Macronutrients are vital parts of the nutrition, which have to be consumed in bigger amounts (Greek makros = big). They keep up the metabolic processes, provide energy and are used as building materials for cells, muscles, hormones, enzymes, skin, hair and bones. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, lipids (fats) and proteins.
Energy Density Of The Macronutrients
Macronutrients have different energy densities 1:
- carbohydrates: 4,1 kcal respectively 17 kJ per gram
- fats: 9,3 kcal respectively 38 kJ per gram
- proteins: 4,1 kcal respectively 17 kJ per gram
Fats are the best energy providers. They should be consumed in a healthy relation to the other macronutrients.
To cover the energy needs with the nutrition optimally, it is advisable to achieve the following percentages of macronutrients:
- 50 to 60 % carbohydrates (see the list of foods rich in carbohydrates)
- 20 to 30 % fats (fatty plant foods)
- 15 to 20 % protein (list of foods rich in proteins)
When you arrange the named values on the daily needs of energy, you have the following amounts according to the particular macronutrient:
|energy need of 2000 kcal||energy need of 3000 kcal|
|244 g to 293 g carbohydrates (1000 kcal to 1200 kcal)||366 g to 439 g carbohydrates (1500 kcal to 1800 kcal)|
|43 g to 65 g fats (400 kcal to 600 kcal)||65 g to 97 g fats (600 kcal to 900 kcal)|
|73 g to 98 g proteins (300 kcal to 400 kcal)||110 g to 146 g proteins (450 kcal to 600 kcal)|
Keep in mind, that the needed macronutrient ratio is different for every human being because of genetics and the endogenous body functions. Additionally, the differing daily activities (e.g. physically demanding work, fitness workout) also play a role, as well as climate, gender, age and state of health.
Too many or too little of macronutrients can have a serious negative effect on health. An immoderate consume of them for instance can cause heart diseases of obesity. A lack can lead to fatigue, dizzy spells and muscular atrophy.
The goal-oriented intake of the nutrients supports muscle building processes. Additionally, they are very important for regeneration after workouts or competitions. The needs of the macronutrients can easily be covered with a vegan diet.
Are Water And Alcohol Macronutrients?
Water can be counted to the macronutrients 2. But in opposite to the other named ones, it does not provide energy. Nonetheless, the body needs water in bigger amounts.
As well as the macronutrients fats, carbohydrates and proteins, alcohol also contains energy – it is 7 kcal per gram. But it does not count to the group of macronutrients because it is not necessary to survive 3.
What Do Vegans Have To Consider?
Vegans should especially have an eye on an appropriate intake of omega-3 fatty acids (foods with omega-3), with are contained in linseeds and chia seeds in higher amounts. If you work out and want to gain muscles or do other sports, you should make sure you eat enough foods rich in protein.
Besides the macronutrients, there is the group of micronutrients. They are needed in smaller amounts. In opposite to the macronutrients they do not provide any energy though.