Macronutrients provide the body with energy. The Nutrition of Macronutrients

The Nutrition of Macronutrients

For good nutrition, macronutrients are considered to consist of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and water.

Macronutrients primarily provide the body with energy, while Micronutrients do not provide any energy to the body.

Highlights of the Nutrition of Macronutrients:

  • Macronutrients consist of carbohydrates, protein, and fat (both Saturated and Unsaturated Fat [i.e., Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fat]).
  • Macronutrients primarily provide the body with energy.
  • Alcohol is, also, a macronutrient nutrient because it supplies the body with calories that are healthy for you when consumed in moderation.
  • Good nutrition from eating a healthy diet is the foundation of the biopsychosocial model of natural health.
  • Any change in your diet, however small, that improves your natural health is a step in the right direction.
  • You improve your nutrition and natural health by choosing to eat healthier foods than you are currently eating.

This webpage answers the question: "What are the correct dietary ratios for macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats?"

Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are Macronutrients

Good nutrition from eating a healthy diet is the foundation of any wellness program. The Goal is to eat the right ratios of the macronutrients at a total caloric rate that will either maintain your present body weight, or achieve your ideal body weight over a reasonably long period of time.

Nutrition is the relationship of foods to the health of the human body. The foods we consume should provide our bodies with the nutrients necessary for good health. The basic premise of any good diet is variety, balance and moderation[16] in what we eat, on a regular basis. Good nutrition is obtainable without engaging in dieting extremes.

Poor nutrition is the result of consuming too little, too much, or the wrong kinds of food, on a regular basis. Food science, a root cause of poor nutrition, transforms natural whole foods into garbage that fills the belly while developing excessive human appetites for fat, sugar, and salt. Avoiding poor nutrition simply means refusing to eat junk food.

TABLE: Dietary Patterns of the Natural Health Perspective Diet.

   

Ranges of Diet

 
  Defect

Min

Typical
Diet15

Ideal
Diet

Modified
Diet

Max

Excess

Carbs   41%3,14

50%

55%13,14

45%13

55%13

67%4

Protein  

10%3

16%

15%

20%

15%6,7

Fat         

25%1

34%

30%

35%

35%1,9

39%12

Totals

n/a

n/a

100%

100%

100%

n/a

n/a

UFA  

16%3

n/a

n/a

n/a

23%3

SFA  

7%1

16%

7%

7%

11%2

MUFA

12%8

11%

18%

21%

22%8

PUFA  

3%10

7%

5%

7%

7%2,5

11%11

Fat Totals

n/a

n/a

34%

30%

35%

n/a

n/a


The Importance of Macronutrients

TABLE NOTES

  • The numbers to the right of the percent sign are footnotes to research references shown below.
  • The ratio of protein, carbohydrate, and the types of fat in what you eat is the key to optimal health.
  • At the macronutrient level, the ratios of the various subcategories of fat are extremely important, whereas subcategories of protein and carbohydrates are of no importance. Since this Web site does NOT recommend an all vegetarian diet, concern over incomplete proteins is NOT an issue.
  • Defect - Consumption at a level so low that the result clearly is Negative.
  • Excess - Consumption at a level so high that the result clearly is Negative.
  • Min - Consumption at a low level where few if any Negatives have generally been reported.
  • Max - Consumption at a high level where few if any Negatives have generally been reported.
  • Carbs - Short for carbohydrates.
  • Protein - Reports, such as in Journal of Nutrition 2000; 130: 2889-2896, of "oxidative stress" in "adequate / low protein" diets are due mostly to clearly excessively high levels of carbohydrates and excessively low fat levels. Up the FAT to a recommended 30% low fat diet and most ''oxidative stress" will disappear with an "adequate protein" diet. Excessive protein in the diet results in excess "Protein Oxidation."
  • The Typical Diet that is consumed widely today, or the average American diet.
  • The Ideal Diet is for, so called, NORMAL individuals who weigh 200 pounds or less and who are SATURATED FAT sensitive individuals. These individuals are susceptible to the adverse effects of Saturated Fat on their blood cholesterol levels.
    • The majority of the population is SATURATED FAT sensitive.
  • The Modified Diet is for, so called, SUGAR sensitive individuals. These individuals generally weigh more than 200 pounds. They are more susceptible to the adverse effects of dietary sugars than the population of normal body weight is.
    • Persons with known coronary-artery disease, high triglycerides blood levels, diabetics, extremely obese individuals, and those with Syndrome-X are likely to be sensitive to sugars in the diet.
    • Everybody responds to sugar in their diet. Sugar Sensitive individuals exhibit an extreme response to all forms of Sugars. This extreme response is generally considered an ABNORMALITY.
  • SFA = Saturated Fat
  • MUFA = Monounsaturated Fat
  • PUFA = Polyunsaturated Fat
  • UFA = Unsaturated Fat (i.e., total Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fat)
  • Most of this table is NOT supposed to add up to 100%. This table quantifies the acceptable High and Low ranges of the specific parts of a diet that characterizes the Natural Health Perspective Diet.


