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A Breakdown of Macros and Micros

In the world of fitness and dieting, it’s common to hear the words “macros” and “micros” thrown around, especially in terms of counting and tracking, which may sound intimidating and can cause confusion. In basic terms, macronutrients are the nutrients that the body requires in large amounts, while micronutrients are those required in smaller amounts.

To break this down even further, macronutrients make up your total caloric intake, and include carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals and water.

People “track” macros and micros for different reasons, including specific fitness regimes, particular diets and as a way to stay on track in terms of maintaining a healthy balance of nutrients. For the average American adult, the USDA suggests that each day:

  • 45 to 65 percent of calories come from carbohydrates
  • 20 to 35 percent of calories come from fat
  • 10 to 35 percent of calories come from protein

In order to achieve 45 to 65 percent of calories from carbohydrates, opt for healthy carbs such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole grains, potatoes, vegetables and fruits. For your daily fat consumption, choose unsaturated fats like nuts, seeds, olive oil and avocados. And for protein, alternate between chicken, fish, lean meats, eggs, beans and legumes. Dairy is also a good source of protein but should be limited as much as possible.

Luckily, through a lot of these foods, you will naturally be consuming micronutrients such as vitamins A, B, C, D and E, iron, calcium and magnesium. If you are on any special kind of diet that restricts certain foods or are vegetarian or vegan, it’s important to take vitamin and mineral supplements to ensure you are consuming adequate amounts. Consult with your physician or a registered dietitian to create a vitamin and mineral supplement plan