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Macronutrients are the nutrients that provide the body with energy and include carbohydrate, fat and protein.
Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of fuel, but it’s important to choose the best ones! Found mainly in plant-based foods and dairy, carbs come in three main types:
- Sugar (like white sugar, honey, maple syrup, and sugar that naturally occurs in fruit)
- Starch (the main component of foods like wheat, rice, and potatoes)
- Fiber (found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains)
It’s the main component of meat, poultry, fish, and other foods of animal origin. Tofu and tempeh—both made from soybeans—
are also protein-rich vegetarian foods. Proteins are made up of amino acids, which your body uses to make its own muscle, as well as hormones and many other substances.
The oils, nuts, butter, and all the other fats you eat are a mix of these three main types:
- Monounsaturated, the principal fat in almonds, avocados, and olive oil
- Polyunsaturated, the main type of fat in corn oil, safflower oil, fatty fish, and walnuts
- Saturated, the main type in fatty foods that are solid at room temperature such as butter, the fat around a steak, and coconut oil.
The fat in your diet helps you absorb micronutrients, among many other important functions. Carbohydrates and protein provide 4 calories per gram; fat is more than double at 9 calories per gram. That’s why fat portions are smaller than protein-rich and high carb foods—those fat calories can quickly add up.