You may be tempted to look up your diet in a food database, or with a computerized diet program. Analyzing your diet for its macronutrients is a reliable way to become aware of ones's own eating habits. Analyzing your diet is advisable for Macronutrients, but would be largely inaccurate for your Micronutrients.

Additional information on this Web site on Nutrition is located at:

  1. The Nutrition of a Varied Diet
  2. The Nutrition of a Balanced Diet
  3. The Nutrition of Micronutrients
Return to Eating Healthy Whole Foods


The Nutrition of Macronutrients Comments:

References:

  1. "This diet is low in saturated fat (< or = 7-8% of energy), with total fat ranging from < 25% to > 35% of energy throughout the region."
    Willett WC; Sacks F; Trichopoulou A, Mediterranean diet pyramid: a cultural model for healthy eating. Am J Clin Nutr 1995 Jun;61(6 Suppl):1402S-1406S. PMID: 7754995
  2. "The composition of the lipid intake was 36 g of SFA, 61 g of MUFA and 21 g of PUFA with a contribution to energy consumption of 11%, 19% and 7% respectively."
    Moreiras-Varela O. The Mediterranean diet in Spain.  Eur J Clin Nutr 1989;43 Suppl 2:83-7. PMID: 2598900
  3. "The dietary pattern that corresponded to the lowest mortality rate (27% after 20 years) was: more than 2800 kcal/d (11.7 MJ/d), with more than 41% of the calories coming from carbohydrates, more than 9% from proteins, between 16% and 23% from unsaturated lipids, and between 13% and 19% from alcohol."
    Farchi G; Fidanza F; Mariotti S; Menotti A, Is diet an independent risk factor for mortality? 20 year mortality in the Italian rural cohorts of the Seven Countries Study. Eur J Clin Nutr 1994 Jan;48(1):19-29. PMID: 8200326
  4. "RESULTS: Total calorie intake was 2483 kcal (67% carbohydrates, 18% protein, 15% fat). ... CONCLUSION: This descriptive study confirmed the epidemiologic transition of the urban population of Sousse, Tunisia. Increased cardiovascular risk results from high, predominantly carbohydrate, calorie intake."
    Ghannem H; Hadj Fredj A.  [Eating habits and cardiovascular risk factors. Epidemiologic study of the Tunisian Sahel] Presse Med 1999 May 22-29;28(19):1005-8. PMID: 10379346
  5. "The intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids should not exceed current intakes, approximately 7% of total energy."
    Grundy SM. What is the desirable ratio of saturated, polyunsaturated, and monounsaturated fatty acids in the diet?  Am J Clin Nutr 1997 Oct;66(4 Suppl):988S-990S. PMID: 9322578
  6. "When protein intake is expressed as a percentage of daily energy intake, physically active and sedentary individuals have similar requirements (approximately 12 to 15% of total energy as protein)"
    Paul GL. Dietary protein requirements of physically active individuals. Sports Med 1989 Sep;8(3):154-76. PMID: 2690267
  7. "These quantities of protein can be obtained from a diet which consists of 12-15% energy from protein, unless total energy intake is insufficient."
    Lemon PW. Effect of exercise on protein requirements. J Sports Sci 1991 Summer;9 Spec No:53-70. PMID: 1895363
  8. "Healthy male subjects (n = 25) received three different consecutive diets, each lasting 28 days: a low fat NCEP-I-diet, with 28% calories as fat, 10% saturated fat (SAT), 12% monounsaturated (MUFA) and 6% polyunsaturated (PUFA); a MUFA-diet, with 38% calories as fat, 10% SAT, 22% MUFA and 6% PUFA; and a SAT rich-diet (SAT-diet), with 38% calories as fat, 20% SAT, 12% MUFA and 6% PUFA."
