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All the foods you eat contain nutrients that are important to your body. These nutrients can be divided into macronutrients and micronutrients. The micronutrients are vitamins and minerals; of these, you only need a few micrograms or milligrams daily. Macronutrients (macro means “large”) you need in a much larger amount, namely tens to hundreds of grams per day. Because macronutrients make up such a large part of your diet, in this blog you’ll read all about exactly what macronutrients are, what types we know and why they are important.
What macronutrients are
Food provides energy that the body needs to function, this energy is measured in kilocalories. You can actually compare it to a car that doesn’t run without gasoline; kilocalories are the fuel for your body. On average, an adult male needs between 2,000 and 2,600 kilocalories per day; the number can vary greatly as you are more or less active. Kilocalories in food are provided by macronutrients, of which there are three types: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Often alcohol is also called the fourth macronutrient, but officially alcohol is not counted because it is not a necessary macronutrient with health benefits for the body. Unfortunately 😉.
What do I need them for?
So all three macronutrients provide your body with energy in the form of kilocalories: carbohydrates and proteins each provide 4 kilocalories per gram, fats provide 9 kilocalories per gram. This does not mean that fats, because of their higher amount of kilocalories, are also always the best energy provider. Your body can certainly extract energy from fats, but this takes quite a long time. Therefore, for example, while running a sprint, your body draws energy from carbohydrates, which is a lot faster. During longer exercise, once the carbohydrate supply is depleted, your body switches to using fat as an energy supplier, this happens for example in marathon runners. In addition to providing energy, macronutrients all have other important tasks:
- Carbohydrates are important for the brain and blood
- Proteins provide amino acids: the body’s building blocks
- Fats are a building block for building cells and are important to keep your eyes, brain and muscles working properly
Proportions of macronutrients
You need all three carbohydrates, fats and proteins to function properly. Therefore, it is also not smart to follow a certain diet in which you eat one of the macronutrients in lesser amounts, or even eliminate it altogether; your body can then no longer perform certain tasks properly! However, you do not need all macronutrients in the same amount. Recommendations for each macronutrient have been established by the European Food Safety Authority:
- For carbohydrates, between 45 and 60% of your total calorie intake.
- For proteins, a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight applies.
- For fats, between 20 and 35% of your total caloric intake.
These recommendations are guidelines. It is possible, for example, that by practicing a particular sport you may need a little more protein. However, it is not wise to go below the lower limit of the recommendations for a long period of time, as your body may become deficient.
If you are curious what the macronutrites in the Jake meal replacements are, you can easily see all macros, vitamins and minerals per product here.