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Macronutrients are the type of foods that we require in large amounts. These foods include protein, carbohydrates, and fats. A healthy weight loss plan consists of a balanced diet with the right amount of macronutrients along with your exercise routine.
In my previous post “Fitness Food: Best Foods For Getting In Shape”, it provides an overview of the 3 primary macronutrients. I also explain why we need these 3 macronutrients. Check it out for more information.
Percentage of Each Macronutrient
According to dietary guidelines and the National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine, the breakdown of macronutrients for an adults is:
- 10%-35% of calories from protein
- 20%-35% of calories from fat
- 45%-65% of calories from carbohydrates
Daily Caloric Intake
In order to figure out how many calories of each macronutrient is required daily, you must first calculate your daily caloric intake. You can find a calorie calculator here.
Each macronutrient provides energy in the form of calories. Here is a breakdown of those calories for each macronutrient.
- Carbs: 1 gram = 4 calories
- Protein: 1 gram = 4 calories
- Fat: 1 gram = 9 calories
This is how you can figure out your macronutrient breakdown:
- For example, lets take a 2,000 calories diet and for weight loss we can assume a lower carb, higher fats and protein macronutrients of 25% carbohydrates, 35% protein and 40% fats (total 100%).
Carbs: 2,000 x 25% = 500 / 4 = 125 grams
Protein: 2,000 x 35% = 700 / 4 = 175 grams
Fats: 2,000 x 40% = 800 / 9 = 88.88 or 89 grams
One crucial factor for weight loss is caloric intake. In order to lose weight, you must be in a caloric deficit. I’ve explained what this means in further detail, in my post titled “Caloric Intake: How Much Should I Be Eating“. Having the right macronutrient ratios will not result in weight loss if you exceed your daily maintenance caloric intake.
A great app to keep track of your caloric intake is My Fitness Pal. It’s a great place to log your meals to keep count of the number of calories you’re consuming. But don’t get too caught up in tracking. I’ve used it just to get an idea of how much I eat and how many calories are in certain foods. It can get controlling and that’s why I don’t recommend using it for long periods of time.
National Academies of Sciences Engineering Medicine, “Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids”, published September 5, 2002