24 Jan 2017

What are Macronutrients: What you Need to Know

What we eat is crucial to our health, and for our bodies to work at their best, our diet needs a combination of the right vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

You’ve probably heard of counting macros – but what are macronutrients, and why are they so important to a healthy, balanced diet?

What are macronutrients?

What we eat is comprised of two different types of nutrients: macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

All three types of macronutrients have a specific role and function, and the body requires these in relatively large amounts in order to repair, develop and grow. Macronutrients are found in almost every item of food – the only difference is how they are balanced.

For example: the nutritional composition of an avocado is made up of approximately 75% fats, 20% carbohydrates and 5% protein, and is therefore defined as a fat-based food.

In order for your body to function optimally, you need different sources and quantities of each macronutrient in our diet, varying depending on our activity level.


Protein provides 4 calories for every gram consumed, and should account for 10-35% of our daily macronutrient intake.

Protein is the main building block for our muscles to repair and unlike carbohydrates and fats, cannot be stored in the body. Lean white meats like turkey and chicken, as well as beans, lentils, nuts and Greek yoghurt are all good sources of protein and assist the body in:

  • Speeding up chemical actions in the body

  • Assist in hormone production and balance

  • Provide structure to bones, teeth and skin

  • Strengthen your immune system

  • Maintain fluid balance

  • Transport nutrients around the body

  • Maintain an acid-base balance in the body

  • Acting as a back-up source of energy


Carbohydrates provide 9 calories for every gram consumed, and should account for 45-60% of our daily macronutrient intake.

Used predominantly as fuel, complex carbohydrates like dark leafy green vegetables, brown rice, nuts and beans assist the body in:

  • Acting as an energy source

  • Providing nutrients for the body’s good bacteria, helping to digest food

  • Protecting muscles from being used as an energy source


Fats provide 9 calories for every gram consumed and should account for 15-20% of our daily macronutrient intake.

Good fats like seeds, nuts, avocado, oily fish and olive oil help the body to:

  • Assist with the absorption of vitamin A, D, E and K

  • Supply the body with fatty acids that it needs but cannot produce itself, such as omega-3

Find out more about the facts on food with our nationally recognised 10967NAT Diploma of Nutrition. Call 1300 616 180 today. 

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