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Macronutrients: What they are, why you need them and how much each day

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Macronutrients, or macros, are a set of essential nutrients your body needs every day to maintain healthy functioning. When your diet includes a good balance of macros, you feel fuller for longer and have plenty of energy. Here’s a quick summary of the three types of macros and recommended amounts to have each day.

The three types of macros

The three types of macros are carbohydrates (carbs), protein and fat. Getting the right balance of this trio each day can help your body and mind perform at its best.


Carbs are a great source of energy for your body. They’re broken down quickly during digestion to give you that pep in your step. But, not all carbs were created equal. You may have heard of Low GI carbs before – these are the ones that are digested slowly and help you feel fuller for longer. Examples include: vegetables, legumes, fruits and wholegrain breads. Carbs are also full of fibre to support healthy gut functioning

Carbs are a great source of energy for your body. They’re broken down quickly during digestion to give you that pep in your step. But, not all carbs were created equal. Refined carbs, like white breads and pastas, are highly-processed. They’ve lost most of their nutrients and while tasty, won’t keep you satisfied for long. Unrefined carbs – from fruits, vegetables and whole grains – are a better option. They provide a slow release of energy for your body and are nutrient-dense. Many carbs are also full of fibre which supports a healthy gut.

Curious about fibre and your health? Read our previous blog on Different Types of Fibre and How They Support Your Gut.


Protein is one of the key building blocks for your body. It supports muscle growth, feeds your organs, bones, hair health and improves brain function. The best sources of protein are lean meats and eggs, but there are also plant sources such as nuts, seeds and certain beans.


Healthy fats are essential to normal bodily functions. They help keep you satisfied, balance hormones and boost your skin and hair health. There are many types of fats, but one of the most important is Omega-3. This is an essential fatty acid which is found in fatty fish like salmon, avocados, fish oil and walnuts. In small amounts, saturated fats can also be good for you – like cheese, dairy and eggs.

How many macros do you need daily?

With any diet plan, it’s important to consider your individual health goals. Ideally, you’ll work with a dietician or healthcare professional to assess this. However, there are some general guidelines we can use for macros:

  • Carbs should account for 45-65% of your daily diet with a focus on Low GI options and complex carbohydrates.
  • Protein is a weight calculation. Most people need 0.8g of protein per kilogram of body weight, per day. This also depends on your age and physical activity.
  • Fats should make up 25-35% of your daily diet and ideally, this should include 10% or less in saturated fats.

What happens if you have too much?

Having too much of anything often comes with side effects. For macros, the first signs you notice may be in your gut. Too many carbs can leave you feeling fatigued and often hungry as you lack satisfying proteins and fats in your diet. Too much protein can cause constipation from a lack of fibre or diarrhoea if you’re eating lots of dairy. Too much fat can lead to excessive bloating and gas as fats are some of the hardest foods to break down during digestion. If you have any concerns about your health, the first step should be consulting your GP or healthcare provider. To support your overall health and relieve gut symptoms, you can also try gut supplements like Nutrition Care’s Gut Relief

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