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Balancing Your Macros

Written by Dr. Meri Rosco

We often hear patients say that they have been cutting down or even cutting out a certain macronutrient, whether it be fats, carbohydrates or even protein. It’s important to know that every macronutrient plays a vital role in one’s health. Identifying the ideal ratio of macronutrients and consistently eating in that manner will help one achieve optimal health and wellness.

What are macronutrients?

Carbohydrates, fats and protein are the three macronutrients. You need to consume macronutrients daily and in large amounts compared to micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Macronutrients provide the body with energy in the form of calories.


Carbohydrates are your body’s preferred source of fuel. Your body will either use this fuel, in the form of glucose, for immediate energy or it will store it to use at a later time. Your brain, muscles and cells all require glucose to function properly.

There are two kinds of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are broken down quickly and will often make your blood glucose levels rise and fall fairly rapidly. Examples of simple carbs are sugar, honey, maple syrup, candy, fruit juice and soda.

Complex carbohydrates take longer to break down so they stabilize your blood glucose levels better than simple carbohydrates. Some complex carbs will contain fiber, which is important for one’s digestive health as well as maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol. Examples of complex carbs are whole grains, breads, cereals, pasta, rice, starchy vegetables, like potatoes, as well as peas, beans and other legumes. The healthiest carbohydrates that one can consume are a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables.

The percentage of one’s carbohydrates should fall between 20% and 40% and the amount will depend on the individual’s activity level. Someone who exercises intensely for 45 minutes to an hour six days a week will require near 40% of calories to come from carbs while someone who walks four days a week will fall into the lower end and should consume a diet with only 25% of carbs, for example.


Protein provides the body with amino acids, which are building blocks for muscles, the nervous system, skin, hair, blood and other important structures.

There are 20 amino acids, 11 that the body makes on its own and nine that are considered essential. This means that it’s important to consume these essential amino acids in your diet frequently and the easiest way to do this is to eat complete proteins. Complete proteins are meat, poultry, seafood and eggs.

Incomplete proteins have some amino acids but not all of them. These are mainly plant based proteins and one will need to eat a certain combination of them together in order to get all of the necessary amino acids. This can be a challenge for vegetarians and vegans. Examples of incomplete proteins are nuts, seeds and grains.

One should aim for 20% to 35% of calories to come from protein. The formula 0.8 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of lean body weight is often used to determine the approximate amount needed for an individual.


Fats provide more energy (in the form of calories) than carbohydrates and proteins and they play vital roles in our body. Fats help the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K and produce hormones and make cell structures. Fats are also necessary for insulation and protecting vital organs.

Fats that come from dairy and meat are called saturated fats while plant-based fats are unsaturated (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). Studies show that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats reduces one’s risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. This doesn’t mean that one shouldn’t eat meat or dairy (these are great protein sources); it just means that eating lean meats and low-fat dairy is more beneficial than consuming fatty meats and high fat dairy. The fat from plants is more beneficial than saturated fats. Examples of saturated fats include nuts, seeds, olive oils, avocado and fatty seafood like salmon and tuna.

One should consume 30% to 60% of calories derived from fat. The exact ratio will be based on age, activity level, goals, digestion and nutrient needs.

How to balance macros

The ratio of macros depends on the individual and the best way to figure out the ideal ratio is to use a macro tracker. There are a lot of programs and apps that will help to record and determine the current ratio.From there, one can alter the ratio until energy levels improve and often fat storage decreases while muscle mass increases. However, it is recommended to consult with a nutritionist to find the ideal ratio and program for you.

The ratio ranges given above are the ones commonly suggested on many macro trackers. But the National Academy of Sciences and the Food and Nutrition board of the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) recommends a diet with 10 to 35 percent of calories to come from protein, 20 to 35 from fat and 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates.

The most important part of the diet is going to be consuming quality complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats. Purchase organic whenever possible.

Weight loss programs are available at Vezendy Chiropractic. If you are interested, we will be happy to schedule a free consult with you. In addition to consuming a healthy diet, one should exercise and receive regular chiropractic care in order to achieve optimal health and wellness.

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