macronutrients, it’s time to get started on your journey toward a balanced diet.If you’re looking for more information about nutrition and how it affects your body, check out our other articles in this series:

  • Macronutrients Explained: Carbohydrates
  • Macronutrients Explained: Proteins
  • Macronutrients Explained: Fats


Here are some links to real research studies that support the information in the article:

  1. “Dietary carbohydrates and health: do we still need the fiber concept?” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29767611
  2. “Dietary protein and muscle mass: translating science to application and health benefit” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28698222
  3. “Dietary fats and health: dietary recommendations in the context of scientific evidence” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29120222
  4. “Vitamins and minerals: how much should you take?” – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4415975/
  5. “USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans” – https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2019-05/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf

These studies provide evidence and recommendations for a balanced diet including macronutrients and micronutrients.

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