    Pérez Jiménez F; Castro P; López Miranda J. Circulating levels of endothelial function are modulated by dietary monounsaturated fat. Atherosclerosis, 1999 Aug, 145:2, 351-8. PMID: 10488963
  9. The 40% fat diet found in Crete is only recommended for those who engage in strenuous physical labor on a daily basis.
  10. "Total fat provided 25-37 percent of total energy, with saturated fat contributing 7 percent in Greece, and 8 percent and 11 per cent in Italy and Yugoslavia respectively. The ratio between polyunsaturated and saturated fatty acids (P/S) ranged between 0.39 and 0.45. [i.e., 7 x 0.39 = 2.73% or 3%]"
    Ferro-Luzzi, A, Sette, S. The Mediterranean Diet: An Attempt to Define its Present and Past Composition, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (1989) 43, (Suppl. 2), 13-29. PMID: 2689161
  11. "Currently, daily intake of PUFAs as >10% of total energy is not recommended. Below this ceiling there is little evidence that high dietary intake of n-6 or n-3 PUFAs implies health risks."
    Eritsland J. Safety considerations of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Am J Clin Nutr 2000 Jan;71(1 Suppl):197S-201S. PMID: 10617971
  12. "It shows that a high-monounsaturated-fat diet significantly improves insulin sensitivity compared to a high-saturated-fat diet. However, this beneficial effect of monounsaturated fat disappears when total fat intake exceeds 38% of total energy. ... Dietary carbohydrate increases blood glucose levels, particularly in the postprandial period, and consequently also insulin levels and plasma triglycerides. The detrimental effects of a high-carbohydrate diet on plasma glucose/insulin, triglyceride/HDL or fibrinolysis occur only when carbohydrate foods with a high glycaemic index are consumed, while they are abolished if the diet is based largely on fibre-rich, low-glycaemic-index foods."
    Riccardi G, Rivellese AA. Dietary treatment of the metabolic syndrome--the optimal diet. Br J Nutr 2000 Mar;83 Suppl 1:S143-8. PMID: 10889805
  13. "Moderately high-carbohydrate (45-55% of the daily calories)/low-fat diets seem to be a good choice with regard to the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors as far as the carbohydrates are rich in fibers. ... Moderately high carbohydrate/low fat diets are most likely to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes."
    Grimm JJ. Interaction of physical activity and diet: implications for insulin-glucose dynamics. Public Health Nutr 1999 Sep;2(3A):363-8. PMID: 10610074.
  14. "Healthy, moderately active adults require at least 200g CHO [carbohydrates] per day to sustain normal brain metabolism and muscle function. Moreover, the CHO [carbohydrate] content should represent at least 50% of energy intake."
    Macdonald, IA. Carbohydrate as a nutrient in adults: range of acceptable intakes. Eur J Clin Nutr 1999 Apr;53 Suppl 1:S101-6. PMID: 10365986
  15. Table 1 - AAD, average American diet Kris-Etherton PM, Pearson TA, Wan Y. High-monounsaturated fatty acid diets lower both plasma cholesterol and triacylglycerol concentrations. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Dec;70(6):1009-15. PMID: 10584045
  16. The Natural Health Perspective&trade; Health Program Principle 2: The Fundamental Principle of natural health and fitness is Moderation and Balance in all things.



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