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Whether trying to lose weight or bulk up, many people monitor their caloric intake. However, regulating macronutrients should also be a consideration. Micronutrients refer to the vitamins and minerals contained within all foods. On the other hand, macronutrients refer to carbohydrate, fat and protein content.

Carbohydrates: 1 gram=4 calories

Carbohydrates are categorized as being either simple or complex. Simple carbs are quickly broken down and absorbed. Thus, they provide a fast boost of energy. Examples of simple carbohydrates include fruit, sodas and various types of sugars. Complex carbohydrates have fiber and require more time to digest. The fiber content promotes satiety, which helps reduce between-meal snacking. The list of complex carbs includes vegetables and whole grains. Carbs are necessary to provide the brain and body with the fuel needed to function.

Fats: 1 gram =9 calories

Fats are vital for the development and regulation of hormones. However, diets need to contain healthy fats. You should try to resist foods containing saturated or trans-fats. The body needs omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for tissue health. Good sources of healthy fats include fish and olive oils, fatty fish and walnuts.

Proteins: 1 gram=4 calories

Protein is necessary for the development of healthy muscle and other tissues. The nutrient also has satiating properties.

Counting Macronutrients

Begin determining macronutrients by calculating the calorie content. Each meal should consist of 40 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent protein and 25 percent fat. If someone plans to consume 1,200 calories in a single day, they should have:

  • Carbohydrates-40 percent x 1,200 calories=488 calories
  • Fat-25 percent x 1,200 calories=300 calories
  • Protein-35 percent x 1,200 calories=420 calories

After calculating macronutrient calories, you need to determine the grams of each macronutrient needed. The simple calculations are as follows:

  • Carbohydrates-488 calories ⁒ 4 calories=122 grams
  • Fat-300 calories ⁒ 9 calories=33.3 grams
  • Protein-420 calories ⁒ 4 calories=105 grams

Consuming an appropriate balance of macronutrients ensures that individuals also get sufficient quantities of micronutrients. In addition to providing fiber, carbohydrates are commonly rich sources of B vitamins. Healthy fats provide essential fatty acids and aid in the absorption of vitamins. Proteins are typically a good source of iron and zinc. However, in order to be beneficial, macronutrients must come from produce, healthy fats and lean meats. Along with the right foods, you also need an adequate amount of water or healthy fluids throughout the day.