What are Macronutrients and How Do They Support Weight Management?

Learn about why your body needs macronutrients and how they support weight management

Your body has various nutritional needs in order to survive and function well. That’s why the makeup of your diet influences much more than just weight-loss. There are two basic categories of nutrients that your body requires:

  • Macronutrients: Proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Your body needs these nutrients in relatively large amounts.
  • Micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals. Your body needs these, but in smaller amounts than the macronutrients listed above.

A Closer Look at Macronutrients

Each macronutrient can be found in just about every item of food. The only difference is the ratio among them. For example, avocadoes and nuts such as walnuts and almonds are high in healthy fats. Nuts are also high in protein. However, both of these foods are relatively low in carbs, vs a food item like whole grain bread that has a much higher carb count.

Why You Need Macronutrients:

  • Protein builds/repairs body tissue, helps keep your immune system working, helps regulate your metabolism and influences hormone production.
  • Fats protect your organs, improve brain development, act as energy stores and help absorb other nutrients.
  • Carbohydrates break down into glucose to give you energy, fuel your central nervous system and help preserve protein.

Examples of Healthy Macronutrient Sources:

  • Proteins: Eggs, lean poultry, beans, legumes, seeds, Greek yogurt
  • Fats: Olives, avocados, chia seeds, almonds, walnuts, fish
  • Carbs: Oats, brown rice, quinoa, chickpeas, apples, cauliflower

Calories vs Macronutrients: Which Matters More?

If you are trying to manage your weight, you may have additional questions about macronutrients. Many people “count their macros” just like they count calories, especially if they’re following a trend like the Keto Diet.

Many research studies have been done to determine the best ratio of macronutrients for weight-loss. However, results vary. So which matters more – the amount of calories you consume or where those calories come from?

You lose weight when you burn more calories than you consume. However, there is more to weight-loss than just calorie-counting. The macronutrients you take in affect your physiology which also affects weight-loss. They influence how hungry or full you feel, your metabolic rate, energy levels, brain activity and much more.

Some studies, like this one mentioned by Healthline, indicate that a reduced-calorie diet  influences weight-loss more than your ratio of macronutrients. However, let’s dig deeper.

What you consume actually affects how much you consume. Take, for instance, a 100-calorie cookie or 100 calories of broccoli. If you eat the broccoli, you also get a lot of fiber, vitamins and minerals. The added fiber can help you stay fuller for longer, so you are less likely to reach for a snack later on. The cookie may leave you soon craving another treat.


Your body needs macronutrients in large amounts (proteins, fats, carbs). If you are trying to manage your weight, pay attention to your diet quality as well as the number of calories you’re consuming. Macronutrients support so much more than weight-loss. Paying attention to yours can help you make food choices that support both a healthy body and mind.

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