Carbohydrates, proteins and fats are the only nutrients that provide you with energy in the form of calories. The daily recommendations for each of these nutrients is provided as an acceptable macronutrient distribution range, or AMDR. The AMDR represents the percentage of your daily calories that should come from each nutrient.
Each gram of carbohydrate contains 4 calories. Carbohydrates should comprise 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake. Using these recommendations, if you require 2,000 calories per day, you should consume 225 g to 325 g of carbohydrates daily. When choosing carbohydrates, it is best to choose whole-grains and fruits and vegetables, which are high in fiber. You should limit your intake of refined and processed carbohydrates, such as white breads, sugar and commercially produced snacks.
Fat is the most energy-dense nutrient, which means that it contains the most calories per gram. Each gram of fat provides you with 9 calories. Fat should comprise 20 to 35 percent of your daily calorie intake. If you eat 2,000 calories per day, your fat intake should range from approximately 44 g to 78 g of fat per day.
Most of your fat intake should be in the form of unsaturated fats, such as nuts, seeds, fatty fish and avocados. Your saturated fat intake should not exceed 10 percent, or 22 g per day. Trans fat should be limited to no more than 1 percent of total fat intake, or approximately 2 g per day.
Like carbohydrates, protein contains 4 calories per gram. The AMDR for protein ranges significantly, from 10 to 35 percent of daily calories. If you require 2,000 calories per day, you should aim to consume between 50 g and 175 g of protein daily.
The best protein sources are lean proteins, such as nuts, seeds, fish, poultry, low-fat dairy and nut butters. You should limit your intake of high fat meats and full-fat dairy products.
Each macronutrient provides you with different health benefits and performs different functions in your body. Because of this, you should be wary of any diet that eliminates or severely restricts one of these nutrients. In addition, it is important to note that the AMDR only provides general guidelines. A dietitian can help you determine your specific needs and help you design a more individualized meal plan.
- "Nutrition and You"; Joan Salge Blake; 2008
- The National Academies Press: Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids (Macronutrients)
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.