In general, macro nutrients (or macro’s) are nutrients the body requires in large amounts i.e.; Protein, fats and carbohydrates. The macro nutrients which we eat, then get broken down through the digestive process into smaller compounds such as amino acids, glucose, fatty acids etc.
Carbohydrates: Our fuel! The main function of carbohydrates in the body is as a source of energy. Carbohydrates are broken down into sugars and fibres. Many foods contain carbohydrates however some are more nutrient rich than others.
Nutrient rich (eat more of)= fruits, vegetables, legumes, wholegrains
Nutrient poor (eat less of)= biscuits, cakes, soft drink, lollies
*1g Carbohydrates= 4 calories
Protein. The main role of protein in the body is to build and repair muscle tissue. Protein is broken down into amino acids. Examples of protein rich foods are lean meat, poultry, fish, seeds, legumes/beans.
*1g Protein= 4 calories
Fats: Fats are an essential part of our diet and are important for good health. There are different types of fats with some being better than others. Saturated fats (found in meat and dairy products e.g. butter) should be limited and replaced with healthy monosaturated fats (found in both plant and animal products e.g. olive oil and peanut oil) and polyunsaturated fats (found in plant sources e.g. sunflower, corn). This helps to slow digestion and boosts satiety hormones.
*1g Fat = 9calories
The key to a balanced diet is to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods from each of the 5 food groups.
For more information on the 5 food groups head to: www.eatforhealth.gov.au